BY MICHAEL KELLY
NISKAYUNA — In recent games, Shenendehowa boys’ basketball head coach Tony Dzikas has worried his undefeated team has played not to lose.
“We’ve been playing tighter and I’ve been coaching tighter,” Dzikas said after his team’s 70-42 Suburban Council win Friday against Niskayuna. “We’re all competitive when we’re doing this — when we’re coaching, playing, whatever — and want to win, but I cared more tonight about us playing loose and having no fear of losing.”
Through one quarter, the Plainsmen likely did not live up to their coach’s wishes and clung to a two-point lead. But after the Silver Warriors took the lead seconds into the second quarter off a 3-pointer from senior Cliquijon Rock, the Plainsmen seemed to relax — and zipped off a 17-0 run in the course of a few minutes.
“It got away from us quickly,” Niskayuna head coach Bryan Mattice said. “We went from up two to down 15 in what seemed like the blink of an eye.”
Senior guard Kevin Huerter scored nine of his game-high 23 points during the run, which Shenendehowa (16-0, 19-0) spurred with its defense. In the 17-0 spurt, the Plainsmen forced Niskayuna (9-7, 11-8) into five turnovers and only allowed the Silver Warriors four shot attempts during the decisive stretch.