Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Colonie Holds Off Shaker

January 15, 2019

Colonie 60, Shaker 55

Mid-January can accurately be described as the beginning of the 'dog days' of high school basketball season. Over two months since the season started yet still a month away from sectional season, teams can fall victim to a bit of malaise from time to time. Thankfully, this was far from the case on Tuesday night in Colonie. In the battle of South vs. North Colonie, both sides came with a spirited effort in a game that had more of a late February feel. Shaker made Colonie sweat until the bitter end, but the hosts made enough plays in the 4th quarter to gain some separation and hold off one last Shaker push in the final minute.

Aliyah Wright finished with 15 points Tuesday to pace Colonie in their victory.
It was a physical, jittery, foul-filled & sloppy at times start in the Colonie gym, with both teams spending more time at the free throw line over the first few minutes than actually playing. Shaker rode a hot start from Solé Carrington (Shaker 2021), who had 8 1st quarter points, to an early lead, but it was short-lived. Late in the quarter, Ahnalese Pearson (Colonie 2020) went on a personal 7-0 run to give Colonie a lead and extend it to 17-11 - a lead that Shaker would never get back. After Carrington scored early in the 2nd quarter to cut Shaker's deficit to 2, Colonie would reel off 8 straight points to earn their first double digit lead. Makayla Blake (Colonie 2020) had a strong stanza, scoring 8 points in the 2nd quarter to help them maintain their lead despite the hot shooting of Julia DeBeatham (Shaker 2020), who hit a pair of threes late in the half to keep the Bison within striking distance.

After Colonie went into the locker room up 7, they came out and got baskets from Pearson and Aliyah Wright (Colonie 2019; New Haven signee) to give them their largest lead at 39-28. Then Shaker, whose calling card this year has been their scrappiness, used it to claw back into the game. A pair of Carrington free throws started off their run. After Kaelah Carter (Shaker 2022) and Blake traded baskets, Shaker would go on an 8-0 run - including a pair of driving layups from Carrington and ending with another Carter bucket - to tie it up at 42. Colonie would eventually the quarter up 3 after a drive & finish from Wright to end it on a positive note for the hosts. They would continue that energy into the 4th quarter to gain separation once again. Sareena DiCerbo (Colonie 2020) scored to start the 4th, and by the time Pearson added a three-point play off a drive from the left wing, Colonie had gone on a 10-2 run with 5 different Raiders in on the scoring. That put them up 54-45 with 4:30 left. The Bison had one more serious push left in them, though. A 6-0 run culminating with another Carrington layup cut their deficit to 3 with under two minutes left. After a timeout, Colonie was able to get a much needed basket to stop the bleeding. Kyara Triblet (Colonie 2019; St. Michael's signee) found Alivia Paeglow (Colonie 2019) wide open off a side ball screen, who finished late in the shot clock. After a couple empty possessions, DeBeatham answered to cut it to 3 once more with :28.6 left, but Colonie sandwiched a stop in between 4 made free throws to put the game on ice.

Julia DeBeatham had a solid game for Shaker, finishing with 13 points & 3 steals as part of a potent backcourt combo.
The hosts received great balance from some of their usual suspects in the win. Aliyah Wright paced them with 15 points, and backcourt mate Ahnalese Pearson had a strong game & finished with 14. Makayla Blake added 11 points, and Kyara Triblet joined her in double digits with 10. For Shaker, Solé Carrington led all scorers with 22 points & added 4 steals. Julia DeBeatham added 13 points & 3 steals in what proved to be a potent backcourt punch on this night.


- I should start off by saying that on this night, this rivalry game was certainly bigger than basketball. The raffles, the decorations, the halftime contest, the pink shirts. Tuesday night's Coaches vs. Cancer game had someone close to home in mind. You may have seen the #ShootingForSyd trend on social media. Proceeds through various outlets during the game - donations, raffles, bake sale, 50/50 - went to support young Sydney Leonard, a relative of both Shaker player Maddisyn Mahoney & Colonie assistant coach Tanya Hansen, who was diagnosed with Wilms' tumor a few months ago. A quality game around quality people with funds going to a fantastic cause. The atmosphere during the game was more of a playoff feeling, but it was also great to see the sides come together for an aforementioned 'bigger than basketball' moment.

- Now about the game itself. I'll give everyone on a team $20 if they can find a way to stay in front of Solé Carrington this winter... just kidding, I'm too broke for that. But the sentiment remains. I've watched Shaker three times so far this winter, and the 2021 PG might as well pay rent in the paint with how much she has been living there. The scouting report on her has read that she wants to get to the rim for a while, but what has changed is how she does it. She's becoming much more effective at using change-of-speed moves & changing her own center of gravity. She's getting defenders to step back onto their heels or stand up straight, and that's all she needs to be able to blow by. Considering the opponent and how she was able to produce on top of the actual numbers, this was one of the best overall showings I've seen from her. It's safe to say that Solé has been a breakout performer in the Suburban Council and Section 2 as a whole this winter.

When Ahnalese Pearson produces, it's a major stimulant for the Colonie team - she had 14 in their win Tuesday, including a personal 7-0 run in the 1st half.
- Colonie, the defending Class AA champions in Section 2, have taken a couple lumps this year. They fell victim to a bit of a slow start in a tough early-mid December schedule, and they also had a tough loss to Shen last week. But they are still and will continue to be a tough out for any AA team once we get into sectional season because of how many options they have on the offensive end. They have six players that are perfectly capable of giving them double digit production on any given night. Four of them did on Tuesday (Aliyah Wright, Ahnalese Pearson, Makayla Blake, Kyara Triblet). Sareena DiCerbo, who had just 3 points in this game, was averaging over 10 PPG going into Tuesday. Alivia Paeglow (4 points) is a longtime varsity producer that's given them 9+ points in over half of their games this winter. When any combination of them get it going, their ability to spread the wealth can provide issues for many teams on the defensive end, and I'm sure they won't be high on the wish list of teams to see on their side of the bracket for anyone in S2 AA in a month.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

ESTers in Action - 1/14-1/15/19

*** Participants of the EST summer league are listed in bold. Those that have only participated in one-day EST events (Summer Kickoff, Upstate Fall Showcase, Middle School Combine) are listed in bold & italics.

