Shaker's confidence level received a boost following its season-opening loss to Shen this year when it defeated Syracuse's Nottingham High School 45-35. After surviving a 60-54 victory over Niskayuna Dec. 8, the Blue Bison started rolling with convincing wins against Saratoga Springs and Bethlehem.
Woods, Houle and Rowland have been a big part of Shaker's success. The veteran trio are all averaging between 10 and 11 points per game.
"I really think these girls are coming into their own," said Caschera. "Obviously, the more people who can score [points], the better the team will be."
The other factor is that the players are more comfortable in Caschera's system, having played it last year.
"I think it makes a tremendous difference," said Caschera. "I spent most of last year teaching the girls what I wanted to do and what zones I wanted them to play. Now, they know what to do, and it helps a lot that they know the system."
Shaker has some key league games coming up. After traveling to Columbia Tuesday, the Blue Bison host crosstown rival Colonie Friday in what could be a showdown of two one-loss teams. Colonie (4-1, 6-1) hosted Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Tuesday in a Suburban Council game.
"Obviously, I know Colonie is off to a great start, and there is a big rivalry between north and south Colonie," said Caschera. "But we're focusing on Columbia right now."
Colonie is coming off a productive holiday break. The Garnet Raiders defeated Albany 54-44 and Catholic Central 57-47 in last week's Colonie Tournament. Tehresa Coles led Colonie with 18 points and 13 rebounds against Albany last Monday, and she followed that up with a 12-point performance against Catholic Central last Tuesday.""