Girls basketball: Balanced attack helps Shaker pull away

Four Bison reach double figures in victory over crosstown rivals

— The Shaker girls basketball team earned another quality Suburban Council victory -- this time, at the expense of its crosstown rival from Colonie.

Madison Rowland led four Blue Bison in double figures with 18 points as Shaker (10-0 league, 12-0 overall) pulled away for a 70-56 win against Colonie (7-3, 9-3) Friday in Latham.

"It was an amazing, total team effort," said Shaker coach Emily Caschera-Blowers.

The game started as one would have expected in the Shaker-Colonie rivalry as the teams battled back and forth in the first quarter. But early foul trouble for Colonie's Samantha Blum and Nicole Riddick left the Garnet Raiders at a disadvantage in the low post -- one that Shaker took advantage of in the second quarter as it used a 12-0 run to build a 25-15 lead.

"When Riddick went out (in the second quarter) with foul trouble, we were able to box out better and grab more rebounds," said Caschera-Blowers.

"It was difficult playing without our bigs," said Colonie senior guard Sydnie Rosales, who finished with 18 points.

Colonie did what it could to stay within striking distance through the remainder of the second quarter and throughout the third quarter, but Shaker kept finding sources of offense to maintain a healthy lead. If it wasn't Madison Rowland hitting shots, it was Lyric Artis (14 points), Merrick Rowland (14 points), Adriene Gambles (10 points) or Sage VanAmerongen (nine points) doing the honors.

"That's reassuring. You can't have a team with just one player (scoring)," said Madison Rowland. "You need all five players contributing."

Shaker now owns wins against Colonie, Averill Park (8-2, 9-3) and Shenendehowa (6-3, 8-3), which gives the Blue Bison an inside edge for the Suburban Council's top seed in next month's Section II Class AA playoffs. They can improve their chances next Friday with a victory over Bethlehem (10-0, 12-0) in Delmar.

"This is huge," said Madison Rowland. "If we had lost this (game), we would have been tied for second (overall in the league)."

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