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Boys’ basketball: Saratoga falls to Shen 64-53, takes #10 seed

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 by Aidan Joly Photos by Eli Fisher

Despite leading early and keeping it close, Saratoga didn’t have enough willpower to pull off an upset.

The Shenendehowa Plainsmen boys’ basketball team defeated the Saratoga Blue Streaks on Tuesday night at Saratoga Springs High School by a score of 64-53 in the 2016 Senior Night game.

Saratoga held an early lead in their attempt to be the team to beat Shen this season, leading by eight at one point in the second quarter before letting up 11 straight points to give the Plainsmen a three point lead at halftime.

“I love to see the seniors come out and play with that amount of energy, obviously hit a lot of shots early, which was great, I thought they played well the whole way,” Saratoga head coach Matt Usher said.

Saratoga came out on fire, hitting five three-pointers in the first quarter, and had six overall in the first half. Nick Kondo hit three of those five in the first quarter in part of an 11 point night. Will Capuano had nine points and AJ Lawton and Alex Skaine had eight each.

University of Maryland commit Kevin Huerter played a key role in the Shenendehowa win, scoring 20 points, leading the team. Luke Hicks scored 14 and Mike Collins added on 13 points.

“We were really focused and engaged in the game, just made their lives tough, they had to catch the ball really far from the basket,” Shenendehowa head coach Tony Dzikas said.

Saratoga held a 17-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, then had a 24-16 lead at one point in the second quarter, putting Shen’s 19-0 season in possible jeopardy. However, they came rolling back to a 27-24 lead at the halftime break, and Shen knew adjustments had to be made.

“He (Dzikas) said that they weren’t going to shoot like that in the rest of the game, and we switched to man, we usually play zone,” Huerter said.

Shen pulled out to double digit lead during the third quarter, and led 48-38 at the end of the third quarter, and pulled out to an 18 point lead with as little as four minutes, and Saratoga went on a run, but it was too little too late for the Blue Streaks.

“Everyone did a nice job, just collectively as a unit, defensively, where we could hold them down and keep them within striking distance,” Usher said.

Tuesday was the 2015-2016 Senior Night in Saratoga, and five seniors, Will Capuano, Quinn Beckwith, Nick Kondo, Alex Skaine and Zak Clarke were honored.

Shenendehowa finishes the 2015-2016 regular season at 20-0, and has locked up the number one seed for the Class AA playoffs, which will begin next week after the play-in round this weekend.

Saratoga finishes the regular season with an 11-9 mark. They received the tenth seed and will play #7-seeded Albany on the road next Tuesday, February 16. The girls’ team will play Niskayuna at home beginning one hour earlier.

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