CLIFTON PARK — It did not take long for the Shenendehowa girls’ basketball team to show that they were the better squad on the court on Friday night as they took out Saratoga in a blowout 35-point victory, 69-34.
It took just under six minutes for Shen to gain their first double-digit lead of the night, using early Saratoga turnovers and a trio of threes early on from Cam Tooley to do so. Tooley had 14 points on the night and was one of three Plainsmen to finish in double figures. Alex Tudor led the way with 26, and Megan Gillooley had 18.
“Right from the get-go, we had the mentality (to) attack them, offensively and defensively. We communicated well,” Shenendehowa head coach Joe Murphy said. “It wasn’t just one defender. It was help side, kids switching off, back-and-forth guarding. It was a great defensive effort.”
In just the first few minutes of the game, Saratoga traveled three times, had an offensive foul and threw the ball out of bounds on a pass, an early indication that it wasn’t going to be a good night.
“If the first minute of the game wasn’t a telltale of what would happen, I don’t know what was,” Saratoga head coach Robin Chudy said.
Saratoga was outscored 15-9 in the second quarter and trailed by 13 at the half, 32-19. Shen’s defense held Saratoga’s 1,000-point scorer Dolly Cairns to just 10 points in the first half, and just 12 overall. Kerry Flaherty was held to three points in the first half and finished the night with five.
The second half brought more of the same as Shen scored 24 points in the third quarter, and Saratoga left lanes open in the paint that Shenendehowa was able to capitalize on throughout that time. Doing this allowed for Shenendehowa to put the game away early on, owning a 29-point lead before the fourth had even started.
“I want to keep that aggressive mindset from here on out, because I’ve seen 20-point leads go away quickly in the fourth quarter. I’ve been on the wrong side of that a couple of times. You just got to keep your pressure on them,” Murphy said.
By that point, the game was decided, and Saratoga began to look to the next one, trying to forget about the game and emphasizing a short memory.
“It happens. We’ll rebound from this. We (have) a big game on Tuesday, so we’ll figure it out,” Chudy said.
Shenendehowa improves to 18-1 on the season following the win and will be back in action again on Tuesday as they close out the regular season on the road on Tuesday against Niskayuna. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Saratoga is now 13-6 and will also close out their regular season on Tuesday at home against Shaker. That game will begin at 6 p.m.