SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Shenendehowa boys’ basketball team can celebrate its Suburban Council title as an entire ensemble as the Plainsmen used every player Tuesday night to wear down Saratoga Springs and come away with a 63-50 road win.
Shenendehowa coach Tony Dzikas used an ice hockey line-change format throughout the first quarter, and then multiple player substitutions to frustrate and exhaust the Blue Streaks.
“We've been used to this and doing this the whole season,” Shenendehowa senior Lucas Seyoum said. “We usually run the teams out that we play against in the first three quarters and usually push them in the fourth.
“We usually tire them out, and that’s how we put our games away.”
The Plainsmen stretched its slim three-point first quarter margin into a 33-21 halftime lead before continuing to extend it into the final tally.
“We'll take Landon Spiak, we'll take Josh McLea, we'll take Darien Espinal, and on made free throws, we'll get Jake Reinisch and Devin (Dzikas) out, sometimes Andrew Martin, give them a little break,” Tony Dzikas said. “Even if it's 35 seconds and these guys [substitutes] are going to play their tails off on 'D' until there is another stoppage in play and then we get them right back on.”
The Plainsmen’s fresh legs helped them out-rebound Saratoga, and when combined with a poor shooting night for the Blue Streaks, the lone league match-up went to Shenendehowa.
“They can come at you in waves, they're really deep,” Saratoga coach Matt Usher said. “I think they have a group that likes to get up and pressure.
“I don't think their pressure really turned us over much, but it might have worn us down.”
Seyoum led the Plainsmen with 18 points, followed by senior teammate Reinisch with 17.
“It feels great, I love to beat 'Toga, especially because they're rivals,” Seyoum said. “I've been thinking about this for weeks because this is always a game to look forward to.”
Saratoga senior Aidan Holmes scored a game-high 22 points, including four, 3-pointers and eight free throws. Junior Michael Rogan added 12 points.
Shenendehowa’s depth, applied pressure in the back court and work on the glass added to the Blue Streaks' frustration.
“Shen pounded us on the O-boards, I don't know how many they had, but it seemed like 25,” Usher said. “When you give teams extra possessions, extra shots and a lot of the O-boards led to layups, easy buckets, it's not going to go well for you.”
Don’t expect the Plainsmen line change plan to disappear for the remainder of the season and postseason.
“Now we're trying to get to where not only are we giving guys a break and resting, but now I'm putting you in because you're going to do something really positive for us offensively as well,” Dzikas said. “I think we have guys starting to step up and do that.”
Shenendehowa 13 20 18 12 – 63
Saratoga 10 11 18 11 – 50
Shenendehowa scoring: Reinisch 8-1-17, Seyoum 7-3-18, Dzikas 4-1-9, Lavery 1-1-4, Espinal 2-2-7. Saratoga scoring: Dumortier 1-0-3, Holmes 5-8-22, Britton 1-1-4, Emery 0-7-7, Rogan 4-3-12, Lewis 0-1-1, Dufort 0-1-1. Team scoring: Shenendehowa 25-9-63, Saratoga 11-21-50.