Section 2

- Lexi Van Vorst (Columbia 2019; SUNY New Paltz commit) went off for a game high 31 points, including 7 threes, in Tuesday's 63-48 victory over Schenectady. Lauren Obermayer (Columbia 2019) also contributed double digits in the victory, finishing with 10.

- Harmony Philo (Gloversville 2019; Queens signee) dropped a game high 27 points, knocking down 7 threes in the process, in their 70-52 W over Glens Falls. The long-range bombardier now has made 250 threes in her career, which now makes her Section 2's most accomplished three-point shooter.

- Kelsey Wood (Averill Park 2020) pumped in a game high 27 points in Tuesday's 70-35 victory over Troy. EmmaLee Morgan (Averill Park 2019; NYIT commit) also contributed double digits, chipping in with 10.

- Logan Thayne (Hoosick Falls 2020) dropped a game high 27 points, and the Panthers handled Saratoga Catholic 49-16 on Tuesday night.

- Shenendehowa had several contributors key a 78-37 blowout victory over Guilderland on Tuesday. Meghan Huerter (2021) went off for a game high 24 points, knocking down 7 threes in the process. Cat Almeida (2019; Quinnipiac signee) and Bella Stuart (2020) contributed 10 points apiece, and Jill Huerter (2022) & Kaitlyn Watrobski (2020) chipped in with 8 points each in the W.

Meg Huerter was feeling it Tuesday, knocking down 7 treys en route to a game high 24 in a Shen blowout W.
- Dolly Cairns (Saratoga Springs 2020) dropped a game high 22 points, knocking down 4 threes in the process, and Kerry Flaherty (Saratoga Springs 2019; Holy Cross signee) added 19 points in their 60-53 victory over Bethlehem.

- In Bethlehem's close loss to Saratoga on Tuesday, Ava LaClair (Bethlehem 2022) contributed 13 points and Julia Harvey (Bethlehem 2021) chipped in with 12.

- Brinley Inglee (Hudson Falls 2020) finished with a game high 22 points in their blowout victory over Schuylerville Monday.

- Antonia May (Amsterdam 2021) contributed 17 of her 19 points in the 2nd half, and the Rams broke it open with a big 3rd quarter in a 58-37 triumph over Broadalbin-Perth Monday.

Antonia May had a big 2nd half Monday, helping push Amsterdam over the top in their win over Broadalbin-Perth.
- Colonie received balanced scoring, with 4 finishing in double figures, in their 60-55 victory over Shaker on Tuesday. Aliyah Wright (2019; New Haven signee) led the way with 15 points (3 threes), Ahnalese Pearson (2020) added 14 points, Makayla Blake (2020) contributed 11, and Kyara Triblet (2019; St. Michael's signee) chipped in with 10.

- In Shaker's close loss to Colonie, Solé Carrington (2021) finished with a game high 22 points & 4 steals, and Julia DeBeatham (2020) added 13 points & 3 steals.

- Sophie Phillips (Cambridge 2021) and Lilly Phillips (Cambridge 2021) finished with 18 and 16 points, respectively, and they extended their lead to 26 at halftime in their 60-33 victory over Greenwich.

- Emma Shields (Emma Willard 2022) contributed 13 points, a game high, in their 41-11 W over Hawthorne Valley Monday. She then followed it up with an 18 point performance in Tuesday's 59-21 triumph over Loudonville Christian the following day.

- Ashlyn O'Neil (Scotia-Glenville 2019) finished with a team high 14 points, but they fell to Queensbury 71-40 on Monday.

- Payton Graber (Schalmont 2022) finished with 14 points, but the Sabres fell to visiting Albany Academy 48-41.

- Jenalyse Alarcon (Troy 2021) chipped in with a team high 10 points, but they fell to Averill Park 70-35.

- Emily Erickson (Tamarac 2019) knocked down 5 threes and finished with a game high 21 points in Tuesday's blowout victory over Berlin.

- Breanna Lott (Mohonasen 2020) finished with a team high 16 points, including the game-winning three in the closing seconds, in Tuesday's 57-55 victory over Ravena.

- Talia Washington (Schenectady 2022) finished with a team high 17 points Tuesday, but they fell on the road to Columbia 63-48.

- Sara Hotaling (Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 2023) contributed 12 points in their 57-55 loss to Mohonasen Tuesday.

Section 3

- Kaia Henderson (New Hartford 2022) - Section 3's leading scorer this winter - dropped a game high 25 points on Tuesday, but they fell to host VVS 60-50.

- Kayla Usborne (Madison 2019) pumped in a game high 21 points and added 10 rebounds, 5 assists, & 7 steals in their 61-23 triumph over Stockbridge Valley Monday.

- Allison Moreau (Sauquoit Valley 2019; Le Moyne soccer signee) finished with a game high 21 points - increasing her career total to 2,099 and putting her at #4 on Section 3's all-time scoring list - but they fell to West Canada Valley 45-34 Monday.

