The Shenendehowa boys basketball team may have lost its first two games, but it's how the Plainsmen played in those two games that has coach Tony Dzikas feeling good about the season.
Shen (0-2) lost to East High of Rochester 55-47 and Schenectady 53-50 in its preseason tournament last weekend, but it led at halftime in both games before stumbling at the end.
We lost our top four scorers from last year, so it will take a while for these guys to get going, said Dzikas. "But I like the guys we have."
The Plainsmen had an opportunity to post a big victory over East High, one of Rochester's top programs. Shen jumped out to a 13-3 lead in the first quarter and led by nine points at halftime before the Orientals (2-0) came to life with a 19-5 third quarter run.
"I don't know if East was mentally off the bus (in the first half), especially after such a long trip, but they came back in the second half," said Dzikas.
Three players reached double figures for East. Bobby Bell led the way with 19 points, while David Brannon contributed 11 points and Rueben Balkum added 10 points.
Brady Farkas had 11 points for Shen, with Matt Miner and Tony Kukuk each contributing eight points.
The Plainsmen got off to another strong start in Saturday's second round game against Schenectady, as they built a 19-13 lead in the first quarter. The Patriots (1-1) slowly chipped away at Shen's advantage, though, and finally grabbed the lead for good in the fourth quarter.
Reece Jackson netted 13 points, Chris Lewis chipped in 12 points and Derrick Millinghaus added 10 points for Schenectady, which was coming off a 61-50 loss to Shaker in Friday's first round. Miner and Doug Milvaney each scored 10 points, and Farkas contributed nine points for Shen.