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Shenendehowa basketball eliminated

Shenendehowa basketball eliminated

Third quarter dooms Plainsmen in loss to Liverpool
Shenendehowa basketball eliminated
Shenendehowa players gather themselves after losing in the state quarterfinals Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College.
Photographer: ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

TROY -- Shenendehowa had the one quarter it couldn't afford.

The Plainsmen quickly built on a halftime lead, but then went through a long dry spell, and that proved costly in what ended in a 69-59 Class AA regional loss to Liverpool Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College.

Shenendehowa led at the break 34-32, and added on when TJ Sangare drove for a bucket. Liverpool outscored the Plainsmen 18-3 over the remainder of the third quarter, with Chris Hulbert's 3-pointer midway through their lone response.

"We went away from the game plan of moving the ball," Hulbert said. "Too much dribbling."

Liverpool (Section III, 24-0) changed in the third frame, too, from a zone look to man-to-man set.

"We talked about attacking their zone, and we were doing a good job," Shenendehowa coach Tony Dzikas said. "They went man, and it was a good move."

Down 50-39 after three, Shenendehowa got within seven points four times and eventually closed its gap to six at 65-59 on a 3-pointer by Abbas Merchant with 48 seconds left.

"I'm proud of my guys the way they battled," Dzikas said. "That's a team [Liverpool] with a load of talent."

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Shenendehowa (19-5) used every bit of its own talent to win a third Section II title in four years, a championship that was not expected to the extent its 2015 and 2016 crowns were. Shenendehowa won three close games to get out of the section and earn a regional game against the state's No. 2 team.

"If you asked a bunch of guys in November if they wanted to sign up for a sectional title and a loss in the regionals, I think a lot of guys would have signed up," Dzikas said. "They had more weapons than us."

Liverpool spread the wealth in the decisive third quarter, with Charles Pride scoring five of his 25 points, Alan Williams Jr. netting four of his 15 and Nahjeir Johnson getting four of his 10. Pride added eight more points in the fourth quarter and Williams contributed six there.

That fourth quarter included a 10-for-12 free throw showing, and overall the Warriors went 18-for-23. Shenendehowa was 6-for-11 from the line.

"It hurts right now," Dzikas said. "They're hurting because they aren't going to play together any more. It's a close group."

Coming off his MVP performance at the sectionals, Hulbert led Shenendehowa with 17 points. Merchant had 15 points, eight coming in the last quarter, and Jake Reinisch added 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

"I gave it my all," Hulbert said. "Every game in the playoffs I came in with the mindset that this could be my last game."

LIVERPOOL

Cerrone 2-0-5, Butler-Gaffney 0-1-1, Pride 7-9-25, Williams Jr. 5-4-15, Piseno 2-0-4, Issakainen 3-0-9, Johnson 3-4-10. Totals: 22-18-69.

SHENENDEHOWA

Merchant 5-2-15, Hulbert 6-2-17, Monroe 2-1-6, Samgare 3-1-7, Reinisch 4-0-10, Altenburger 2-0-4. Totals: 22-6-59.

Liverpool 15 17 18 19 - 69

Shenendehowa 14 20 5 20 - 59

Three-point goals: Cerrone, Pride 2, Williams Jr., Issakainen 3, Merchant 3, Hulbert 3, Monroe, Reinisch 2.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, jims@dailygazette.com or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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