After La Salle gained a big lead early, Shenendehowa could not come all the way back, as they fell in a massive upset in the Class AA quarterfinals on Saturday night at Hudson Valley Community College by a final score of 54-48.
In the third and fourth quarters, Shenendehowa played very well, closing the wide margin that the Cadets of La Salle had made in the early portions of the contest. Late in the fourth quarter was when the Plainsmen came within striking distance after they made it a two-point game when Jake Dizikas hit a shot with 13 seconds to play. Shenendehowa had made it a single-digit game just a few minutes earlier following a huge three from Chris Hulbert to make it 50-41. However, those efforts were not enough, as Shen would fall.
“Defensively we did a pretty good job, but offensively it took us a long time to get it going, and when we could finally get it going a little bit, we just couldn’t get over that hump,” Shenendehowa head coach Tony Dizikas said.
The defense of both teams stood tough in the second half, as La Salle was held to just 17 points, and La Salle’s defense was able to hold off Shenendehowa when they were scoring points in a hurry at the end of the contest.
Early on, La Salle showed that they were the superior team against perennial powerhouse Shenendehowa, jumping out to a 17-point lead by halftime. They had already had a very solid lead after the first quarter, leading by nine, largely thanks to the efforts of Kyle Borey, who had 10 points in the first quarter alone. In the second quarter, it was Tim Carroll who came up big, with eight in that frame.
“That’s part of the game. You have to play 32 minutes, and Shen’s such a good team, they were able to battle back and make some shots. They didn’t shoot very well in the first half. We persevered. It wasn’t pretty but we’ll take it,” La Salle head coach Steve Sgambelluri said.
For the Cadets, even when they struggled, Joe DeLollo remained a constant for them. He scored 15 points on the night, leading La Salle. In addition, he broke a five-minute scoring drought in the third quarter when he hit a huge three-pointer to give La Salle a 40-30 lead.
“We didn’t score for a couple of minutes, so I think that was big to get us going again,” DeLollo said.
Late in the game, La Salle wasn’t finished. They still had to hold off the Plainsmen for the last few minutes. They did just that and were able to pull off one of the biggest Class AA upsets in recent memory against the two-time defending sectional champions. That would be helped by two huge free throws from Seth LaForest to ice the game in the final ten seconds.
La Salle was led on the offensive side of the ball by DeLollo, who had 15 points. Kyle Borey had 14 and Tim Carroll finished with nine. For Shen, Jaia Benson had 11, Mike Pizziketti had 10, and Chris Hulbert finished with eight.
This will end Shen’s season much earlier than they had anticipated. La Salle will advance to the Class AA semifinals on Tuesday at the Glens Falls Civic Center, where they will take on 3-seeded Bethlehem for a bid in the Sectional final. The tip-off for that one is set for 6:30 PM.