TROY — The next high-end vehicle off the assembly line overseas may be called ‘The Plainsmen.’
The Shenendehowa girls’ basketball team operated like a high-performance sports car Thursday night against Albany — fast, sleek with precision shooting and more than enough power from the bench to power the Plainsmen back to the Section II Class AA title game.
The 81-58 final was academic as Shenendehowa (No. 2, 21-1) owned the contest from start to finish.
“Just getting out early and showing our offense and our game plan is a big thing,” Shenendehowa junior Meghan Huerter said. “We saw what they did to Nisky in the quarterfinals [23-4 opening quarter]. We didn’t want that to happen.
“We wanted to get out on them early, so they would get down on themselves and we could take control of the game.”
Huerter took control of the game out of the gate, scoring 14 of her game-high 20 points in the first half — including four 3-pointers.
“Seeing my shot go in, especially in a gym like Hudson Valley, where it’s so deep and the depth perception isn’t as normal as it is in Shenendehowa or any other gym that has the closed walls,” Huerter said. “Seeing my shot goes in is always a confidence booster for me.”
Huerter’s shooting prowess was only matched by her ability to find her teammates.
“I was telling them to back cut because they were hard denying the wing, so the back cuts were open,” Huerter said. “Setting back screens I think got everyone involved and was a key thing we had to do tonight.”
If it wasn’t Huerter scoring or dishing, it was Rylee Carpenter dropping in 12 points, followed by Sam Lee off the bench, who was an instant scoring machine, dropping in seven points in her seven minutes of work in the first half. Lee finished with 10 points as 12 out 15 players scored at least a point.
“Coach just made the right decision by putting who subbed in and subbing out so none of us got tired right away,” Lee said. “The whole team did really good by rebounding, scoring points and not being selfish.”
Albany (No. 6, 13-9) was led by Siena commit Ahniysha Jackson with 13 points. Shonyae Edmonds added 12.
The Plainsmen will face rival Saratoga in Saturday’s 6 p.m. final looking for its second straight title and 16th as a program.
“We talked during the pregame ‘We have to earn the opportunity to defend our title. We can’t defend it if we’re not in the championship game,” Shenendehowa coach Joe Murphy said. “We took care of part one, now we get to play Saturday. We have one day to prepare for probably one of the toughest games of the year.”
Albany 11 12 14 21 – 58
Shenendehowa 21 21 26 13 – 81
Albany scoring: Boyd 4-1-9, Ewans-Edwards 4-2-10, Jackson 3-5-13, Gonzalez 0-0-0, Walcott 1-0-2, Whitaker 0-1-1, Gates 1-3-5, Scott 2-0-4, Edmonds 5-2-12, Cartwright 1-0-2. Shenendehowa scoring: Walker 2-0-4, Carpenter 5-2-12, Watrobski 2-1-5, M. Huerter 6-3-20, Stuart 0-6-6, J. Huerter 3-0-8, Slater 0-2-2, Carey 1-0-3, Wilders 0-2-2, Lee 3-4-10, Flannery 2-2-7, Cozzens 1-0-2. Scoring totals: Albany 21-14-58, Shenendehowa 25-22-81.