AMSTERDAM, N.Y. – Teams advancing deep into the post-season have to adapt and be comfortable with facing an unfamiliar opponent. They may know of some of the top players, but not tendencies, typical offenses and set-ups.
That is typically manageable unless you are looking to scout the Shenendehowa girls basketball team and its deep double-digit scoring line-up that extends throughout the bench and the entire contest.
Shenendehowa dismissed Somers 85-33 in Friday’s opener at the Amsterdam College Showcase Tournament and then handed Holy Redeemer (PA) its second loss in as many years, 96-51 Saturday night.
“They graduated some kids that were pretty good, (Sam Yencha) was back, she’s a phenomenal player, they lost a couple of starters and their point guard who’s not playing is going to Villanova,” Shenendehowa Coach Joe Murphy said. “We did a good thing tonight, we didn't shoot the ball well from the perimeter at first but we got to the line, we shot well from the line. So it's nice that the team can do different things.”
On Friday the Plainsmen once again had five players in double-figures, led by Meghan Huerter with 18, Kaitlyn Watrobski with 16, Bella Stuart with 14, Elyse Flannery with 11 and Jillian Huerter with 11.
On Saturday, wash, rinse, repeat and win.
Meghan Huerter again led Shenendehowa with 17 followed by her sister, Jillian and Watrobski with 14 each. Rylee Carpenter added 11 with Simone Walker dropping in 10 when not dishing the ball from the point guard position.
If there is one scouting ‘must’ for a Plainsmen opponent it will be how to try to break their press.
“We've been working on it since the beginning of the year, we know teams have done different things, but now we see what the teams have done against it and now we can adjust, practice and give them different looks,” Murphy said. “Tonight they did a great job.
“We saw what they're doing and we adjusted and you know, they're really starting to get in. They buy into the press and it was a total team effort tonight.”
It is called a press, but it’s becomes more of a swarming effect, the first player on the ball handler and then help from another spot wreaked havoc on the Royals Saturday night.
Jillian Huerter had her hand in more than a few pressure moments, including a quick steal and easy bucket at the baseline that dropped through the net as the first quarter expired.
“I didn't even realize the time,” Jillian Huerter said. “It's kind of a weird layup, but it was nice, got the momentum.”
With an extensive AAU resume with her sister during the off-season, facing the unknown is welcome by Jillian Huerter.
“It was fun, we didn't really know much about them so we just wanted to roll out the ball out and play and we got to play our game and it worked out for us,” Huerter said.
The night wasn’t all about polish and perfection as Shenendehowa had to adjust its game.
“We shot pretty terrible from three point line, but we got our foul shots,” Huerter said. “We drove to the basket well, so it shows how we're versatile and we can score in many different ways.”
Facing the unknown puts everyone on their toes – on the court and the sidelines.
“I love playing teams from out of our area,” Murphy said. “This is random we played someone two years in a row, but usually we play two different teams at Christmas. We are going to play ,Lourdes and Bishop Carney, on Martin Luther King weekend so that's another two teams we haven't really, we won't see.
“Once you get to the Suburban (Council) everyone knows that you do so you’ve got to bring your game every night. We’ve still got Averill Park, Bethlehem, we've got Saratoga, Guilderland, Colonie, I mean, there's so many good teams in the Suburban Council this year. Every night it's a great, great match-up and it’ll be fun to watch these kids respond each night.”