Thursday's second meeting between the Shenendehowa and Shaker girls basketball teams followed the same storyline as their season-opening Suburban Council showdown Dec. 7.
Shen raced out to a big lead early on, and Shaker never caught up as the Plainswomen defeated the Blue Bison 57-48 in Clifton Park.
Shen (14-0) built an 11-2 advantage in the first three minutes and then weathered a Shaker rally in the second quarter to pull off its second victory over the Blue Bison and clinch the Suburban Council North Division title.
I don't know what it is, said Shen coach Ken Strube. "Against a lot of other teams, we don't [start fast]."
"We knew how big this game was. We wanted this North Division championship," added Shen guard Emily Weber.
Shaker's problems were twofold against Shen. The Blue Bison (12-2 league, 14-2 overall) turned the ball over several times early on, which allowed the Plainswomen to build their lead, and whenever Shaker cut deeply into its deficit, its offense sputtered. The one time the Blue Bison got within one point of Shen " midway through the second quarter " they failed to score another point until halftime.
Shaker coach Emily Caschera's biggest concern was the way her team's defense performed, though. As time ticked down and the deficit remained sizeable, the Blue Bison started committing fouls that Caschera said were unacceptable.
"We really need to get better defensively " stop fouling and stop reaching," said Caschera. "[We need to] just be smart, get them to miss shots and grab rebounds."
Shen had its own foul problems. Senior forward Allie Setter sat out more than eight minutes of the second half after picking up her fourth personal foul early in the third quarter.
"A lot of them were stupid fouls," said Setter. "I was really mad because I knew I wouldn't go back in for a while. I just tried to cheer my teammates on as loudly as I could."