Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Friday night girls preview

Girl's basketball action will get back underway on Friday night after a quiet week due to MLK day and Regents exams. Here's a quick look at some of the big games.
Big 10
Amsterdam
(8-0, 15-0) is the top team in the Big 10 and the top AA team in the state. They have the conference all but wrapped up so let's take a look at the teams battling to finish behind the Rams.
Troy at Catholic Central: There's no other way to say it, the Lady Crusaders are on fire right now. Since a 77-55 loss to Amsterdam on December 21 they have rattled off eight wins in a row. With Bishop Maginn losing four out of their last five the Crusaders are now back in the mix in the Big Ten behind Amsterdam. They picked up two non-conference wins this past weekend at the Our Lady of Lourdes Tournament in Poughkeepsie and now head back into conference play. Head coach Christine LaBombard was concerned her team was just expecting to win instead of working for the win when they took the court early in the year. The team's success in recent years meant they had a bull's eye on their backs as each opponent gunned to knock them off.
Since that loss to Amsterdam though the Crusaders seemed to have found what was missing early in the year. They are playing with more aggressively on both sides of the ball and have stepped up the intensity. Senior Lauren Iachetta has provided the spark on defense and Alison McGrath and Olivia DeMarco have become more of the offensive threats they were expected to be in the beginning of the season.
They'll get their shot at two teams above them in the Big Ten with games against Amsterdam and Albany before the end of the regular season.
While the Flying Horses of Troy don't have the record of a contending team they have a knack for pulling off the upset. They've posted wins over Catholic Central and Bishop Maginn this year and played Amsterdam tough before losing 44-26 on Martin Luther King Day. Junior Shannon Jones was hurt in the win over Maginn leaving a hole at the guard spot. They've lost all three games since then and need her ball handling skills to play at their full potential.
Schenectady at Bishop Maginn: The Patriots are another team staying in the battle for second place in the Big 10. Junior Sheila Dixon has played outstanding basketball this season averaging 14.9 points a game. The Lady Patriots are anything but a one woman team though. Samara Butler and Rachel Csakany provide size in the paint but are both capable of hitting the outside shot. With Maginn, Amsterdam and Albany left on their schedule they'll have their chance to move up in the Big 10.
The Griffins didn't lose a game until the first week of January when they fell to Amsterdam. They've lost three more since then and are falling fast in the Big 10 standings. They certainly have the talent to get back on track before the end of the regular season with junior Mariah Stewart leading the way. Stewart is one of the top scorers in section 2 averaging
16.5 points a game. The Griffins will need her and fellow juniors Stephanie Herold and Alexis Osborne to step up if they want to get back to winning before it's too late.
Suburban Council
Columbia at Niskayuna
The Silver Warriors (9-1, 11-3) are in first place in the Suburban's White Division and have won five in a row coming into Friday's game. Emily Bayly's 15 points a game lead the Warriors who look like a team no one would want to face in the sectionals. They hold wins over Averill Park, Shenendehowa, and Colonie this season.
The Blue Devils are coming off a three point overtime loss at home to Bethlehem last Friday night. They are playing well for first year varsity head coach Kathleen Smith and are the defending Suburban Council Tournament champion. Seniors Lauren Hayes, Lauren Hannmann and Tiana Lott along with junior Gabi Regan will have Columbia gunning to win back to back Suburbans come tourney time.
Colonial Council
Voorheesville at Lansingburgh
Mechanicville and Cohoes are on top in the Colonial Council this year at 10-1 and 10-2 respectively. The next four teams in the league are pretty bunched together, (Watervliet 7-4, Voorheesville 6-4, Holy Names 7-5 and Lansingburgh 5-6).
The Blackbirds (6-4, 7-7) are coming off a 44-40 overtime win over Holy Names last Friday.
Senior Heather Bates scored six of her teams eight points in overtime to pull out the victory. Bates and teammate Casey Becerra finished with a team high 11 points for the Blackbirds.
The Knights are a young team led by a trio of sophomores Ariana Youngs, Alyssa Fane and Jameisha Bruton. They've lost their last two games to Ravena and Cohoes and will look to rebound against the Blackbirds. They've posted wins over cross town rival Troy of the Big 10 and beat Colonial power Holy Names. They'll need to repeat those performances if they want to take down Voorheesville Friday night.

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