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COLONIE: Raiders return to HVCC

In 2005, much of the current Colonie girls basketball team went to Jamesville-DeWitt High School in suburban Syracuse and saw its state title dreams ended by Nottingham, the eventual class AA champions.

Two years later, in the same gym and the same regional round, the Garnet Raiders rewrote the script in their favor.

Logan Pintka poured in 16 points and nine rebounds, and Colonie played ferocious defense from beginning to end to defeat Section III champion Liverpool 48-36 in Saturday's AA regional final.

With the win, the Garnet Raiders improved to 24-1 and advanced to this weekend's state final four at Hudson Valley Community College a place where Colonie won it all in 2001.

We're thrilled to be going back," said head coach Karen Bonitatibus. "Our seniors have turned it up the last half of the year. They have never disappointed me."

Indeed, those five seniors " Pintka, Ola Shajuyigbe, Stephanie Sweeney, Jessica Coles and Taylor Amarando " did much of the work on this day, combining to shut down the Warriors for long stretches of time with an airtight man-to-man defense that never let any Liverpool player score in double figures.

"It was a team defensive effort," said Bonitatibus. "We knew they had a lot of great scorers, and we had to make sure we contested shots."

Colonie had its defense in top form right away, holding Liverpool without a field goal for the game's first 4:15 while taking a lead it would keep for most of the afternoon.

"They (the Raiders) were really physical," said Liverpool head coach Mike Olley. "We had trouble with the man-to-man."

Yet Colonie had its own difficulty establishing an offensive rhythm. Cold outside shooting, combined with Shajuyigbe's two early fouls, prevented the Garnet Raiders from building a first-half margin bigger than seven points.

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