As a backup to senior guard Kevin Huerter, sophomore Chris Hulbert knows his role for the Shenendehowa boys’ basketball team.
“My playing time is going to be limited,” Hulbert said. “So I always want to do as much as possible when I get in there.”
Hulbert’s latest effort to impress Shenendehowa head coach Tony Dzikas? Holding onto the ball for an intentional shot-clock violation in the final seconds of Tuesday night’s game against Schenectady — likely the only way the Plainsmen were not going to crack the century mark at the Pat Riley Sports Center.
“I have absolutely zero interest in that,” Dzikas said. “We were not going to score 100 points.”
Instead, the Plainsmen ended up a point shy of that tally, as Shenendehowa’s latest Suburban Council victory came with a 99-48 decision. Junior center Mike Pizziketti scored a game-high 19 points on 10 shot attempts, while junior guard Luke Hicks (18) and Huerter (14) also scored in double figures for the Plainsmen.
Huerter added 11 assists.
As a team, Shenendehowa (8-0, 11-0) made 36 of 68 shots from the field, including a 12-for-28 effort from behind the 3-point line. Meanwhile, Schenectady (5-3, 6-4) suffered through a night filled with 21 turnovers.
“Not too many of their shots went in and out,” Schenectady head coach Eric Loudis said of the Plainsmen. “And, offensively, we rushed. We didn’t run our stuff, and [Shenendehowa] kept hitting shots.”
STAR OF THE GAME
Shen junior center Mike Pizziketti scored 19 points on 9-for-10 shooting from the field.
The Plainsmen opened play with a 25-7 run in the opening 5:30 of the first quarter. During that stretch, Shenendehowa made 11 of 12 shots as it started to build toward an eventual 48-30 halftime lead.
Still, Dzikas said he encouraged his team at halftime to clean up some of the sloppiness that entered into its play in a second quarter in which Schenectady — which received a team-high 12 points from sophomore guard Tobias Holmes — forced several turnovers.
“Make the pass that leads to the assist; you don’t have to have the assist,” Dzikas said was his message.
What followed halftime was a masterpiece of a third quarter, during which Shenendehowa shot 13-for-21 from the field and outscored the Patriots 36-11.
The Plainsmen resumed league play Tuesday after winning last week’s Josh Palmer Fund Holiday Inn Classic’s
National Division championship title in Elmira. In three days of action, Shenendehowa beat teams from three different states on its way to the title.
“We played three really athletic teams out there, guys who get up into you and pressure you,” Hicks said. “Coming back to play teams from the Suburban Council, that helped us a lot.”
That showed against Schenectady, as Shenendehowa outdid its previous single-game scoring high this season by nine while 13 of its 14 players registered at least a point.
The lone Shenendehowa player not to score? Hulbert, who said he had no problem resisting the urge to try to score a century-mark-breaking basket.
“I mean, we were winning by a lot,” said a smiling Hulbert, who had two steals. “I wasn’t going to try to do anything too fancy with it, anyway.”
Pizziketti 9-1-19, Hicks 6-5-18, Huerter 5-2-14, Dzikas 3-0-8, Bebic 3-0-7, Beyer 2-1-7, Gillooley 3-0-6, Paddock 3-0-6, Collins 2-0-5, Benson 1-0-3, Warner 1-0-3, McMahon 0-2-2, Spulnick 0-1-1. Total: 38-11-99
Holmes 5-0-12, Williams 3-0-6, Delagrandeanse 2-0-5, McDuffie 2-0-5, Fortune 2-0-4, Jenkins 2-0-4, Jackson 1-0-3, Westbrook 1-0-3, Coles 1-0-2, Ryals 1-0-2, Tchako 1-0-2. Total: 21-0-48.
Shenendehowa 28 20 36 15 — 99
Schenectady 14 16 11 7 — 48
3-point field goals: Huerter 3, Beyer 2, Dzikas 2, Bebic, Benson, Collins, Hicks, Warner, Holmes 2, Delagrandeanse, Jackson, McDuffie, Westbrook.