SARATOGA SPRINGS — With a milestone in the books, Dolly Cairns was pondering bigger things for herself and her thriving Saratoga Springs basketball team Friday night.
That was after the star sophomore became just the second female in Blue Streaks' history to reach 1,000 career points, hitting the mark exactly with 25 in an 81-46 Suburban Council win over a spunky but young Guilderland team.
"One thousand five hundred and eighteen," Cairns rattled off, referring to the point total 1994 Saratoga graduate Jenn Pennell had produced. "This tells me all my hard work is paying off. The school record is now my next goal."
That appears quite attainable, and Cairns believes a Section II Class AA championship is, too. The Blue Steaks' signature win came against reigning champion Shenendehowa early in the season, in which Cairns netted 33 points.
"I've been playing with these girls since I began playing organized basketball," Cairns said. "We've got a good team here. We feel we can take it all the way."
Saratoga (8-4, 10-5) reached the sectional semifinals last season before a loss to Shaker. The year before, Catholic Central eliminated Saratoga in the first round of the playoffs.
"We've been building it up with this group of players," Saratoga coach Robin Chudy said. "This group can do a lot of things. They would like to get that done."
There's no question who will be leading the charge.
"She is our go-to person," Chudy said of Cairns, the 5-foot-7 guard who had four assists and four steals to go with her 25 points. "She is who we go to when things are going crazy. She runs our offense. She's an incredible passer. She leads our fast break."
It was on a fast break that Cairns reached her 1,000-point milestone, like Olivia Owens (Niskayuna) and Sydney Sheldon (Mayfield) also did Friday, and Giuliana Pritchard did for Amsterdam Thursday. Cairns pulled up instead of penetrating the lane, though, and sank a foul-line jumper with 5:47 left in the fourth quarter.
"I've hit that shot a million times," Cairns said.
Play was halted for pictures with Cairns,Chudy and Saratoga athletic director Pete Sheehan, and after Cairns hugged her mom, Kay, she flipped a commemorative ball to her dad, Don.
"Coming into the season, I knew it was one of my goals," Cairns said. "The focus now is we want a sectional championship."
Saratoga showed off its balanced offense with four double-digit scorers led by Cairns, who rimmed two first-quarter jumpers in and out before heating up. She scored 15 first-half points, had six in the third quarter, and made two foul shots in the fourth before her 999th and 1,000th points came on that soft jumper.
"I brought her up [to the varsity] halfway through seventh grade," Chudy said. "In her first game we were playing Guilderland and their coach got a technical. I sent Dolly out there and she hits two free throws. I thought, 'She's got it.'"
Kerry Flaherty scored 14 points for Saratoga, Caroline LaFountain scored 11, and Briann Barringer collected 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Cairns and Flaherty both had five points in a 14-0 first-quarter run that made it 23-6, and Saratoga never looked back.
Valencia Fontenelle Posson, one of Guilderland's three freshmen, had 14 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Fontenelle Posson 5-3-14, Golderman 2-1-6, Fiori 2-0-6, Dubin 2-3-7, Lee 2-1-5, Pink 2-1-5, Holmes 1-1-3. Totals: 16-10-46.
Cairns 10-3-25, Flaherty 6-0-14, Rutz 2-0-5, Claeson 1-0-2, Gennoy 1-0-2, McGinn 3-0-6, LaFountain 4-2-11, Barringer 5-0-10, LaHart 3-0-6. Totals: 35-5-81.
Guilderland 11 8 12 15 — 46
Saratoga 23 22 23 13 — 81
Three-point goals: Fontenelle Posson, Golderman, Fiori 2, Cairns 2, Flaherty 2, Rutz, LaFountain.