DELMAR A strong defensive effort and good three-point shooting helped the Colonie Lady Raiders defeat the Catholic Central Crusaders 56-43 in Friday's Section II Class AA quarterfinal game at Bethlehem Central High School.
Colonie (15-4) made several three-pointers in the second half to pull away from Catholic Central and earn a spot in Wednesday's Sectional semifinal against Bethlehem (19-0), which defeated Columbia 74-25 in another quarterfinal game Friday.
The Lady Raiders used an aggressive defense and good passing to build a 12-6 lead in the first quarter. The Crusaders made several runs at Colonie in the second quarter, but the Lady Raiders held on to enter halftime ahead 21-16.
"We try to focus on defense all the time," said Colonie coach Heather Fiore. "I think we can still play better, but it gives us opportunities."
Catholic Central hung tough in the second half, but Sydnie Rosales' crucial three-pointer with 4:10 left in the fourth quarter gave Colonie a 49-37 lead. The Crusaders were unable to get closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Rosales led Colonie with 17 points, while junior forward Nicole Riddick contributed 16 points and 13 rebounds.
"Our defense won this game for us," said Riddick. "We didn't play our best on offense and we missed a lot of shots we normally make, but it just shows you that you can always in if your defense is doing its job. We did a good job of rebounding the ball, and we played physical and with a lot of intensity all night."
"Nicole (Riddick) did a phenomenal job tonight," said Fiore. "She helped energize us and give the team many chances (to score)."
Alliyah Gillespie paced Catholic Central with 14 points.
Colonie meets Bethlehem at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Hudson Valley Community College.