The Saranac girls’ basketball team tried to take away Tamarac’s inside-outside attack Saturday.
The Chiefs held forward Adiya Henderson to just nine points before she fouled out in the fourth quarter. However, Jenna Erickson was much more difficult to corral.
Erickson tallied a game-high 23 points, including 10-of-14 from the foul line, as the Bengals knocked off Saranac in the NYSPHSAA Class B quarterfinals at the Plattsburgh State Field House.
“Adiya had a tough game,” Tamarac coach Eric Medved said. “They were really physical with her on the inside. Jenna, though, never forces anything. Everything she does is within the offense.
“She picks her poison. She tried to get inside the paint and get fouled or distribute the ball. She takes things as they come.”
Saranac, though, had the advantage early.
The Chiefs got on the board first with a Kayla Napper layup to start the game and held onto the lead throughout the first quarter. Saranac was up 17-16 at the conclusion of the first quarter.
But, Erickson was heating up.
With 5:43 left in the second quarter, Erickson nailed a 3-pointer at the top of the key to give the Bengals a 21-19 lead. It was Tamarac’s first lead of the game, a lead they would not relinquish.
“I was thinking we could shut down (Erickson’s) penetration,” Chiefs coach Tim Newell said. “But, she has to be the best guard we have played against all season.
“She is fearless for her size and she finishes well. Even when we fouled her it was giving her free points.”
The Bengals outscored Saranac 17-11 in the second quarter to take a 33-28 lead into the half.
The Chiefs would get as close as two in the third quarter, but the third quarter was a draw as both teams scored 11 points.
In the fourth, Tamarac jumped out to a 51-43 lead, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Tori Trim would pull the Chiefs within five. Erickson would connect on a couple free throws before Kaitlyn Bowman drained a 3-pointer and made a layup to get Saranac within two.
But, that would be the final points for Saranac as Tamarac would ice the game from the foul line.
The Bengals were 24-for-29 from the line for the game.
“If someone would have told me that we would take Henderson out of the game like we did I would have thought we would have won,” Newell said. “But, they just shot the ball extremely well and we didn’t rebound on a few trips down the stretch. They got some easy offensive boards.
“They were also near perfect from the foul line.”
Medved said his team preaches “fourth quarter foul shots” during practice
“We preach fundamentals,” Medved said. “We take foul shots with pressure. There is always a consequence attached to a miss and I think that gets you to 90 percent.
“That’s a really good team. They were prepared and very well coached. At this point we just needed to survive and we are still alive.”
Alex Mitchell added 13 points to go with Erickson’s 23 points and six rebounds. Samantha Casale pulled down nine rebounds.
Bowman, who had an excellent game for Saranac and helped keep it close, scored a team-high 21 points and hauled in 10 rebounds. Kayla Napper finished with nine points and six steals, while Trim tossed in 11 points.
“This is a great learning experience for us and we have four starters returning,” Newell said. “I think this hurts enough that they will continue to keep working. And, I expect they will.
“I definitely feel for our three seniors though, including my daughter (Emma Newell). We are definitely going to have some big holes to fill with them gone.”
Tamarac 61, Saranac 52
Gavin 1-4-7, Erickson 5-10-23, Mitchell 3-5-13, Werner 1-0-2, Henderson 2-5-9, Casale 1-0-2, Krieger 2-0-5, Doody 0-0-0, Medved 0-0-0, Owens 0-0-0. Totals: 15-24-61.
Trim 4-0-11, Napper 3-3-9, Newell 2-0-4, Bowman 8-4-21, Gillespie 2-2-7, Eggleston 0-0-0, Heywood 0-0-0, Fink 0-0-0, Rugar 0-0-0. Totals: 19-9-52.
Tamarac 16 17 11 17 — 61
Saranac 17 11 11 13 — 52
3-point goals: Tamarac (7) Gavin, Erickson 3, Mitchell 2, Krieger. Saranac (5) Trim 3, Bowman, Gillespie.