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Lady Dutch crawl in opener

The Guilderland girls basketball team received a rude awakening in its season opener.

Big 10 power Catholic Central jumped out to a 20-9 lead in the first quarter and never looked back in beating the Lady Dutch 54-28 Friday in the first round of last weekend's Bethlehem Tip-off Tournament.

We're crawling right now, and I knew that would happen with this group, said Guilderland coach Frank Cacckello. "Getting in the gym is so important for this team right now to gain experience."

The veteran-laden Catholic Central Crusaders (1-1) used a one-two punch in the low post to knock out Guilderland. Senior center Alison McGrath scored 15 points, and junior forward Olivia DeMarco contributed 10 points.

"McGrath did a good job of getting to the hole (near the basket)," said Cacckello. "We played zone (defense) in the beginning, and she was able to drive through it."

On top of that, the Lady Dutch (1-1) struggled with shooting the ball. Perimeter shots bounced off the rim, and the smaller Guilderland forwards struggled to make their inside shots against DeMarco and McGrath, who stand 6 feet and 6-1 respectively.

"The frustrating thing is we didn't do things that we are capable of doing," said Cacckello.

Jessica Bender scored seven points to lead the Lady Dutch.

Things got better for Guilderland in Saturday's second round against defending Section II, Class AA champion Colonie. The Lady Dutch outscored the Garnet Raiders 15-7 in the second quarter to take the lead and netted 18 points in the fourth quarter to pull out a 46-39 victory.

Junior forward Mackenzie Michele had a big game for Guilderland. Michele hit six shots from the field and made 5 of 7 free throws to finish with a team-high 17 points. Senior guard Danielle Burns contributed 11 points.

The Lady Dutch will need more contributions like the ones they received Saturday from Michele and Burns if they hope to remain among the elite teams in the Suburban Council. With only a handful of veterans, Guilderland is facing a rebuilding year.

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