Brandon Fischer knocked down a three-pointer for Shenendehowa’s first basket Tuesday night.
By the time the opening quarter was through, the Plainsmen had four threes in the book and a double-digit lead.
“It was a great start. That’s what we wanted,” Fischer said after Shenendehowa’s surprising 53-40 win at Guilderland. “That’s what we needed.”
After setting the tone with the long ball, Shenendehowa put together a pair of key runs in the second half to keep the Dutchmen at bay in a Suburban Council game matching division leaders.
The loss was Guilderland’s first, while Shenendehowa prevailed for the fifth time in a row, and for the ninth time in 10 starts since opening with a loss to Albany Academy.
“This was a huge game for us, a big statement win,” said Fischer, who scored the last five of his season-high 16 points in 9-0 knockout run. “Before the game, we talked about toughness, getting out on their shooters and staying confident.”
The Dutchmen came in ranked No. 17 in the state, and were among only four unbeaten Class AA teams in New York before running into the determined Plainsmen. Guilderland (10-1, 11-1) hadn’t been on such a roll since its 2007-08 team won 14 games in a row.
“We’re at Guilderland. They’re one of the best teams around. They’ve got great players and a super coach,” said Shenendehowa coach Tony Dzikas. “We had to play 32 minutes.”
In all reality, the game was over with 2:48 left, after Fischer’s second three of the night — and second this season — capped a 9-0 spurt and gave the Plainsmen (9-1, 9-2) a 53-38 advantage.
Two free throws by Vin Simeone before the spurt had Guilderland trailing, 44-38, with 5:35 to go.
“We knew we had to keep going,” said Fischer, a 6-foot-6 junior center. “We couldn’t let up.”
“They answered,” said Guilderland coach Ron Osinski. “They answered everything we did, plus one.”
Guilderland had won each of its previous league games by at least 13 points, and had won its last four by at least 25.
Andrew Platek led Guilderland with 12 points while Tom Huerter netted 13 for Shenendehowa, Jake Hicks delivered 11 with five assists, and Kevin Huerter had 10 with eight rebounds.
“We didn’t execute well,” said Osinski. “We shot the ball too early. We settled for outside shots.
“When we came in at the half, I told the guys, ‘That was probably the worst half we’ve played.’ The second half was worse.”
Guilderland had generated at least 60 points in all of its games before Tuesday’s test. The Dutchmen managed only one fourth-quarter basket, an early three-pointer by Ralph Simeone.
“Our defense was pretty good, but our offense wasn’t clicking,” said Platek, a sophomore guard. “It was a rough game offensively.”
While some of Guilderland’s woes were self-inflicted, Shenendehowa made things even more difficult on the host team with a strong defensive performance.
“We didn’t want to let them get good looks,” said Fischer. “We had to be aggressive.”
“Credit their defense,” said Osinski. “They played a good 1-2-2 defense. With their size, it was tough to get inside.”
The Plainsmen had great success from the outside to establish the lead, building an 18-10, first-quarter cushion. Hicks scored seven points in the opening quarter, which included the Plainsmen’s fourth three-ball after both Huerters and Fischer had connected.
“You shoot well from the outside, it opens up the middle,” said Dzikas. “That’s basketball. You’ve got to put the ball in the basket.”
Platek and Vin Simeone converted back-to-back three-point plays, and Matt Cerutti had a late putback basket and a free throw to help Guilderland claw within 25-23 at the half. Shenendehowa began the third quarter with a 9-3 push that Tom Hurter started with two layups and Matt Alverson ended with a tip-in in traffic.
Hicks made a foul shot and converted a three-point play in the Plainsmen’s 9-0 fourth-quarter flurry.
Vin Simeone finished with nine points, and Cerutti had seven points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots.
“I told the guys, ‘Think about what we did. We’ve got to have better poise. Learn from it and move on,’ ” said Osinski. “A game like this, if we utilize it right, it can help us in sectionals.”
Hicks 4-2-11, T. Huerter 5-1-13, Fischer 7-0-16, Alverson 1-1-3, K. Huerter 4-0-10. Totals: 21-4-53.
Floyd 2-2-7, V. Simeone 3-3-9, Platek 4-3-12, R. Simeone 1-0-3, duMoulin 1-0-2, Cerutti 3-1-7. Totals: 14-9-40.
Shenendehowa 18 7 17 11 — 53
Guilderland 10 13 10 7 — 40
Three-point goals: Hicks, T. Huerter 2, Fischer 2, K. Huerter 2, Floyd, Platek, R. Simeone.