Girls’ basketball: Albany holds off Shenendehowa 63-54 in Suburban showdown

Shenendehowa’s Cam Wilders drives against Albany’s Navaeh House during their  high school basketball game at Shenendehowa in Clifton Park on Tuesday.

Shenendehowa’s Cam Wilders drives against Albany’s Navaeh House during their  high school basketball game at Shenendehowa in Clifton Park on Tuesday.

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CLIFTON PARK — The Albany girls’ basketball team kept its cool when Tuesday night’s Suburban Council showdown with Shenendehowa reached a boiling point.

“We knew they’d go on a run,” Albany sophomore Azera Gates said after her team held off the Plainsmen 63-54 in a game matching state ranked Class AA contingents. “We just had to slow it down. Breathe, you know.”

Albany went on a 7-0 run after Shenendehowa got within two midway through the fourth quarter, and the Falcons finished off the Plainsmen with a closing 7-1 spurt that reserve Taliyha Braxton began with a 3-pointer.

“It’s nice to have people on the court and on the bench who can score, pass and play defense,” Gates said of the Falcons’ depth.

Albany (8-1 league, 13-1 overall) certainly earned this one as a group, with eight players scoring and six netting seven points or more, while every Falcon who saw action factored at the defensive end in their second straight victory over the Plainsmen (6-2, 11-3).

Images: Shenendehowa girls’ basketball takes on Albany (13 photos)

In their previous meeting, in the 2022 Section II Class AA title game, the Falcons prevailed 58-52 to avenge a 49-45 regular season setback.

“I want all of my girls to know that they’re going to get in and play key minutes for us,” Albany coach Decky Lawson said. “All of them have a grasp of their role. I’m happy with how they all played.”

Five different Falcons scored in an 11-0 run to close the first half as the visitors grabbed a lead they never let go of, and three Falcons accounted for the points in the 7-0 run later on after Bri Carey’s free throw got Shenendehowa within 49-47 with 4:14 left in the contest.

“We’ve got a good team here,” Albany junior Iyanna Weeden said after collecting 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. “If someone does something good, we pat them on the back. If they make a mistake, we help them back up.”

After Carey’s fourth-quarter free throw, Gates scored on a drive, Jordan Johnson turned a Weeden pass into another layup, and Weeden turned a steal into a three-point play to give Albany a 56-47 lead.

Shenendehowa got back-to-back 3s from Abby Stuart and Carey to get within 56-53 with 2:25 left before Braxton sank a 3, and then came up with a steal and fed Weeden for a layup to start the closing 7-1 push.

“It was just energy and effort,” said Weeden. “I was thinking we can’t lose this game. We wanted it a little more.”

“We’ve been in that situation seven or eight times, where we’re holding off a team. We’ve been down a lot,” said Lawson, whose Falcons came in with a No. 17 state rank. “They don’t get phased by it. They know what to do.”

Images: Shenendehowa girls’ basketball takes on Albany (13 photos)

Those late 3s by Stuart and Carey constituted the best scoring run by the Plainsmen, who got pressure, man-to-to-man and zone looks from the quick Falcons.

“Defense is how we win our games,” Gates said after her team logged its third straight victory.

Shenendehowa managed nine points in both the first and third quarters, and had five field goals in those quarters.

“It was a very physical game, and we didn’t handle it well,” Shenendehowa coach Joe Murphy said. “Their defense was very good.”

At the other end Shonyae Edmonda had nine points, Gates, Johnson and Navaeh House scored eight apiece and Braxton finished with seven. Johnson and House, like Braxton, came off the bench.

“Every time we made a run they answered with a three or a transition basket,” Murphy said.

Albany led 15-9 after the first quarter and 34-26 at the half. A 3-pointer by Weeden had the Falcons up by 10, 45-35, after three quarters.

“In the locker room at the half our coaches were saying don’t sit back and keep playing,” Weeden said. “In the second half we looked at it like it was zero zero.”

Carey paced Shenendehowa, the state’s No. 11-ranked team, with 18 points and three steals. Carey nailed four 3s, as did Kaleigh Montanez who totaled 12 points. Stuart scored nine points on a trio of 3s.

Images: Shenendehowa girls’ basketball takes on Albany (13 photos)

Stuart sparked a 12-4 run to start the last quarter with her first two 3s.

“She gave us a good spark in the second half when she hit some threes,” Murphy said of Stuart, a junior. “She has been our leading scorer off the bench all year.”

Shenendehowa was playing its third game in four days, after beating Tappan Zee Saturday 49-28 and losing to Simsbury, Connecticut, Sunday 53-52 on a putback basket in the last second of overtime.

Albany 15 19 11 18 — 63
Shenendehowa 9 17 9 19 — 54
Albany scoring: Braxton 2-2-7, Jouse 3-0-8, Weeden 7-1-17, Scott 1-0-2, Johnson 4-0-8, Corazzini 2-0-4, Edmonds 4-1-9, Gates 4-0-8. Shenendehowa scoring: Montanez 4-0-12, Carey 5-4-18, Wilders 1-1-4, Delisle 1-0-2, A. Stuart 3-0-9, G. Stuart 0-3-3, Demura 3-0-6. Team totals: Albany 27-4-63; Shenendehowa 17-8-54.

Categories: Clifton Park and Halfmoon, High School Sports, Sports, Sports

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