TROY — It took just 27 seconds for the dynamic of the Section II Class AA girls’ basketball semifinal between No. 2 Bethlehem and No. 3 Shenendehowa to be flipped upside down on Monday at Hudson Valley Community College.
Shenendehowa had their press in full gear, with senior Bri Carey coming up with a turnover at midcourt. She then attempted to finish off the play in the paint, but came crashing down hard and was not able to return to action the rest of the game.
“I’m so proud of our effort tonight,” said Shen coach Joe Murphy. “We lost our leading scorer in the first minute of the game and we didn’t just pack it in; we put up a fight.”
The Eagles proved to be too much for the shorthanded Plainsmen, dominating the second half to win the semifinal 58-40.
Maya Carpenter came in off the bench to replace Carey and immediately drilled a three-pointer on the ensuing play.
Bethlehem controlled the game after the first quarter, leading by eight points. However, a solid defensive period in the second allowed Shen to cut their deficit to just two points heading into halftime.
“We did everything we could to come back,” Murphy said, noting that Bethlehem began the third quarter on an 8-0 run. “Unfortunately they had their run to start the second half and that was basically the ballgame.”
The Eagles went on to outscore Shen 30-14 in the second half.
“She’s our leading scorer, our playmaker and does everything we ask her to,” Murphy added on Carey’s absence. “It’s unfortunate that her career came to an end on an injury.”
Bethlehem was led by junior Caroline Davis, who scored 18 points, and sophomore Kaitlyn Robbins, who scored 16.
Images: Shen girls’ basketball takes on Bethlehem in semifinals (18 photos)
“You have to give all the credit to Robbins,” Murphy said. “She was dominant tonight. She was phenomenal, so credit to her.”
Katherine Bannigan tacked on 11 points for Bethlehem, including three buckets from beyond the arc.
In Carey’s absence, seniors Carpenter and Cam Wilders stepped up for Shen. Carpenter scored 13 points, hit three three-pointers and collected five rebounds. Wilders tacked on 12 points, with four rebounds and four steals.
“It was great to see kids step up,” Murphy said. “Maya’s worked hard all year. She got an opportunity in the first half and she took advantage of it. Cam’s just been Cam all year. She does everything you need out of a player. She doesn’t care about scoring, just plays hard. She plays point guard, she plays center; she does everything we ask her.”
Shen finished its season with an overall record of 17-5, having defeated Niskayuna in the quarterfinals to reach Monday’s semifinal round.
Bethlehem improves to 18-4 overall and advances to the Class AA championship game, which will be on Friday, March 3, at HVCC. The Eagles will take on the top seed and defending champions, Albany Falcons (19-3), who defeated Colonie 77-58 on Monday night.
Bethlehem 21-7-16-14 – 58
Shenendehowa 13-13-8-6 – 40
Bethlehem scoring: Davis 8-2-18; Walston 1-1-4; Cerf 3-1-7; Robbins 5-6-16; Bannigan 4-0-11; Davenport 1-0-2
Shen scoring: Winter 0-1-1; Milham 1-0-2; Montanez 2-0-6; Carpenter 4-2-13; Wilders 3-5-12; G. Stuart 2-0-4; DeMura 1-0-2
Team totals: Bethlehem 22-10-58; Shen 23-8-40
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: Clifton Park and Halfmoon, High School Sports, Sports, Sports