- Jackie Piddock (South Jefferson 2022) pumped in a game high 21 points & 4 assists, and Alyssa Stevenson (South Jefferson 2019) added 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, & 3 blocks, and the Spartans led by 31 after one quarter on the way to a 69-19 victory over Beaver River.

Jackie Piddock finished with a game high 21 points in a blowout W for South Jefferson.
- Lexie Roe (Fayetteville-Manlius 2021) contributed a game high 19 points and added 4 rebounds, 3 assists, & 3 steals in the Hornets' 62-35 triumph over Utica Proctor on Monday. She followed it up the next day with another 19 point performance - also a game high - in a 47-35 W over Corcoran.

- Belle Kranbuhl (Adirondack 2020) finished with 19 points, but they fell to host Cooperstown 62-53 on Monday.

- Lindsey Lawson (Cazenovia 2020) registered a game high 18 points and added 24 rebounds, 4 steals, & 4 blocks in Monday's 39-28 victory over visiting CVA.

- Jaelyn Vleer-Elliott (Brookfield 2021) went for a triple-double Monday, finishing with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists (along with 6 steals & 3 blocks) in their blowout victory over DeRuyter. Monday's stat line was the 4th triple-double Jaelyn has registered this winter, and per Post-Standard records, the 9th of her varsity career.

Jaelyn Vleer-Elliott helped state-ranked Brookfield continue their winning ways with her 4th triple-double of the season.

- Sydney Lusher (Oneida 2021) finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds, & 5 assists in Tuesday's 64-47 nonleague victory at Marcellus.

- Olivia Langdon (Little Falls 2019) contributed 12 points, a game high, in Monday's 43-34 triumph over Holland Patent.

- Catherine Dadey (Westhill 2022) was one of three Warriors in double digits, finishing with 10 points in a big 55-45 victory over Chittenango.

- Jess Cook (Cicero-North Syracuse 2021) pumped in a game high 21 points, and the Northstars picked up a big midseason W by taking down West Genesee 56-45 on Tuesday.

- In West Genesee's loss to CNS, Mackenzie Smith (West Genesee 2019; Old Dominion signee) led the Wildcats with 19 points.

- Piper Seamon (Cooperstown 2020) canned 6 threes and led all scorers with 23 points in Monday's 62-53 victory over visiting Adirondack.

- In Adirondack's close loss to Cooperstown, Cam Roberts (Adirondack 2020) finished with a team high 20 points.

- Kennady Amo (Thousand Islands 2021) finished with a game high 18 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, & 3 steals and Madyson Amo (Thousand Islands 2019) added 11 points, 5 rebounds, & 3 assists in Monday's blowout W over Belleville-Henderson.

- Bishop Ludden had three players finish in double figures in their 74-42 victory over Hannibal on Tuesday. Aurora DeShaies (2019; New Haven signee) led the way with 14 points, and Katie Costello (2019) & Amarah Streiff (2023) chipped in with 11 points apiece.

- Lexi Pierce (Syracuse Academy of Science 2022) hit 4 threes and finished with 18 points, and Xy'el Bradford (SAS 2020) added 14 points in Tuesday's 75-58 W over Skaneateles.

- Lexi Emmi (Liverpool 2019) and Karlyssa Shifflett (Liverpool 2021) were two of three in double digits for the Warriors in their 69-46 victory over Baldwinsville. Emmi (3 threes) finished with 14 points, and Shifflett (4 threes) added 12.

- Ally Shoemaker (Chittenango 2020) finished with a game high 16 points and added 5 rebounds, 5 assists, & 12 steals, but they fell to Westhill 55-45 on Tuesday.

- Alexandra Bednarczyk (Baldwinsville 2022) finished with a team high 14 points, but they fell to visiting Corcoran 57-48 on Monday.

- Savannah Sommer (CVA 2020) contributed a team high 14 points, but they fell to host Cazenovia 39-28 on Monday.

- Julia Mann (Central Square 2021) contributed a game high 13 points, with 11 coming at the free throw line, but they fell to Jamesville-DeWitt 50-31.

Section 4

- Laycee Drake (Deposit/Hancock 2021) finished with a team high 23 points Tuesday, and they defeated Greene 49-46.

- Melanie Hoyt (Stamford 2021) contributed a game high 17 points, and they held off Hunter-Tannersville 57-50 for a Tuesday night win.

- Jill Casey (Horseheads 2020; Quinnipiac commit) went off for a game high 37 points in Tuesday's 73-49 victory over Maine-Endwell.

Quinnipiac commit Jill Casey went off for 37 points, one off her career high, in an impressive W over Maine-Endwell.
- In Maine-Endwell's loss to Horseheads, Ashlynn McKnight (Maine-Endwell 2019; Roberts Wesleyan signee) finished with a team high 17 points and Kaet L'Amoreaux (Maine-Endwell 2023) added 16.

- Marina Maerkl (Seton Catholic 2019; Daemen signee) dropped a game high 23 points, joining the 1,000 point club in the process, in Tuesday's 54-22 victory over Windsor.

- Kaci Donovan (Owego Free Academy 2020) dropped a game high 22 points, and they jumped out to a big start en route to a 63-39 W over Binghamton.

Kaci Donovan continued her strong junior campaign with a game high 22 pts to help keep Owego unbeaten on the season.
- Halea Eaton (Norwich 2020) finished with a team high 14 points in a balanced Purple Tornado effort, and they defeated Chenango Valley 62-39.

Western NY (Sections 5, 6, Monsignor Martin)

- Shay Ciezki (St. Mary's Lancaster 2022) pumped in a game high 23 points, and they overcame a 2nd half deficit to defeat Sacred Heart 55-53 on Monday.

Shay Ciezki continued her monster freshman campaign with a 23 point effort to keep St. Mary's Lancaster undefeated on the season.

