TROY — The Colonie girls basketball season came to an end on Thursday, Feb. 28, at the hands of Shenendehowa in a game that was much closer than the final 62-50.
The Raiders jumped out to a 15-5 lead after the first quarter of the Section II, Class AA semifinals and took a 26-22 lead into the half.
But, in the second half, Shen started pounding the ball inside to six-foot, five inch senior Catherine Almeida on offense, and on defense started fronting Colonie’s point guard and main scoring threat, Aliyah Wright, denying her the ball.
“We lost our energy level in the second half and became a little less intense and some of our big girls, who are key to our team and our offense, started to pick up a few fouls,” said Wright, who finished with a game high 22 points. “They made some good shots in the third quarter and worked the ball inside to Cat so kudos to them. Overall, though, we played hard and we fought hard and that’s what coach asked us to do.”
Wright had 16 points in the first half but was scoreless in the decisive third quarter when Shen swung the game to their favor.
Conversly, Almeida had just one field goal in the first half but went five for eight from the free throw line. In the second half, she had 12 points including a three and going five for six from the free throw line.
“I think the first quarter was a little warm up but once we calmed down our shots started falling,” she said. “Last year we got knocked off in this round and all the players who came back remember that so we are thrilled to be in the championship game.”
Shen, the No. 1 seed, will take on No. 3 Saratoga for the Section II, Class AA championship on Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College. Saratoga beat Albany, the No. 2 seed 69-42.
Colonie entered the tournament with a record of 11-5 and 15-7 overall and the No. 4 seed. Earlier this season they lost to Shen by scores of 62-36 and 67-45.
“We had a great first half. We did exactly what we wanted to do but they made some adjustments at half time, which is a compliment to them, and they started getting the ball inside to Cat. In the first half we did a good job of not allowing that to happen,” said Colonie coach Heather DiBiase. “We, of course, wanted to do a little bit more but we are not disappointed with the season or our effort this year.”