CLIFTON PARK — It was close for only a few moments.
Shenendehowa answered five quick points by Albany with a 19-0 run, and coasted from there into the Suburban Council tournament title game with an 84-33 girls’ basketball win Wednesday night.
That early flurry by the top-seeded Plainsmen (14-0) included some nifty passing and a bunch of great defense, and that pattern continued in what was their third win over No. 4 seed Albany (6-3) this season.
“That’s what we preach,” Shenendehowa coach Joe Murphy said. “Team defense and sharing the ball.”
That ball generosity led to nine different Plainsmen scoring points in the semifinal game, and six of them contributed in that 19-0 spree that set the tone. Rylee Carpenter scored six of her 12 points in the run, while Meghan Huerter led Shenendehowa with 18 points, and Bri Carey and Jillian Huerter added 11 and 10, respectively.
“We were a little flat Monday,” Murphy said of a 67-52 quarterfinal win over Colonie. “Tonight, they got after it.”
“We had to come with that energy from the start,” said Meghan Huerter. “Our defense was awesome and we moved the ball. We had an awesome night.”
Shenendehowa held Albany to single digits in each of the first three quarters.
“We played Shenendehowa basketball,” Huerter said. “We didn’t let them get comfortable.”
Aysia Pink sank a 3-pointer and Shonyea Edmonds dropped in a layup to begin the contest, and Shenendehowa’s big counter included 3-pointers by Huerter and Carpenter.
In all, Shenendehowa sank 12 3s. Huerter led the long-range attack with four 3s and Carpenter delivered three.
“They’re a well-oiled machine,” Albany coach Decky Lawson said of the Plainsmen. “They’ve got a lot of weapons. Size and depth. That’s hard to beat.”
Shenendehowa led 24-8 after one quarter, and 46-17 at the half.
“It all started at the defensive end for us,” Murphy said.
Shenendehowa, which won Section II Class AA titles in each of the last two seasons, will host No. 3 seed Saratoga Springs (9-2) Friday in the championship game. Saratoga beat No. 2 Averill Park (11-3) to advance.
“We’ve got to come with it. That’s definitely a team we can’t take lightly,” Carpenter said of Saratoga.
Shenendehowa defeated Saratoga on Feb. 16 by a 65-53 score.
“Any time Shenendehowa and Saratoga play, it’s a good matchup,” Murphy said.
Albany 8 9 4 12 — 33
Shenendehowa 24 22 21 17 — 84
Albany scoring: Boston 1-0-2, House 1-0-2, Anderson 1-3-5, S. Edmonds 1-0-2, N. Edmonds 3-0-8, Cartwright 1-0-2, Foley 1-0-3, Pink 2-1-7, McCray 1-0-2. Shenendehowa scoring: J. Huerter 4-2-10, Montanez 3-0-8, Slader 2-2-7, Carpenter 41-12, Carey 4-2-11, Wilders 3-0-7, M. Huerter 7-0-18, Lee 4-1-9, Cozzens 1-0-2. Scoring totals: Albany 12-4-33, Shenendehowa 32-8-84.