Beating Averill Park 63-62 nearly two weeks ago did more for the Colonie girls basketball team than avenge a 40-point loss.
It also gave the Lady Raiders the No. 1 seed out of the Suburban Council for the Section II Class AA playoffs.
Obviously, we’re excited about it, said Colonie coach Heather Fiore.
Colonie (16-2) also earned a bye into Saturday’s quarterfinals. The Lady Raiders will host Saratoga Springs, which beat Bishop Maginn 42-39 Thursday.
Fiore said her players are looking forward to the challenge of being the top seed after reaching the Sectional semifinals last year.
`They just want to play well and do what they know they’re capable of doing,` said Fiore.
Colonie has several players capable of carrying the team on a given night including Suburban Council Player of the Year candidate Tehresa Coles. The junior guard averaged nearly 14 points per game and had several games with double-digit rebounds.
`Tehresa has really stepped it up this year,` said Fiore. `She’s a very versatile player. She can handle the ball, she can shoot the ball well and she’s very strong at the defensive end.`
Freshman center Sydnie Rosales is another important part of Colonie’s success. Since coming back from an early injury, Rosales has either reached or approached double digits in scoring for the past six games, including a season-high 19 points in the Feb. 11 victory over Averill Park.
`Sydnie brings a whole different dimension to the team,` said Fiore. `She can shoot from anywhere on the court. She can drive to the basket or shoot from the outside, and she plays well at the defensive end.`
Colonie has other scoring options it can rely on including Ashley Loggins, Jaclyn Welch, Kelly Dillon and Amie Jefferson. And with the exception of Dillon (one of four seniors on the team), all of those scoring options are underclassmen.
`We have a young group, but some of them were on the team last year,` said Fiore. `So even though we’re young, we have some experience.`
Colonie’s quarterfinal game is the second half of a Class AA playoff doubleheader Saturday. The early game pits Albany against Shaker, which downed Queensbury 75-31 in Thursday’s opening round game in Latham.“
Associate editor/sports editor