Hudson Valley (Sections 1 & 9)

- Brianna Rozzi (Highland 2019; Loyola (MD) signee) dropped a team high 26 points for the Huskies, becoming Highland's all-time leading scorer in the process with 1,625 and counting, but they fell on the road at Marlboro 73-55.

Bri Rozzi added to the list of accomplishments in her illustrious HS career, becoming Highland's all-time leading scorer (1,625 points) on Tuesday.

- Maggie Malone (Cornwall 2019; SUNY Cortland commit) led all scorers with 19 points in the Dragons' 57-32 W over Kingston on Tuesday.

- Grace VanRoy (Saugerties 2019) finished with 13 points in their 49-33 victory over Rondout Valley on Tuesday.

- Erin Smith (Goshen 2020) contributed a game high 14 points in their 59-25 victory over Chester.

- Kiki Kennedy (Middletown 2020) contributed 13 points in the Middies' 34-33 victory over Minisink Valley.

Northern NY (Sections 7 & 10)

- Maria Baker (Bolton 2021) pumped in a game high 23 points in Tuesday's 47-26 victory over Lake Placid.


- Amanda Mieczkowski (Northampton 2020) finished with a game high 19 points in Monday's 75-38 W over Holyoke.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Lourdes Shakes Off Pesky Holy Names, Escapes With W

January 7, 2019

Our Lady of Lourdes 41, Academy of the Holy Names 38

Monday nights, outside of the Foothills, tend to be quiet in Section 2. So the matchup that brought perennial Section 1 Class AA contender Our Lady of Lourdes up to Albany to take on Holy Names, one that would've been a notable game on the schedule on any night, only popped off the screen even more on this night. Playing in front of a decent crowd in a game that was well-covered by local media and saw the likes of Princeton in the house, Holy Names was nearly able to overcome an early onslaught from a Lourdes standout with a staunch defensive effort, but eventually weren't able to overcome their own offensive woes as the visitors were able to keep them at bay in the closing moments.

Ava Learn was dominant in the 1st half, where she scored 20 of her game high 23 points for Lourdes.
The first quarter set the early tone for Lourdes, as their defensive effort showed that the bus ride up from Poughkeepsie didn't bother them. They held Holy Names to only a banked three for most of the quarter, and Ava Learn (Our Lady of Lourdes 2021) went to work on the offensive end. A three-point play started it off, then a layup off a cut, a square-up three, and a 3/4 stretch from the line gave her 11 quick points and pushed Lourdes to a 13-3 lead. A scrappy Holy Names squad, despite not getting many good looks early and missing most of the good ones they got, weathered the storm and started to inch back into it. After Learn knocked down another three to start the 2nd quarter, Holy Names started to pound the post, and Saniyya Adams (AHN 2019) scored 7 in the 2nd along with drawing two consecutive fouls on Learn. Not long after a highlight reel double-clutch fadeaway gave Ava 20 points on the half, she picked up her 3rd foul going for a rebound and had to sit the end of the half. A Mia Farley (AHN 2021) three and a pair of Adams free throws cut AHN's deficit to 25-20 at the break.

Between sluggish play offensively and strong efforts on the defensive end, the 3rd quarter was a struggle on the scoreboard. However, a Keira Cohen (AHN 2019) floater and a Grace Field (AHN 2020) free throw cut their once 10 point deficit down to 3 headed into the 4th quarter. For a long stretch of that quarter, it was Field and Sam Fischer (Our Lady of Lourdes 2021) - who had scored a combined 8 points in the first 3 quarters - that shouldered the scoring load for their teams. Four quick Fischer points gave OLL a 33-28 lead, but Field answered with a basket. After Fischer hit a pair of free throws, Field responded with back-to-back buckets to cut their deficit to 1, and she scored again after a Learn free throw to tie it at 36 with 3:16 left. On the ensuing possession, Fischer hit a pair of free throws for Lourdes to regain the lead - one they wouldn't relinquish. Holy Names had one more chance late after a Sofia Feigelson (Our Lady of Lourdes 2021) free throw gave them a 41-38 lead, but a last second Cohen three point attempt was blocked.

Grace Field had a strong 2nd half for AHN and paced them in the scorebook with 13 points.
With Princeton in the house, Ava Learn dropped a game high 23 points/13 rebounds with 20 coming in the first half. Sam Fischer provided a major lift for OLL off the bench, scoring 8 of her 11 points in the 4th quarter. For Holy Names, Grace Field had a strong 2nd half at both ends of the floor and paced them with 13 points along with filling the stat sheet. Saniyya Adams added 12 points before fouling out with 4 minutes left.


- Holy Names held Mikayla Russo & Kate Peek - two dangerous shooters that have filled it up at times around Ava Learn at OLL - scoreless for the game. They held Lourdes to 16 points in the 2nd half, and after getting torched to the tune of 20 1st half points from Ava, they held her to 3 points after halftime. If you told me that was going to happen before the game, I would be expecting to walk out of the gym seeing them win. Unfortunately for them, Lourdes came through with a strong defensive effort of their own - not turning AHN over, but staying in front, containing, and often forcing them into difficult shots later in the shot clock - and AHN was never able to get in a true rhythm offensively. The majority of their success on O came as a result of playing through the post, and Saniyya Adams fouling out with 4:23 remaining was a major blow, but credit to them for giving themselves a chance to win it in the game's closing minutes. They showed me that they can grind a game out for 32 minutes when things aren't clicking the way they'd hope, and I think that bodes well for them going forward.

