Girls basketball: Friday night match-ups to watch

By ROB JONAS

There are several key match-ups in Section 2 girls basketball on tap for Friday night, led by a showdown for the Suburban Council Blue Division lead.

Shenendehowa at Colonie
The Lady Raiders and the Plainsmen are locked in a three-way battle with Saratoga Springs for the Blue Division lead. Shen has been dominating its competition this season, posting double-digit victories over all of its opponents thus far, while Colonie has been a lock-down defensive team against Suburban Council foes, as the Lady Raiders have yet to allow a league opponent to score 50 points in a game.

Meghan Huerter is continuing her family’s tradition of draining three-pointers with accuracy. The junior – and younger sister of NBA player Kevin Huerter – has made nearly as many threes (23) as traditional two-point field goals (24), as she leads Shen with a 19.8 points per game average.

Colonie’s defense can’t simply focus on Huerter when she’s on the perimeter, though, Kaitlyn Watrobski has also been effective from beyond the three-point arc with 14 baskets from that distance. Together, Huerter and Watrobski will keep Colonie’s guards busy at the defensive end.

Colonie’s offense is well balanced between Macie Trimarchi, Ahnalese Pearson, Sareena DiCerbo and Makayla Blake – all of whom are averaging more than 10 points per game. That gives the Lady Raiders something to work with against Shen’s defense. The question is, will it be enough to keep pace if Shen’s offense gets going?

Academy of the Holy Names at Albany Academy for Girls
Holy Names is looking to maintain its lead over Schalmont in the Colonial Council Liberty Division standings – if not expand it – when it visits AAG Friday night.

Grace Field continues to be a force for Holy Names. The senior forward is averaging nearly 16 points per game and is coming off an 18-point performance in a 45-28 victory over Lansingburgh Wednesday, Jan. 8. Factor in a stifling defense that has yet to allow a league opponent to score 40 points, and it’s easy to see why Holy Names is leading the way.

AAG has a one-two punch on offense with Aaliyah Juste and Meleena Ottati, each of whom are averaging more than 10 points per game. The Bears will need both players to be on point if they hope to pull off the upset.

Maple Hill at Hudson
Can Hudson put a stop to Maple Hill’s dominance in the Patroon Conference? It depends on what the Bluehawks can do to supplement Deja Beauford’s scoring. Beauford is averaging more than 20 points per game, but there isn’t another Hudson player who approaches an average of 10 points per game. Without a reliable secondary scorer, the Bluehawks could be in trouble if Beauford is locked down by Maple Hill’s defense.

Offensively, Maple Hill sticks to a balanced approach. Natasha Strock and Sophia Chevrier lead the Wildcats with an average of slightly more than 10 points per game apiece, while Jenna Hoffman has been effective in the low post with an average of seven points per contest. It’s an unselfish, fundamentally-sound offense that quietly gets the job done.

Mayfield at Fonda-Fultonville
Fonda-Fultonville is making a strong case for a high seed in this year’s Section 2 playoffs. The Lady Braves are undefeated heading into Friday’s Western Athletic Conference contest with Mayfield, thanks in large part to the perimeter shooting of Abigail Lombardoni and Carly Atty, who have made a combined total of 35 three-pointers. They are also battle tested, having recently come off a 61-50 victory over Duanesburg Jan. 7 in which the Lady Braves closed out the game on a 23-11 run.

Mayfield has struggled against WAC competition, but the Panthers are at .500 overall heading into its road game with Fonda. Kelsey Meca (12.7 ppg) and Cloey Dopp (10.1 ppg) are the Panthers’ top two offensive threats – both also capable of hitting three-pointers. Lindsey Hampton (9.8 ppg) is the primary low-post player for the Lady Panthers.

Greenwich at Mechanicville
Upending Hoosick Falls 53-50 Wednesday. Jan. 8, provides Greenwich with plenty of momentum heading into Friday’s Wasaren road game against a strong Mechanicville team. The Witches got 20 points from Molly Brophy and 11 each from Tess Merrill and Adrianna Rojas to keep pace with the league leaders from Cambridge.

Mechanicville will have its hands full containing Brophy, who is one of the top players in the Wasaren League with an average of more than 20 points per game. Charli Goverski is the Red Raiders’ leading scorer with an average of 14.3 points per game.

Warrensburg at Whitehall
Not much has changed since last year for Warrensburg. The Burghers are among the top Adirondack League teams, thanks in large part to veteran guards Abigail Ranous (18.8 ppg) and Hope Boland (14.4 ppg). Whitehall’s defense will have to play its best game of the season to contain Warrensburg’s offense.

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