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Better-balanced Shaker beats Saratoga

A balanced attack has its benefits.

Three players reached double figures in scoring to help the Shaker girls basketball team pull away for a 52-33 Suburban Council North Division victory over Saratoga Springs last Friday in Latham.

We need a balanced attack (to win), and we had that tonight, said Shaker coach Emily Caschera.

Lauren Woods led the Blue Bison (5-4 league, 6-6 overall) with 13 points, nine of which came in the first half. But, it was the second-half efforts from Erica Houle (11 points) and Adrianne Devine (10 points) that helped Shaker turn a one-point halftime lead into a 19-point victory.

Saratoga standout Staci McElroy did what she could to keep the Blue Streaks (2-5, 4-7) in the game by scoring a game-high 19 points. But when McElroy wasn't shooting the ball, Saratoga's offense suffered.

"Not that we were flat " Shaker is a very good club " but we just didn't get a lot of good guard play," said Saratoga coach Rich Johns.

The third quarter proved to be the turning point. Shaker went on a 12-2 run, spurred on by a strong defensive effort against McElroy, to build a 34-25 lead. Saratoga didn't challenge the rest of the game.

"McElroy's a fantastic player, and we held her to two points in the third quarter. That really helped us a lot," said Caschera.

"We rebounded well in the first half, which allowed us to get some second-chance shots," said Johns. "The second half, we couldn't shoot, and we couldn't rebound."

Saratoga's defense gave Shaker trouble, especially in the first half. But once the Blue Bison figured out how to beat Saratoga's full-court press, that opened up Shaker's offense.

"We turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, and that was too much," said Caschera. "We took better care of the ball in the second half."

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