Saratoga Springs outlasts Shenendehowa in Class AA boys’ basketball quarterfinal

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TROY — Saratoga Springs hung around and hung around until the very end, and then made its move like it had several times before, using a clutch 3-pointer and seven foul shots to upend Shenendehowa in a Section II Class AA quarterfinal basketball game Sunday at Hudson Valley Community College.

“We played them not too long ago, and knew it was going to be a close game,” Saratoga senior Ryan Farr said after his team’s 69-66 victory. “We hit shots at the end.”

Farr sandwiched four foul shots around Hutton Snyder’s 3-point hoop to begin a 10-0 run by the Blue Steaks, and Andrew Stallmer made three more free throws afterward to finish it off as Saratoga (No. 3 seed, 17-5) beat the Plainsmen (No. 11, 8-13) for the second time this month.

Farr and Stallmer were the lead scoring guys in that 61-52 victory back on Feb. 3, and filled the role again Sunday with 20 and 15 points, respectively.

Stallmer also snared 10 rebounds, and his final make from the line made it 69-63 with 5.1 seconds remaining before Josh Sweeney nailed a 3 for Shenendehowa. 

Snyder — the son of former Saratoga head coach and current assistant Mitch Snyder — added 13 points including his clutch 3 that pushed Saratoga ahead for good at 64-63 with 1:45 to go.

“I missed a big three earlier,” Hutton Snyder said. “I had to knock down the next one.”

That 3-pointer created the 15th lead change and ninth of the second half. There were also nine ties, the last one at 53 when Shenendehowa’s Grady Ceccucci hit a 3-pointer in the last second of the third quarter.

Ceccucci topped Shenendehowa with 26 points, though he missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 13.6 seconds left as Saratoga kept hold of a 66-63 advantage.

“We expected a battle. They’ve improved all season,” Saratoga coach Matt Usher said of the Plainsmen. “I  couldn’t be prouder of my guys the way they fought back and battled all the way through.”

Saratoga had won seven of eight games coming in, including Wednesday’s 64-53 Section II first-round win over Guilderland when Stallmer poured in 26.

“We’ve been the comeback kids all year,” Farr said. “We were down 10 against Colonie. We’ve been down in other games. We always battle until the end.”

Shenendehowa’s biggest leads came early at 7-2 and in the last quarter at 58-53 on a 3 by Anthony Kaloudis. The Plainsmen were up soon after 63-59 on a three-point play by Luke McAuliffe before Saratoga’s winning charge. Saratoga never led by more than three before that final push to the finish line.

“Senior year,” Hutton said. “It feels good to beat Shen twice.”

 Saratoga’s attacking style led to an 18-for-26 effort from the foul line, as Stallmer went 9-for-13 and Farr 7-for-9.

“We were getting there quite a bit,” Usher said. “We look to attack space and get to the line.”

The Suburban Council rivals last met in the tournament in a 2019 semifinal game won by the Blue Streaks, who went on to claim their first championship in 31 years by knocking off Bethlehem.

Solid defense down the stretch and 7-of-8 from the line helped the Blue Streaks get back to the final four for the first time since. Saratoga will meet CBA in Thursday’s 5 p.m. Class AA semifinal at Cool Insuring Arena after the Brothers (No. 2, 14-6) rallied past Mekeel Christian Academy (No. 10, 15-6) in another quarterfinal Sunday 57-49.

“We were trying to mix up our defenses,” Usher said. “We used six different defenses, and in the end we got comfortable with our 1-3-1 zone.”

Ceccucci collected 10 points in the first half when Shenendehowa went up 34-32, and he notched 14 points in the third quarter including his team’s last eight. Anthony Kaloudis had eight points for Shenendehowa, and Luke McAuliffe had seven.

Shenendehowa made its last semifinal appearance in 2020 and defeated Niskayuna before topping Green Tech for the Class AA championship.

Shenendehowa defeated Schenectady in its first-round game Wednesday 64-62 when McAuliffe put back a rebound in the waning seconds for the winning points.

Shenendehowa 15 19 19 13 — 66

Saratoga 11 21 21 16 — 69 

Shenendehowa scoring: McAuliffe 3-1-7, Ceccucci 9-6-26, Edmonds 0-2-2, Kaloudis 2-2-8, Massaroni 2-0-5, Sweeney 2-0-6, Rudd 3-0-6, Peterson 3-0-6. Saratoga scoring: Casey 1-0-3, Evans 4-0-9, Farr 6-7-20, Masten 1-2-4, Robbens 2-0-5, Snyder 6-0-13, Stallmer 3-9-15.  

Team totals: Shenendehowa 24-11-66; Saratoga 23-18-69.

Categories: -Sports-, Clifton Park and Halfmoon, High School Sports, Saratoga Springs, Sports

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