The Guilderland girls basketball team punched its ticket to Hudson Valley Community College the moment Stephanie McBride got into foul trouble.
As Catholic Central's leading scorer sat on the bench in the fourth quarter, the Lady Dutch rallied for a 37-32 victory in Saturday's Section II, Class AA quarterfinals at Shenendehowa High School.
Guilderland advances to Wednesday's semifinal game against Bethlehem at HVCC. Bethlehem upended Shen 49-42 in Saturday's other quarterfinal game in Clifton Park.
For them to step into Hudson Valley as one of the top four (class AA) teams, it's an incredible accomplishment, said Guilderland coach Frank Cacckello.
McBride staked the defending champions from Catholic Central to a 24-15 halftime lead with 13 first half points, but even the senior guard had trouble with Guilderland's defense in the second half. She managed only four points in the half before fouling out with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
"We had a specific defense to play against Stephanie," said Cacckello. "Dee (Danielle) Burns did a great job on her all night."
As McBride floundered, so did Catholic Central's offense. The Crusaders (18-4) scored only eight points in the second half, with half of those coming in the final two minutes as they desperately tried to avoid the loss.
Guilderland's offense wasn't firing on all cylinders, either. It took the Lady Dutch (16-6) the better part of the second half to put together a 15-3 run that gave them a 30-27 lead. Several points during the run came at the free throw line, where Guilderland made 17 of its 26 attempts.
"I knew that we were in the bonus (early in the fourth quarter), so a lot of our offense was running the shot clock down to 10 (seconds) and then driving to the hoop," said Cacckello.