After losing in the Section II, Class AA semifinals last season, the Colonie girls basketball team wouldn't accept anything less than a championship this time.
The Lady Raiders (23-1) came out strong and held on for a 41-34 victory over Guilderland in Saturday's championship game at Hudson Valley Community College for their second Sectional title in the last three years.
We wanted this more than anything this year. It was our biggest goal of the season, said senior Logan Pintka. "We didn't get to play in this game last year, and once we lost that (semifinal) game, we knew what we wanted. We wanted that to be us last season, and with nine seniors back, we did it."
"I wanted this for them, and for the fact that they have worked so hard for us every single game all season long," said Colonie coach Karen Bonitatibus.
Pintka, one of Section II's best players, was held in check by the Lady Dutch all night long, finishing with eight points.
But with Pintka being double-teamed almost every time she touched the ball, the Lady Raiders simply looked to one of their other offensive threats " Ola Shajuiygbe. The senior forward responded with a career-high 24 points and was named the most valuable player.
"We're not ready for the season to end. We all know how bad we wanted this," Shajuyigbe said.
"Pick your poison. We shut down the best player in Section II (Pintka), we chose to stop her and Ola (Shajuyigbe) burned us," said Guilderland coach Frank Cacckello. "She was tough tonight, and there wasn't a whole lot we could do."
The Lady Raiders were also tough at the free throw line. Colonie made 17 of its 28 foul shots, including an 8-for-11 performance from Shajuyigbe.
Guilderland (17-7), which lost to Colonie for the third time this season, battled all night long, but never led in the contest. Cacckello said he was pleased with his team's effort and sent his seniors out to accept the runner-up plaque.
"They've been so important to this basketball program," he said of his seniors. "They run your team, and when it comes down to it, they got us to this point, especially in tight games down the stretch. I think it was well known who should have gone out to get that (plaque), and I wish all 12 could have, but seniors get us here."
Kristin Pezze led Guilderland with 14 points, and Tricia Loux added 10 points.
Colonie advances Saturday's class AA regional in Syracuse.""