Sam Fischer came through with much needed offensive production when OLL needed it in the 4th quarter.
- On the contrary, if you're Lourdes... just three 2nd half points for Ava Learn, Russo & Peek held scoreless, on the road against a previously undefeated team... you'll take that win however it comes. Big plays from Sam Fischer as the game went on. The Lourdes 2021 seemed to realize in the 4th quarter that the additional production was going to have to come from her, and she looked more confident attacking to score as the game went on. She has a strong build but is skilled and deceptively mobile, and she was able to get to the rim, draw contact, and get to the line. The more capable contributors Lourdes can have around Ava Learn - a high major D1 talent that will attract the lion's share of defensive attention against any team they play - the better off they'll be going into the 2nd half of this winter. With a sophomore core of Learn, Fischer, Peek, and Sofia Feigelson that saw plenty of run along with Russo, a junior, there continues to be room to grow for this group.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Oneida Does Just Enough to Hold Off Adirondack

January 2, 2019

Oneida 50, Adirondack 45

Wednesday's nightcap was an interesting one on the schedule, as two teams that figure to be a threat in the Section 3 Class B playoffs - and don't often bump up against each other - hit the court in a nonleague matchup. Visiting Oneida led most of the way, but they were never able to gain much separation. However, they were able to string together enough plays in the 4th quarter to hold off their hosts and get the nonleague victory.

Ella Rainbow finished with 15 for Oneida, including a couple timely threes in the 4th to help them keep their late cushion.
The first half was back & forth and slow in pace, with Oneida leading most of the way. They scored 7 straight after Camille Roberts (Adirondack 2020) opened the scoring with a three to get off on the right foot. After Oneida went up 16-10 on a Lauren Skibitski (Oneida 2019) basket, Adirondack made a push through most of the remainder of the quarter. Erica Sanford (Adirondack 2021) scored 6 points in an 11-4 stretch, and a Belle Kranbuhl (Adirondack 2020) three-point play gave them a 21-20 edge late in the half. Skibitski answered with a trey to give Oneida a 23-21 lead going into the locker room; a lead that Adirondack would never get back.

After Kranbuhl scored to start the 3rd and tie it up, Oneida went on a 10-0 run with four different Indians scoring - culminating with a Sydney Lusher (Oneida 2021) three - to give them their first of two successive double digit leads. Skibitski scored a minute later to make it 35-25 before Adirondack would start to crawl back into it. Kranbuhl scored the last four points of the quarter to cut Adirondack's deficit to 37-34. The Wildcats were able to cut the deficit to 1 point on a pair of occasions in the middle of the 4th quarter. A pair of Roberts free throws made it 39-38, and after Ella Rainbow (Oneida 2021) knocked down a trey, Sanford came back with a 3 point play to make it 42-41 with 4:09 left. However, Rainbow responded with another three and Lusher added a floater in the lane to give Oneida a 6 point cushion with 2 minutes left. Not long after Kranbuhl hit a pair of free throws to cut Adirondack's deficit to 4, Oneida was able to make a slow-to-foul Wildcats team pay. With Adirondack sitting on two team fouls in the quarter, they attempted to trap Oneida's guards and force a turnover before committing fouls. By the time they committed their 5th team foul, sending Oneida to the line, the Indians were able to milk 47 seconds off the clock and send Rainbow to the line with under 22 seconds remaining. She hit both, effectively ending any hopes of late Adirondack heroics.

Belle Kranbuhl picked it up as the game went on for Adirondack and contributed 16 points, 10 rebounds, & 5 blocks.
Ella Rainbow and Lauren Skibitski finished with 15 points apiece to lead Oneida. Skibitski was a main source of offense in the first three quarters, and Rainbow punched in eight points in the 4th. Syd Lusher added 10 for Oneida and filled the stat sheet with 6 rebounds, 5 assists, & a pair of blocks. For Adirondack, Belle Kranbuhl contributed a double-double with a game high 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks with Monmouth - who has already offered a scholarship - in the gym for her. Erica Sanford added 11 points, and Cam Roberts fought through foul trouble to contribute 7 points and 14 rebounds.

Sydney Lusher was an important part of Oneida's W, contributing 10 pts, 6 rebs, & 5 asts in a well-rounded effort.


- I thought the pace of the game favored Adirondack most of the way, but Oneida was able to have the game favor them where it matters most - the scoreboard. The game was played slowly - zone vs. zone, very limited fast break opportunities, possessions going pretty deep into shot clocks at both ends. I thought this favored the size of Adirondack (6'3" Belle Kranbuhl and 6'2" Cam Roberts) over a very guard-oriented Oneida squad that doesn't play anyone taller than 5'10". But despite that, Oneida did enough. They usually moved the ball well against Adirondack's 2-3, and when they did that & made the defense rotate and recover, they generally got good shots. They made seven threes off the hands of four players, and the two Ella Rainbow hit - who I thought had a nice game and showed me a lot as far as playing within herself and making plays when Oneida needed - were huge. Overall, a nice road win for an Oneida team that I think people in the section are just now starting to respect.

- It was snowing in Boonville when I left, because when isn't it snowing in Boonville? Also, the Dunkin' Donuts in town closes at 7:00 PM... what kind of a Dunkin' closes that early?!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Gera Scores Her 1,000th, Auburn Blows Past Liverpool With Stellar 4th Quarter

January 2, 2019

Auburn 71, Liverpool 63

The first game of 2019 was a rare Wednesday matinee. On a day where some school districts were back in session and others not, Liverpool & Auburn made full use of their day off for a 1:00 tip. The game was a shootout from the tip, but Liverpool was able to maintain the upper hand for over 29 minutes of action. However, the time that Auburn led was the most important, as they were able to go on a huge run late and grab a home victory.

