Shen survives and advances in state playoffs

A 32-minute game was decided in the final 3.9 seconds.

Breanna Stewart missed a 15-foot jump shot, and Marissa Ray blocked Cara Gannett's follow-up at the buzzer to give Shenendehowa a 34-33 victory over Cicero-North Syracuse in Saturday's Class AA girls basketball regional at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.

Both teams played good, solid defense, said Shen coach Ken Strube. "Nobody took a shot that they wanted."

"The kids did everything they needed to do in the second half. We hit our shots, grabbed rebounds and played good defense," said Cicero-North Syracuse coach Eric Smith. "We just fell one basket short."

The Northstars (18-3) had a 33-30 lead midway through the fourth quarter when Shen's Andrea Mangione stepped up. The senior came off the bench and scored five unanswered points, including a pair of free throws with 3:04 left to put the Plainsmen (21-2) ahead by one point.

"As a senior, I really didn't want the season to end," said Mangione. "Even if I had been on the bench cheering on my team, I would have felt good. But to be able to contribute feels even better."

"The one thing you know you're getting from Andrea -- and I know you can't give more than 100 percent -- is that she's going to give you 150 percent," said Strube.

The final three minutes were a series of missed shots and turnovers by both teams, as Shen desperately clung to its lead. Cicero-North Syracuse had a chance to take the lead with 1:21 left when Brittany Paul was fouled driving for a layup, but Paul missed both free throws.

The more heartbreaking sequence for the Northstars proved to be the final one. Shen missed a shot at the other end, and Cicero-North Syracuse grabbed the rebound and a time out with 13.3 seconds left. The Northstars set up a play for Stewart, but the sophomore forward was fouled on the floor with 3.9 seconds left. Since Shen had fouls to give, Cicero-North Syracuse had to inbound the ball from underneath the basket.

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