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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 23, 2012

Class AA first round
Bishop Maginn too quick for Dutch

By Jordan J. Michael

ALBANY –– Bishop Maginn’s shooting percentage was through the roof; its ball movement precise. Guilderland did its best to keep up, but the Griffins were too quick.

Tuesday night was the third time in four years that Guilderland and Bishop Maginn met in the first round of the Class AA sectionals. The Dutch pulled an upset in 2009 and the Griffins prevailed in a close game last year.

On Tuesday, one girl made a huge difference –– Kayla Miller.

There was no way to stop Bishop Maginn’s senior star. Miller controlled the game with points (23), rebounds (14), assists, and ball control. She even found time for two monster blocks during the Griffins’ 62-to-53 win.

Guilderland knew that Miller couldn’t be stopped, but the Dutch went after her with full court pressure defense. Miller’s dribbling was too good.

“We started playing their (Bishop Maginn) game, and you’re going to lose if you do that,” Dutch Head Coach Frank Cacckello said. “We had to scramble in our press and that left room for open looks.”

Benefiting from Miller’s attention was Caitlin Hupe, who made six three-pointers. She would not miss. At one point, Hupe faked a three-pointer and drove to the hoop for a nice lay-up.

Guilderland senior Kelly Van Epps said that 90 percent of Hupe’s shots were uncontested. “No one guarded her,” she said. “The fast break caused mismatches. We didn’t box out either. Locking down better on defense would have made a huge difference.”

Miller was the biggest problem for the Dutch. She had a creative shot selection and already had 15 points at halftime. The game seemed to revolve around Miller’s presence.

“She’s (Miller) very fast on her dribble and off her dribble,” said senior Amanda Kernozek, who scored 19 points for Guilderland in a spirited effort. “She’s just really tough to guard.”

Kernozek guessed that Miller would be playing Division I in college, but that could not be confirmed.

“We need all our players to do well, but Kayla has a big role to play and we feed a lot off of her,” said Bishop Maginn Head Coach Julie Reilly. Once Miller grabs a rebound, the Griffins offense shoots into high gear.

“She (Miller) can get to the hoop and make smart decisions by finishing or passing to open shooters,” Reilly added. “She’s dynamic.”

Van Epps made four three-pointers, and Kernozek played with a borderline madness, routinely forcing her way to the basket. Cacckello said that Guilderland has played with a “controlled chaos” all season.

“They played bigger, stronger, and faster than maybe they thought they were,” said Cacckello of his players.

Guilderland had an up-and-down season, meeting every goal but one –– winning a sectional game. Cacckello remembers when seniors Van Epps, Kernozek, Cristal Benton, and Kelsey Michele were sitting on the bench as fourth graders watching the Dutch in the sectionals finals.

Cacckello hates losing his seniors, but it happens every year.

“This is one of the best groups I’ve ever had,” Cacckello said of his seniors this year. “They wanted to change the atmosphere around here after going through some thin years, and to be able to stay strong while you’re losing –– that’s the biggest credit for them.”

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