Stef Gera dropped 18 for Auburn, including the 1,000th point of her varsity career, in Wednesday's win.

The milestone of the day was handled very quickly. Auburn standout 2019 and SUNY Cortland commit Stef Gera came into the game with 999 career points, and there wasn't a long wait for the home crowd to see her secure quadruple digits. She sank a three from the top just under 90 seconds into the game to reach the coveted mark and get that weight lifted off her shoulders. When play resumed, Liverpool quickly gained the upper hand off the strength of the three. Karly Shifflett (Liverpool 2021), Victoria Morgan (Liverpool 2021), and Laya Ashkar (Liverpool 2019) all hit threes in the first 8 minutes - Shifflett hit two of them - to give Liverpool a 14-9 edge. Then they started to establish Amanda Barnell (Liverpool 2019) in the post, as she scored 7 quick points in the 2nd and helped Liverpool get their largest lead of 9. They were able to maintain a 28-23 edge going into the locker room.

Amanda Barnell was a presence in the blocks for Liverpool and finished with 15 points.
Auburn came out of the locker room strong, scoring the first 4 of the quarter and eventually tying it at 33 on a Jania Freeman layup. Shifflett knocked down another three to respond for Liverpool, and a quick 9-2 spurt gave them a 7 point lead again. Auburn continued to hang around, taking advantage of Liverpool defensive breakdowns for some easy ones along the way, but the hot shooting of the Warriors was able to keep the hosts at bay into the 4th quarter. Liverpool led by as much as 6 early in the 4th on three separate occasions - a pair of Barnell free throws, another Barnell layup, and a Lexi Emmi (Liverpool 2019) basket that gave them a 55-49 edge - but then it was Auburn's time to make their push. Marlee Solomon (Auburn 2020) hit a pair of baseline jumpers to start what would be a monster 4th quarter for her. She scored again to cut it to two, and after Gera tied it at 57, an Emma Nolan basket gave Auburn the lead with 2:37 left. After Solomon scored once again, Shifflett canned her 5th three of the game to cut Liverpool's deficit to 1. But it was Solomon once again, converting twice to start a quick 8-0 spurt to put it out of reach. A Freeman layup gave Auburn a 9 point lead and effectively put it out of reach, even after Shifflett banged home her 6th and final three of the night.

Marlee Solomon made the most of her scoring opportunities, dropping 14 in the 4th quarter and a game high 23 in total. Stef Gera continued her production after scoring her 1,000th early in the game, adding 18 points to the cause, and Jania Freeman chipped in with 10. Karly Shifflett hit 6 of Liverpool's 11 threes and led the way with 18 points for Liverpool. Amanda Barnell contributed 15 for the Warriors, Victoria Morgan added 11, and Laya Ashkar chipped in with 9.

Marlee Solomon dropped a game high 23 points, 14 coming in the 4th for Auburn.


- Mentioned this on Twitter, but worth saying again. Stef Gera, a 5'3" on a good day guard, has been known as a dynamic scorer that can fill it up in a hurry. That can be shown by her career scoring mark - 1,017 points and counting. But the SUNY Cortland commit showed me some encouraging things besides being able to put the ball in the basket. On top of her 18 points, Stef was able to create for others off the dribble and get the ball where it needed to be & when it needed to be there for others to contribute. This improving ability to create for others is an important piece. As a smaller guard, I've thought that her ability to contribute right away would hang on that more than her pure scoring ability, as anyone that knows her game knows she can do that against anyone you put in front of her. I'm becoming more confident that Stef is someone that can step into Cortland's program, and the SUNYAC as a whole, and be able to contribute & make an impact right away.

- Karly Shifflett is one of the better offensive players that you probably don't know about. The 2021 guard is simply fun to watch when she gets it going, and she was certainly hitting in this game. Catch & shoot? Sure. A few feet behind the three point line? Bang. Quick fire off a screen? No problem. Stepback three against good defense? Better offense - barely moved the net. She hit 6 threes and I'm not sure if she attempted 10. That shotmaking ability, when done with consistency, is dangerous in any situation. Karly is someone I've had my eye on for a while now, seeing her scoring prowess with the Syracuse Nets carry over to a couple of my EST events and beyond, and I'm looking forward to seeing her continued development.

Karly Shifflett was feeling it from start to finish for Liverpool, hitting 6 treys & finishing with 18 points.
- The combined field goal percentage between the two teams had to be the highest out of any game I've seen this year. Part good offense, part getting out in transition and getting easy ones, part shotmaking ability, part not the best defensive showing - wherever you want to go with it, Auburn HS needs new nets after Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

After Giving Up Lead, Shaker Guts Out Road W Over Troy

December 18, 2018

Shaker 47, Troy 44 (OT)

The host Flying Horses of Troy played from behind for nearly the entirety of Tuesday's contest against visiting Shaker, but they continued to do enough to hang around. It paid off late, as they were able to claw all the way back and even take a late lead, eventually forcing an overtime session. However, it was Shaker's pressure that busted pipes in the waning moments, and they were able to turn defense into offense to escape with a league victory.

Solé Carrington finished with 14 points and was a major factor at both ends in Shaker's win.
A slow start - both in pace and on the scoreboard - went Shaker's way as they stifled their opponents for a long stretch of the first half. Troy opened up the scoring with a Jenalyse Alarcon (Troy 2021) layup a minute into the game, but would only be able to muster an Alarcon free throw in the quarter besides that. After a Julia DeBeatham (Shaker 2020) three gave Shaker an 8-2 lead, both teams went without a field goal for the last 3:39 of the 1st as Shaker ended it with a 9-3 edge. They quickly extended their lead to double digits in the 2nd quarter, as DeBeatham scored and Kaelah Carter (Shaker 2022) knocked down a three to provide a 14-3 edge. Troy was then able to claw back into it with the combination of a solid defensive effort - holding Shaker to 3 points in the last 6+ minutes of the half - and the production of Jakaiya Dewer (Troy 2021). She was able to get in the teeth of Shaker's zone and use her athleticism to attack the rim, scoring 6 in the quarter, and an Amaya George jumper cut Troy's deficit to 17-14 going into halftime.

