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March 8, 2014

Saranac girls back in Class B state playoffs

PLATTSBURGH — Saranac girls’ basketball coach Tim Newell called Tamarac’s Jenna Erickson “probably the best point guard we’ve seen.”

And she’s only one-half of the Bengals’ standout tandem that also includes post player Adiya Henderson.

But the Saranac coaches had a chance to scout Tamarac this week, and Newell said the Chiefs (17-3) are prepared to face the second-ranked team in Class B.

“These kids have played a lot of AAU; they’ve been in the postseason. So I don’t think there’s a fear,” Newell said. “They respect Tamarac. But the kids are ready.”

Saranac faces Section II’s Tamarac (21-2) today at noon in an NYSPHSAA Class B regional final at the Plattsburgh State Field House.

Erickson scored 24 points in the Bengals’ 53-45 win over Johnstown in the Section II championship game and was named the tournament’s MVP. The senior then put up 32 in a regional semifinal victory against Canton. She averages 21.5 points per game.

Henderson, who averages 15.8, had 16 points and 11 rebounds against Johnsontown and scored 19 versus Canton.

The Chiefs have some experience defending talented post players — they beat Beekmantown twice in the last month.

“We have a little different game plan for Henderson; she’s little more mobile, not as big as Beekmantown,” Newell said. “I think we can probably concentrate on denying her touches in the low block. When she steps away from the basket, she’s not quite as effective.

“But the biggest key is Erickson. She makes the offense run.”

Saranac has four players who average in or near double figures in scoring. Tori Trim (12.2) is dangerous on the perimeter; she leads the Northern Basketball League with 44 3-pointers. Newell said Kayla Napper (12.5) and Summer Gillespie (10.0) can both play an inside-outside game, while Kaitlyn Bowman (9.2) likes to create off the dribble.

The Chiefs basically play a five-guard lineup, and Newell said they’ll try to get out in transition against Tamarac.

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