CLIFTON PARK — The Shenendehowa girls’ basketball team showed its depth, while Meghan Huerter showed that one clutch shot can turn an off night into an awfully good one.
Huerter nailed a 3-point basket for the go-ahead points late in the fourth quarter after reserves Kaitlyn Watrobski, Jillian Huerter and Bella Stuart combined for 28 points beforehand in the Plainsmen’s 58-56 Suburban Council victory Wednesday against visiting Saratoga Springs
“We want our bench girls to have the mindset when they’re called [to] be ready to go,” Shenendehowa coach Joe Murphy said after his team earned a regular season split with the Blue Streaks. “I can’t say enough about the energy they gave us.”
Watrobski scored a season-high 13 points including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from just inside the half-court line that nudged Shenendehowa ahead 45-44 before an intense fourth quarter. Jillian Huerter’s nine points included a 3 for the last Plainsmen basket before her sister delivered the game’s biggest hoop. Stuart had six points, a team-best 11 rebounds and a key shovel pass that led to Meghan Huerter’s winning shot.
“We definitely have a lot of good aspects on this team,” Meghan Huerter said. “Our bench is probably one of our best aspects.”
Watrobski delivered all of her points in the middle quarters when Shenendehowa (12-1, 15-2) was looking for answers at the offensive end. The junior’s 3 to close the third quarter capped a 9-3 run, and Stuart had a short jumper and 3 just before it.
“Coach Murphy always tells me to shoot the ball and be confident,” Watrobski said. “We all knew what we had to do.”
Jillian Huerter’s 3 gave Shenendehowa a 55-54 lead before Dolly Cairns’ short jumper pushed Saratoga (10-2, 12-4) ahead. Meghan Huerter’s 3 came with 19 seconds left, and afterward, Saratoga came up empty on two trips down including a missed 3 by Kerry Flaherty in the waning seconds.
“Not my best game,” said Meghan Huerter, a sophomore and sibling of Atlanta Hawks rookie Kevin Huerter. “I try to have a short memory, and seeing the other girls do well, that gave me confidence near the end.”
Meghan Huerter had only scored three points — all on foul shots — before her winning 3 from just right of the top of the circle.
“She had ice in her veins,” Murphy said. “I told her, ‘If you’ve got an open shot, take it. Bury it.'”
“That was the most clutch thing I’ve ever seen,” Watrobski said.
Cairns was superb for Saratoga with 29 points. The junior had three of her team’s final four baskets and 18 points in the second half.
Shenendehowa won its 14th straight game, and avenged a 62-53 season-opening loss to Saratoga. Watrobski missed that game with an ankle injury.
“Our bench kids played real well tonight,” Murphy said
SARATOGA BOYS RALLY
The Saratoga boys rallied in the second half to beat Shenendehowa 48-44 in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
Saratoga’s comeback was capped by a game-closing 13-1 run when Michael Rogan sank a pair of 3s, the second of those giving the Blue Streaks their first lead of the contest at 46-44 with 1:35 left.
“It was a tale of two halves,” said Rogan, a sophomore who scored 15 points, all on 3s. “In the first half their [3-2] zone defense got us frustrated. We attacked it better in the second half and found the open man.”
Rogan scored 23 points in Saratoga’s previous game, a 74-61 loss to Troy. His 15 were huge Wednesday on a night when no other Blue Streak reached double digits.
“I had a big night against Troy,” Rogan said. “Coach told me to be confident when I shoot. I’m starting to feel it.”
Saratoga (10-2, 14-2) sank five 3s in the final quarter when it outscored Shenendehowa (9-4, 11-6) by a 19-9 margin. Shenendehowa led 43-35 midway through the final frame after a layup by James Altenburger.
“It was great to see the guys fight the whole way,” Saratoga coach Matt Usher said. “A lot of heart and a lot of guts.”
Shenendehowa built a 30-17 halftime lead. Early in the third quarter, a Luke Lavery layup had the hosts up 32-18.
“Coach told us to be aggressive,” Rogan said. “Take the shot if it’s there, and find their shooters and defend them.”
Aidan D’Agostino created the final margin on two foul shots with seven seconds remaining after the junior had missed the front end of a one-and-one 10 seconds earlier. In between, Shenendehowa’s TJ Sangare missed a layup in heavy traffic.
Sangare paced the Plainsmen with 15 points, including the only point while Saratoga was mounting its late comeback. Lucas Seyoum had 11 points for Shenendehowa, eight coming in the first half.
“We came out mad in the second half,” Rogan said. “We were not happy.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS 48, SHENENDEHOWA 44
Beck 2-0-4, Holmes 1-3-6, D’Agostino 1-2-5, Rogan 5-0-15, Chudy 3-0-6, Fox 4-0-8, Kislowski 1-1-4. Totals: 17-6-48.
Lavery 1-0-2, Seyoum 4-2-11, Sangare 3-9-15, Dzikas 1-0-2, Reinisch 2-1-6, Altenburger 3-2-8. Totals: 14-14-44.
Saratoga Springs 11 6 12 19 — 48
Shenendehowa 13 17 5 9 — 44