Sometimes, it can seem like there's an invisible lid on one particular basket in a game.
Of course there isn't a lid, but it looked like there was one on the north end basket at Hudson Valley Community College's gym during last Saturday's state Class AA girls basketball championship game between Shenendehowa and Sachem East.
Long Island champion Sachem East struggled mightily to make shots in the first half, but it took advantage when Shen had trouble with the same basket in the second half to pull off a come-from-behind 50-44 victory.
The lid was on the hoop in the second half, said Shen coach Ken Strube. "But seriously, they cranked up their defense, and we missed some opportunities."
The Plainsmen (22-3) used a 14-4 second quarter run to take a 28-18 halftime lead, but things went south when they started shooting at the north basket in the third quarter. Shen missed several shots near the basket to open the quarter.
That opened the door for Sachem East (22-2). The Flaming Arrows went on a 13-2 run to take a 31-30 lead late in the third quarter.
"If you have those [early shots drop], maybe you weather the storm," said Strube.
The lead changed hands several times until Sachem East took command midway through the fourth quarter on back-to-back three-pointers by sisters Kristen and Meaghan Doherty. Shen got as close as 43-42 following a pair of threes by Emily Weber, but the Flaming Arrows pulled away with several clutch free throws.
"You've got to tip your hat. They made the shots when they had to," Strube said of Sachem East.
Kristen Doherty, a Boston College-bound senior guard, led Sachem East with 22 points, eight rebounds, six steals and three assists. Sophomore Meaghan Doherty contributed 18 points and four steals.
"They're a pretty good tandem," Strube said of the Doherty sisters.