Friday, January 29, 2016

High School Fridays: Shenendehowa @ Troy (boys' basketball), 1/29/16

A prominent law firm in the home district uses the motto, "We expect to win". That same adage applies to Shenendehowa's sports teams.

The Plainsmen made their first regular season visit to Troy High tonight, in front of the largest crowd of the year at Clem Zotto Memorial Gym. Some ill informed media types assumed that Shen would simply blow away Troy like they have everyone else. Ah, but the Flying Horses aren't everyone else, as Shen coach Tony Dzikas found out.

A feature article in the hometown paper focused on Troy's senior center, Jack McLaren and his matchup with Shen's Mike Pizziketti, who, 8 days ago, burned Albany for 32 points while the Falcons held Kevin Huerter to 18. Tonight, it was the other way around.

Troy jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead, but that lead soon evaporated under the usual Shen barrage of 3-pointers, led by Huerter, who finished with a game high 34 points, 21 of those in the 2nd half. Troy's sophomore star, Daniel Buie, had 22, but just 4 after halftime, after Shen shifted to a box-&-1 defense. The Plainsmen moved one step closer to the Suburban Council Blue division title with a 72-64 verdict.

If it was a blowout the media hordes were looking for between Shen & Troy, they'd have to go to Shen for the women's game. In a game that saw Shen star Carly Boland held to just 9 points, and Troy's Sabrina Wolfe either scoreless or unable to play, the Lady Plainsmen blew out Troy, 64-22. Troy had its worst scoring output of the season, and it doesn't bode well going forward. The loss clinched the Grey division title for the Lady Falcons of Albany High, who now lead Troy by 4 games with just 2 league games left. The Lady Flying Horses have now lost three of their last four, and have to travel to Albany on Tuesday before Senior Night next Friday vs. Schenectady.

Back to the Troy boys. They retain a 1 1/2 game lead over Schenectady, as the Patriots lost to Niskayuna. Christian Brothers Academy is 2 games back, and Albany is 3 back with 3 league games left. The Falcons come to Zotto Gym on Tuesday, but before that, Troy hosts Green Tech for a twilight game Sunday afternoon. Albany needs to beat Troy to have any hope of staying in the division race, but I don't see that happening. Meanwhile, Shen can't seem to shake 2nd place Guilderland in the Blue division, as the Dutchmen remain a game out with 3 to play. Had Troy beaten Shen, the Plainsmen would've been in a flat-footed tie for first, although Shen has the tie-breaker in head-to-head competition.

And there is some good news for Troy sports fans tonight. LaSalle's hockey team snapped a six game losing streak (eight game winless streak overall) with a 4-3 verdict over Niskayuna-Schenectady, as the Cadets closed a 5 game homestand. They'll play at Bethlehem on Wednesday, then return home to face Saratoga next Friday and Senior Night will be February 10 vs. Tri-Falls before closing at Queensbury on the 12th. A sectional play-in game, also at Bethlehem, looms likely on the 15th.

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