Previewing The Class AA Finals
The Sectional playoff season concludes tonight at the Times Union Center as the Class AA championships take place.
In the early game, the Bethlehem girls take on the top-seeded Shen girls, while Guilderland takes on Shen on the boys' side in the nightcap.
Class AA Boys' Final, 7:30 pm
This game really boils down to one thing: How will Andrew Platek play for the Dutchmen? He's one of the area's best scorers (24.2 ppg). His only negative this year? The five points he scored in a January loss to the Plainsmen.
Shen hounded Platek all game long with a box-and-one defense, making life very difficult. Guilderland needs to work on getting the ball inside to Andrew Sischo. If he can score in the paint, he can cause the defense to collapse, opening up the outside for Platek. If the Dutchmen stand around waiting for Platek to hit threes as the only source of offense, it's going to be a long night. If Sischo and Platek can form a 1-2 punch, and point guard Michael Wine or small forward Ralph Simeone can step in with a double-digit game? This one could go down to the wire.
Offensively for Shen, the balance is what separates this team. Kevin and Tom Huerter, Brandon Fischer, and Petar Bebic can all lead the team in scoring on a given night. Shen needs to shoot it well from the outside to win this game. They'll look to run and tire out the Dutchmen -- and they have the depth to do it.
Prediction: Shen 63, Guilderland 54
Class AA Girls' Final, 6 pm
No. 1 Shen comes in at 20-1 on the year while Bethlehem is 19-2. The key to the game will be whether or not Bethlehem can take away one of the Plainsmen top scorers. Shen has a duo of accomplished shotmakers in Carly Boland (21 ppg) and Sydney Brown (14.2), but after that? Shen's next highest scorer averages just seven a game.
If the Eagles can limit Boland or Brown, they put themselves in an excellent position. They can do this by trying to force them into foul trouble on the defensive end and get them out of the game early.
Furthermore, if the Eagles are to pull the upset, they need to rebound. Shen thrives on the offensive glass due to Brown's tenacity.
For the Eagles on offense? They need to get production out of the Giacone sisters. Gabby (21.6) and Jenna (12.6) lead the team. They need both of them to play well, and they have the styles of play capable of getting Shen in foul trouble.
These two teams met in mid-December, with Shen winning 64-53.
Prediction: Bethlehem 52, Shen 46