Shen Girl’s edge Averill Park, 54-42
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. >> A tie, a tip and a win.
Shenendehowa senior Simone Walker didn’t have the best night offensively, but she came up with one of the biggest plays of the night, a tip creating a steal of an inbounds pass underneath the Averill Park basket with 42 seconds left, sending the ball up the court to Rylee Carpenter for the lay-up and the final lead.
The 54-52 Suburban Council
win was also the product of late pressure by the Plainsmen, coming up with two blocks in the Warriors end prior to the tip, steal and layup.
“A lot of perseverance, it really was,” Shenendehowa coach Joe Murphy said. “I
mean they tested us in battled every way they possibly could and had some great defensive efforts.
“Just different kids at different moments, if they didn’t score in the first quarter or half the other kids did. Kaitlyn (Watrobski) hit a big three right before the half, Rylee (Carpenter) had to transition, layup that was those big, Mo, (Simone Walker) she had to play the game and steal to set it up.”
Walker struggled on offense Tuesday night, finishing with just five points, but was a catalyst in driving the lane against Averill Park and the Wood sisters, Amelia and Kelsey, challenging their in-the-paint sets. Then when needed she was hands-on the ball with blocks, defensive tieups and the key tip and tap to Carpenter.
“The last play of the game, it was really something that we needed,” Simone Walker said. “I know all game long things didn’t really go my way, but I just had to keep going.
“I was lucky to have my teammates there to support me to be able to make that play and Rylee had a great finish.”
Again the Plainsmen had a balanced scoring attack, led by Meghan Huerter’s 13 points, Carpenter with 12 and Kaitlyn Watrobski with 11 followed by Bella Stuart and Jillian Huerter with six each and Walker’s five.
In different games, its different kids,” Murphy said. “I haven’t looked at the box score but I bet it’s pretty even. We didn’t have anyone with 25, 30 points; it’s probably maybe a couple of kids in the teens, a bunch of six, seven, and eight. All we try to do is build a box score.”
Averill Park led by as many as five precious points midway through the fourth quarter as Shenendehowa came up empty on five consecutive trips down the floor with Kelsey Wood and Amelia Wood each converting free throws and Michelina Lombardi driving the lane with 4:08 left.
Lombardi finished with a game-high 14 points with Amelia Wood dropping in 10 and Kelsey Wood nine, both combined for ninepoints from the line.
Watrobski hit her second key three-pointer with 3:17 left to cut the lead to two points and hit from the baseline on the next trip down the court, courtesy of a Warriors turnover to knot the game at 48 apiece with 2:40 left.
Kelsey Wood put Averill Park ahead for the final time with her basket from underneath with 2:22 left and Bella Stuart drove and was fouled with 1:24 left. She missed the and-one to leave the contest tied for the final time at 50.
The Plainsmen have not been in many tight games, but they were prepared for what the Warriors would throw at them Tuesday night.
“Not letting their pressure, their runs get us down and we’ve got a lot of mental toughness and we persevered,” Meghan Huerter said. “We had to stop the Woods sisters, they’re two great players and Anna Jankovic, Michelina Lombardi, they’re all great solid players. They can hit many shots in many different parts of the court so we had to buy into our defense and our game plan.”
She also called it another team effort.
“We don’t want to be a team that you can just stop one or two players,” Huerter said. “We want to be a team that the whole defense has to play honesty and everyone can score.
“That’s what I think is great about our team is that we are so deep. Even people who didn’t get it, they can score from any points in the court and it’s a great thing to have.”
Averill Park, ranked as the No. 1 Class A girls team in New York State and Shenendehowa, currently No. 3 in Class AA will see each other again, both times already scheduled, once in non-league play and a scrimmage to prepare both for the postseason.
“We love playing each other, (Sean Organ) makes us better every time,” Murphy said. “His team makes us better every time we play them and he says the same thing about us.
“It’s truly a great basketball game. Anytime you can step on the court with Averill Park, they’re just really well coached, well balanced team, so it makes us work for everything we got.”
Shenendehowa senior Bella Stuart looks to block out Averill Park sophomore Amelia Wood under the basket Tuesday night in Suburban Council action at Shenendehowa High School.