An Alaina Holmes (Troy 2020) bucket to start the 3rd cut their deficit to 1, but Shaker took over from there as they threatened to put Troy into a deep hole. They quickly reeled off 7 straight points, 5 coming from Solé Carrington (Shaker 2021), and she continued to produce as her 8 points in the quarter helped Shaker extend their lead back to 10 late in the stanza. Holmes & Alarcon split free throws in the last minute of the quarter, cutting Troy's deficit to 7 entering the 4th. The run continued as Shaker was held scoreless for over 6 minutes to start the 4th. Holmes scored to start the quarter, Dewer added a three, and Alarcon scored back-to-back buckets, the second being a driving left-handed layup to put Troy up 36-34 with 2:43 left. The lead changed hands three more times in the waning moments - a DeBeatham three, another Alarcon basket, and a Maddy Malicki (Shaker 2019) layup off a baseline out of bounds play all were go-ahead points. A Carrington steal with under 30 seconds left but Shaker in good position to take it home, with Troy having to play the foul game. Eventually they sent DeBeatham to the line, who split a pair to give Shaker a 40-38 lead with :17.5 remaining. On the other end, Carrington was whistled for a hand check as Nadia Brown (Troy 2021) started to drive, sending Brown to the line. She calmly drained a pair with :11.5 left to tie it up, and Shaker's last second desperation attempt was off to send it to overtime.

Jenalyse Alarcon had 11 of her 14 after halftime and played a key role in Troy's comeback, scoring go-ahead baskets three separate times in the game's final minutes.
The lead went back & forth throughout overtime as well. Carrington split free throws, and Brown scored for Troy to give the Flying Horses the lead back. Malicki was then sent to the line on two separate occasions 10 seconds apart - both after Troy turnovers - and she split each time for Shaker, eventually giving them a 1 point lead with a minute remaining. Alarcon scored again after grabbing an offensive rebound - her 3rd go-ahead basket of the game during crunch time minutes - but Carrington got by her initial defender on the other end and drew contact, getting back to the line where she split a pair to tie it up. After a bit of controversy over a timeout call, Troy had to inbound on their own baseline. The errant pass was tipped by Carrington and bounced right to Malicki next to the basket, who finished to give Shaker a 46-44 lead with just over 15 seconds remaining. Harassment in the backcourt turned into another Troy turnover, and Carter split a pair of free throws - the 5th time in the OT period that Shaker split at the line - to give them a 3 point edge. Holmes took it the length of the court, but her contested last second three point attempt was off, giving Shaker a hard fought W.

Solé Carrington & Julia DeBeatham each scored 14 points to pace Shaker in the scorebook. Carrington had 8 of those come in a strong 3rd quarter, where DeBeatham had 5 herself. Carrington added 3 rebounds & 5 steals, and DeBeatham contributed 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Jenalyse Alarcon led the way for Troy with 14 points, 11 coming in the 2nd half & overtime, including three go-ahead baskets. Jakaiya Dewer added 9 points, and Alaina Holmes contributed 8 with 6 coming in a strong 3rd quarter.

Julia DeBeatham finished with 14 points and provided a steady presence for Shaker, proving to be especially important after Troy put pressure on them with their comeback bid.


- The scoreboard generally had a direct relationship with the pace of play. Although cold shooting and some turnovers - forced & unforced - had a role in the slow start, I thought amount of possessions was the biggest reason. Most of the first half was played mainly in the half court, with each team going deep into the shot clock against their opponent's zone defense. Possessions were at a minimum compared to most games. The game opened up considerably more coming out of the locker room and was played a bit more uptempo, and the offensive production followed.

- Shaker's backcourt of Solé Carrington & Julia DeBeatham got it done for them, and they were a major reason they walked out of the gym with a win. They combined for over 60% of their team's points, which of course is important, but it was far beyond that. Carrington provided stingy, physical ball pressure that you could see bothered some of Troy's guards. She gets burnt with foul trouble sometimes because of it - had 4 fouls in this game, mainly when she got a little overzealous with the pressure and tossed a hand check or tried to go for a steal - but you'll put up with that to have her energy, toughness, ability to defend & frustrate ballhandlers, and the high number of steals and seemingly countless tips & deflections she's responsible for. Her pressure forced several turnovers against Troy's guards in the waning moments of the 4th quarter & overtime, and they're not at that point without her. DeBeatham has shown growth mentally, and it seems like the 3rd year varsity starter knows it's her time to lead. She knocked down big shots when Shaker needed them, and she calmed her young team down and controlled pace with the ball in her hands when needed. A solid performance with some big moments from these two were instrumental in Shaker's run.

4th year varsity starter Alaina Holmes will continue to be a cornerstone piece over the next couple years as Troy lays the groundwork with its young talent.
- Troy is coming along... turning a program around is far from an overnight thing. They'll graduate two guards in the rotation this winter, but besides that, it'll be the same team coming back for another year. It does help when you can build around players with talent like Jenalyse Alarcon & Alaina Holmes, but those other players - Jakaiya Dewer, Nadia Brown, Makya Chapman, etc. - are showing that they're coming along and all are playing pretty hard for their new coach. They almost nipped Shaker at home tonight... they could sneak up on a couple teams this winter and get wins you wouldn't expect. Regardless, looking forward to seeing their development as it looks like they could be a solid group in coming years.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Queensbury Runs Away Early, Flexes in W over Broadalbin-Perth

December 17, 2018

Queensbury 61, Broadalbin-Perth 15

Another Foothills Monday brought me to Queensbury for the first of likely a few times this winter, where they hosted Broadalbin-Perth. The hosts left no dramatics in this contest, making quick work of the Patriots to keep their record spotless to start the winter.

