By Aidan Joly
SARATOGA SPRINGS – It wasn’t the prettiest of wins but the Saratoga girls’ basketball team found a way to get the job done as they took down Bethlehem on Friday night, 64-51.
The game was close the entire way with neither side gaining a lead larger than six through the first three quarters and the advantage changing hands four times during that time, but Saratoga was able to hold onto it for the majority of the time and the few times that Bethlehem did lead, it was never by more than four.
The main issue was that Saratoga was a bit slow for a good part of that game and as a result of that struggled to get shots to fall, and struggled to rebound the ball consistently as well. However, it was Abby Ray and Dolly Cairns that provided that spark in the fourth quarter that allowed the Blue Streaks to pull away in the fourth quarter with some key baskets in the final few minutes. They out-scored Bethlehem 18-8 in the fourth.
“First couple minutes of the game I thought we looked slow and just a step off from our normal play, so we tried to get some energy and I think in the third quarter Abby and Dolly created some energy, which was great, but it took a while for us to get there,” Saratoga Springs head coach Robin Chudy said.
Cairns ended up scoring a game-high 31 points despite struggling to hit shots for a good portion of the game, 10 of them coming in the fourth quarter while Ray complemented her well, finishing off the night with 14.
“It’s obviously hard when Dolly, our best shooter and our best scorer in general is off or just not getting the looks that she usually does, but we all try and take over and try to help and if she doesn’t have the hot hand, maybe someone else does,” Ray said.
One thing that Saratoga seemed to struggle with at times was the fact that the tempo of the game was changing regularly, a theme that trended as the quarters changed. The game was 12-9 after the first and then was 34-31 at halftime, then 46-43 after three, with Saratoga leading at each break.
Ray said on dealing with that, “It’s tough when everyone is down. We had no energy, it’s hard.”
Despite not playing as well, Saratoga improves to 7-0 on the season and will look to improve themselves with the main portion of league games coming soon.
Chudy said, “It’s a lot of learning, here’s all the things that we didn’t do, our coaching staff is great about laying it out for them, here’s the things we need to do to win that sectional title, we’ve got about six things tonight that we need to fix, so we’ll come into practice and we’ll fix them.”
Catherine Cairns led Saratoga Springs with 31 points. Abby Ray added 14 points. Lauren Patnode totaled 9 points. Natasha Chudy popped in 8 points.
Caroline Wise paced Bethlehem with 13 points. Liz Mullen racked up 11 points. Maren Louridas netted 8 points.
The Eagles made 7 hoops from long range.
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