By the time Ciara Vitallo injected some much-needed energy into the Schalmont offense Wednesday night, Broadalbin-Perth had done enough to end the Lady Sabres’ season.
Kaitlin Wood and Katie Herba did all of the Lady Patriots’ scoring through the first three periods, and combined for all but four of Broadlabin-Perth’s points in a 35-21 win over the Lady Sabres in the first round of the Section II Class B girls’ basketball playoffs.
“That wasn’t the plan,” said Broadalbin-Perth coach Mike Magliocca. “Katie Herba stepped up. She made some nice shots early in the game and got into her rhythm. Kaitlin Wood played great on the boards.”
Herba’s three-pointer opened the scoring 3:18 into the game, and only a Vitallo free throw with nine seconds left prevented Schalmont from being shut out over the first eight minutes.
Things only got slightly better in the second period, as Broadalbin-Perth outscored Schalmont, 12-2.
“I think we shocked them in the beginning,” said Magliocca. “We came out in a tough man-to-man and put pressure on the ball. We didn’t press, but we put pressure on them at the three-point line.”
“We just didn’t get going early,” said Schalmont coach Jeff Van Hoesen. “We just couldn’t put the ball in the basket.”
Meanwhile, Wood and Herba had 10 and nine points, respectively, by the half.
Both acknowledged it would have made for an odd looking box score, had not Ciara Dickson and Nicole Traver both made a pair of free throws late in the game.
“We tried to pass it around, and whoever had the open shot took it,” said Herba. “We hadn’t seen them. You just work on your plays in practice and play the game.”
“That was kind of weird,” said Wood, who made all 10 of her free throws in a 16-point game.
Wood presented a tough matchup for Schalmont, which saw its best offensive player, sophomore Hailee Metzold, get into foul trouble early and finish with just seven points, five in the fourth quarter.
“They did a good job of getting the ball to the Wood girl,” Van Hoesen said. “She’s a tough player to deal with in the post. And she knocks down free throws. We knew that going in.“
“We’re not used to playing teams that are smaller than us,” said the 5-foot-10 senior. “Usually, we’re playing bigger teams. It was nice for me, for a change.”
Vitallo helped the Sabres stay within hailing distance, scoring all eight of her points in the third as Schalmont cut the deficit to 11 by the end of 24 minutes.
“We’re always a second-half team, but we started slow tonight and then it was too late,” said the senior, who drew praise from both coaches.
“All the credit in the world to the Vitallo girl,” said Magliocca, whose team advances to play top-seeded Watervliet on Saturday. “She switched the whole second half around. She outhustled us.”
“Ciara was a senior that didn’t want this to be her last game,” said Van Hoesen. “She was all over the floor, getting offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, hitting some shots to give us some energy.
“She brings so much energy, and plays so hard, she can start things up for us. That was a nice spark. We had a nice little run, but couldn’t get over the hump.”
Orapello 0-0-0, Magliocca 0-0-0, Wood 3-10-16, Herba 7-0-15, Gifford 0-0-0, Traver 0-2-2, Dickson 0-2-2. Totals: 10-14-35.
Cardinal 1-0-2, Metzold 3-1-7, Vitallo 3-1-8, Strijek 1-0-2, Daversa 1-0-2, DiGioacchino 0-0-0. Totals: 8-2-21.
Broad.-Perth 7 12 6 10 — 35
Schalmont 1 2 11 7 — 21
Three-point goals: Herba, Vitallo.