Hope Sullivan was dominant and led all scorers with 22 points in a lighter night of work.
Queensbury jumped on their visitors from the start. A Meghan O'Connor (Queensbury 2020) basket started it up, and it quickly extended from there. Whether it was executing in the half-court, getting out in transition, or turning defense into offense with their press, they were firing on all cylinders early. They reeled off 18 unanswered points - 10 from Hailey Ballard (Queensbury 2020) and 6 from Hope Sullivan (Queensbury 2020) to gain a 20 point edge late in the 1st quarter. Broadalbin, who was dealt a blow as starting PG Caroline Iannotti was unable to go after the first 3 minutes, was able to settle in during the 2nd quarter as Queensbury mixed lineups and dropped back from their press. Makenzie Smith (Broadalbin-Perth 2022) squared up and hit midrange jumpers on back-to-back possessions, getting them on the right track and helping them stay even in the quarter as Queensbury led 31-11 going into the locker room.

Queensbury blew it open even more to start the 2nd half. Sullivan scored 7 in a 14-0 run in the middle of the quarter, and after Smith briefly stopped the bleeding with a bucket, Sullivan reeled off 5 more points and Abby Doin (Queensbury 2020) added a three, giving the hosts a 24-4 edge in the quarter and a 55-15 edge on the scoreboard. They coasted to the finish line, all while holding Broadalbin scoreless for the last 10+ minutes of the game.

Hope Sullivan led all scorers with 22 points and 6 assists, and Hailey Ballard added 16 points & 4 assists in Queensbury's win. Makenzie Smith contributed 9 points for Broadalbin.

Makenzie Smith accounted for 60% of Broadalbin's scoring output Monday.


- Queensbury has quietly been going about its business and coming along for the last couple years. Two years ago, it was a young core with a bright future. Last year, they did damage in the Foothills and made it to a neutral site game for them (S2 Class A quarters at Amsterdam), but got stifled by a slightly older, more experienced Holy Names group. This year, they have all the makings of a true contender. They have a true point guard in Hope Sullivan that I think could be discussed among the top handful of point guards in Section 2 at the moment. They have other guards around her that produce and give different looks - Meghan O'Connor is more of a dribble drive guard that can shoot it, and Abby Doin is more of a shooter that can also put it on the deck. Altogether, they have a handful of kids that are capable shooters and the skill & IQ with the ball to keep turnovers down. Hailey Ballard has really come along as a force 15' and in for Queensbury, and she can produce against anyone they'll play. They have a couple other forwards that give them production. Not to mention that everyone on the roster is fast, athletic, and gets after it on the defensive end. The ball never stops moving - everyone touches it, everyone's involved, everyone stays happy. They're truly a fun team to watch at this stage, and they could do serious damage. If they get at least one game in March this year, I wouldn't be surprised.

Meghan O'Connor is one of several solid players in a Queensbury uniform and an important piece to their success.
- Speaking of Hope Sullivan & Hailey Ballard... the Queensbury 2020 duo could be classified as two of the 'best that most college coaches don't know about' in my coverage region. Neither plays on the bigger stage in the AAU circuit (you can find them with their school team as the Queensbury Triple Threat), unfortunately I've never had either at an EST event, and outside of Shenendehowa's Battle of NY team camp in August, I don't believe that either of them have been seen by a collection of college coaches in one sitting. However, just because they don't play AAU ball at the national level doesn't mean they're not better than some of the kids that do.

Sullivan, a 5'8" PG in her 3rd year starting at the varsity level, has diversified her game to the point that she can do some of everything. She's quick off the bounce with a good hesitation move to freeze the D, and she can finish in a variety of ways with either hand at the rim after she knifes into the lane. She has a solid in-between game, and she's a capable shooter with range a couple feet outside the 3 point line. Her passing ability when she gets into the lane is strong too, which she showed on a few occasions Monday. Hope knows how to run an offense and keeps production high while keeping mistakes at a minimum. Her length & quickness make her strong defensively whether they're playing man or zone, and she's a good rebounder for a guard that can track the ball & go get it.

Hailey Ballard has developed into a formidable post presence with development over the last couple years.
Ballard, a 6'0" F also in her 3rd year starting on varsity, has really made strides over time. Always bouncy & athletic, she's made it so she doesn't have to rely on her athleticism to produce. She let the offense come to her Thursday and showed good touch on the jumper. She gets off the floor quickly and has a high release, which allows for an effective turnaround J in the midpost that you don't see nearly as often in the girls game. She'll shoot that at a high percentage turning over her left shoulder because unless you're 6'4", you're not impacting it. She's active around the rim and a good offensive rebounder, and she's gotten stronger & finishes through contact. Her athleticism is still a calling card though, as she showed it in impressive spurts, covering major ground to jump passing lanes & get steals on a couple occasions, turning those into layups at the other end.

Take it from me, someone that's been watching them intently for two years now. Hope & Hailey are two of potentially a handful of 2020s at Queensbury that could play basketball at the collegiate level. The vast majority of D3 programs would be thrilled to have the services of either, and if I was a D2 coach in the northeast maybe looking to get a jump on someone flying under the radar, I'd start paying real attention.