ROTTERDAM: Sabres spear Saints in opener

Schalmont girls basketball coach Ed Pendt missed Tuesday's Section II, Class B playoff game while recovering from foot surgery.

Schalmont's opponent, Saratoga Central Catholic, probably wished it could have missed the game, too.

The Sabres scored 11 points before the Saints took their first shot, and it only got worse for Saratoga Catholic after that as Schalmont ran away with a 57-16 victory.

The Sabres used several defensive sets against Saratoga Catholic a full-court zone press to start the game, followed by different halfcourt sets. But all of them were effective, as the Saints turned the ball over 31 times.

We played a man-to-man de-fense for basically three quarters of the game, and it just worked because we were wherever the ball was," said senior Brittany Mc-Donald.

The press set the tone, though. Schalmont forced 11 turnovers in the first quarter and limited Saratoga Catholic to three shots.

"We've been playing it most of the year, and we've done it at the JV level for several years," said coach Craig Sargent, who filled in for Pendt on the sideline. "It's a patient press. The forwards dictate the pace, and we wait for the other team to make mistakes."

None of that would have meant a thing had Schalmont not con-verted on Saratoga Catholic's turnovers. Nearly one third of the Sabres' points came on fastbreak layups.

"We did well with all of our offensive sets, and the open player was always there," said McDonald, who finished with a team-high 12 points.

Joelle Litz contributed 11 points, and Carolyn Barber added 10 points for Schalmont, which raised its record to 14-7. Elizabeth Towne had eight points for Saratoga Catholic (6-15).

The Sabres advance to Friday's quarterfinal against Schuylerville, which defeated Emma Willard 44-36 in another opening round game Tuesday. The Schalmont-Schuylerville game will be the nightcap of a doubleheader at the Rotterdam school, as Cohoes and Tamarac will also play their quarterfinal game there.

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