"All year long, different players have come up and gotten the job done," said Strube. "The group that started the third quarter, we call them the vets. They're a tight group of kids that play well together, and we hoped they'd do the job."
With Bethlehem having trouble holding on to the ball, Shen began chipping away at the double-digit deficit. The Plainsmen pulled within 11 points by the end of the third quarter, and then Bre O'Dell opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer to make the score 35-27.
The Eagles pushed the lead back to 13 points midway through the fourth quarter, but the Plainsmen didn't go away. Another three-pointer by O'Dell and five points from Carey Turner late in the quarter got Shen within five points before three free throws from McCullough in the final minute sealed Bethlehem's victory.
"We were a little shaky (in the final four minutes), but we encouraged each other, and we got through it," said McCullough, who finished with 11 points.
"We didn't shoot great from the free throw line, but we got to the point where we got into the double bonus (two free throws), so some of the pressure was taken off," said Nealon.
Swete led Bethlehem with 12 points, while Meg Olsen matched McCullough's 11-point performance. O'Dell had 14 points for Shen.
Bethlehem will face another familiar Suburban Council foe in Wednesday's class AA semifinals at Hudson Valley Community College " Gold Division rival Guilderland. The Lady Dutch defeated Catholic Central 37-32 their quarterfinal game Saturday.
"I've got a lot of respect for coach (Frank) Cacckello and the Guilderland program. You know they'll play great defense, and they'll play hard," said Nealon.""