The Times Union, 3/23/99
Higgins comes out scoring
Perfect from the floor, Shen backup guard shines in state tourney games
With guards Colleen Tabor, Amy Comer, and Emily Cashera all graduating off this years Shenendehowa girls basketball team, there will be plenty of pressure on next years backcourt to perform at a high level.
Sophomore Deanna Higgins proved over the weekend that shes ready to carry on the tradition.
Higgins, Shenendehowas top reserve guard this season, had a perfect shooting weekend at the Final Four - 4-for-4 from the field, 4-for-4 from the line, finishing with 14 points
This is a dream, it really is Higgins said. Coming to all the games as a little kid and seeing Shen win everything ... but now, its our team. Its a great team, it really is.
And these shots werent in garbage time, either. Quite the contrary, in fact.
In Friday nights semifinal victory over Sachern, Higgins scored 10 points - despite the fact she was being guarded primarily by Sachems AllAmerican guard, Nicole Kaczmarski, who only has two years, eight inches and about 2,500 points over Higgins.
|No matter. Higgins came off
the bench to drill a 3-pointer with 1:11 left in the
first half against Sachern, sending Shenendehowa into the
locker room with a 24-19 lead.
Then in the fourth quarter, with Shen nursing a mere three-point lead, Higgins stuck another 3-pointer, this with 7:25 left in the game, to spark a 12-5 Shenendehowa run which eventually gave the Plainsmen a 10-point lead.
She had another basket during that spurt, and it was a backbreaker for the Flaming Arrows. Shenendehowa junior Jolene Johnston had a shot blocked with two seconds left on the shot clock, but Higgins darted into the lane, grabbed the ball and sent a high-arcing layup gently off the backboard and through the basket as the shot-clock buzzer sounded.
The run ended with 3:40 left in the game, when Megg Richards, another sophomore, took a no-look pass from - you guessed it, Higgins - and scored easily for a 52-42 Shen advantage.
And with 21 seconds left, Higgins coolly buried both ends of a 1-and-1 free throw situation, giving Shenendehowa a 58-52 lead. Dee is probably our best ballhandler. Im sure they figured, hey, shes the guard off the bench, you guard her, Shenendehowa coach Ken Strube said after the 61-54 semifinal victory.
Well, Dee made them pay big-time with those two 3s. And what about the hoop inside with the trees around her? And then with the game on the line, she nails two free throws.
|She saved some more heroics
for Saturday, adding another chapter to her state
tournament legend in Shenendehowas 63-57
championship victory over Ursuline.
Heres the situation: Shenendehowa was leading 59-57 with 54 seconds left. Its leading scorer, Johnston, had fouled out more than two minutes earlier. The Ursuline contingent was in a frenzy, and things did not look overly promising for the Plainsmen.
So what does Higgins, supposedly a timid little sophomore, do? She throws a behind-the-back, no-look pass to a surprised Richards on the left post. Richards wasnt expecting it, but managed to corral the pass and get fouled. She made one free throw, and Ursuline never scored again.
Dees an awesome passer, Richards said. Shes so crafty with the ball. Shes awesome. But I was a little surprised
She just goes right for it. Shes unbelievable like that. Shes so smooth, Comer said. it doesnt bother us as long as it gets there.
Which it did. And the championship trophy followed moments later.