January 11, 2014
Purple Tigers 'D' to the rescue
Defense saved the day for the Cortland High girls’ basketball team Friday night against visiting East Syracuse-Minoa at Shafer Gym.
The lead changed hands five times in the second half, the first when Purple Tigers sophomore guard Jackie Phillips scored the first six points in the opening 37 seconds as the hosts used a half-court trap to fluster the young Spartans. In the end, though, it was man-to-man defense that helped coach Dick Penoyer’s squad get some breathing room in what ended up a 42-37 victory.
“We changed back to what we’d been playing all year, the half-court trap,” Penoyer said of his team’s retaking the lead after trailing 19-18 at halftime. “I think that caught them flat-footed. Our full-court man-to-man press worked well, too. They had a really hard time against that.”
Phillips actually scored 11 of her game-high points in the third quarter. She hit a jumper 10 seconds in to gave CHS a 20-19 lead, then scored layups off steals by junior forward Abby Hess and senior guard Rae Dunn to make it a 24-18 contest.
The visitors, however, mounted a comeback of their own, scoring the next seven points to lead 27-24. Five straight points — on a free throw and basket by junior forward Delaney Marshall and a basket by Dunn — gave Cortland a 29-27 lead. After ES-M hit a free throw to close to within one Phillips went back to work, draining a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left in the quarter and then stealing the ball for a coast-to-coast layup with 21 seconds left to make it 34-28, which is how the third quarter ended.
“This was a gamed that I really wanted to win,” Phillips said of her scoring outburst. “We’re tied with Jamesville-DeWitt for first (in the OHSL Freedom National Division), and we all really wanted to get the win for tomorrow, when we play them. At the end of the game, it was rewarding to come out with the win.:
CHS is a perfect 5-0 in the division, with a 7-1 overall record prior to facing the Red Rams who are 3-0 in league play and 4-2 overall.
“I talked to my teammates and let them know we could do it,” said Phillips of overcoming ES-M. “We needed to keep up our speed to stay in the game. Getting more rebounds and playing tougher defense helped us late. We started pressing, and they couldn’t handle the press.”
The Purple Tigers led 35-31 just over a minute into the fourth before ES-M ran off the next five points, three of those from junior point guard Ashley Scalzo, to retake the lead at 36-35 with 4:36 left. An inside shot by junior forward Delaney Marshall with 4:10 left turned out to be the basket that gave the winners the lead for good, at 37-36.
A close-range shot from Phillips and layup by junior forward Chickie Artis with 2:22 left, sandwiched around a free throw by Schoff that turned out to be the visitors’ last point, made it 41-27 Cortland. Though hitting just one of five free throws down the stretch — the one success coming from Artis — as ES-M was forced to foul, the hosts were able to keep the Spartans scoreless the rest of the way.
The Purple Tigers scored the first six points of the game before ES-M came on, never taking the lead but forging an 8-8 tie at the end of the first quarter. A basket by junior guard Cindy Brownson 5:16 before halftime gave the visitors their first lead at 14-12, and after Hess scored inside to tie the game the Spartans scored the next five points, keyed by a 3-pointer from senior guard Danielle Ventrone, and held on to take their 19-18 lead into intermission.
“They only scored 19 points in the first half; I thought our defense was really good,” Penoyer said. “Offensively we weren’t hitting any outside shots and weren’t getting any transition. We were settling for a half-court game. When we did get the ball inside kids would go up, get hit and no foul would be called.
“At the end we were able to steal the ball a couple of times off our man-to-man and also got rebounds, so we were able to get the ball down the court. Our players coming off the bench — Delaney, Erin Brown and Kayla Andrews — gave us some valuable minutes in the game, both defensively and offensively.”
“The girls fought hard, which is what we’re trying to get them to do,” Spartans coach Lindsey Neuhaus Lindner said, her team now 1-3 in the Freedom American Division and 3-5 overall. “At times they had to keep their heads, and were able to do that.
“We struggle against pressure defenses; we turned the ball over a few times tonight because of that and we have to work on taking better care of the ball. The effort and energy were there, but turnovers hurt us. Cortland is always scrappy, especially here.”
Complementing Phillips for the Purple Tigers were sophomore guard Shea Swartwout with seven points and Hess with six, to go with a team-high 12 rebounds. Artis had 11 rebounds and Dunn nine as the winners hauled down 44 boards in all. Phillips and Dunn each had four steals, and Dunn had three assists.
ES-M got 10 points apiece from Scalzo and Ventrone.
As noted, that Purple Tigers were to visit J-D today with first place in the Freedom National Division on the line. The JV game was slated to get things started at 3 p.m.
CORTLAND JVs lost to ES-M 42-40 Friday night and are now 4-1 league and 5-3 overall. “Their press in the fourth quarter gave us trouble,” said CHS coach Sarah Kleefeld, whose team led 29-27 going into the final eight minutes. “They saved it and threw it at us at the end, which was good strategy. We knew it was coming and practiced against it but couldn’t execute as well in game conditions.
“I continue to be more and more impressed with Logan Chase (freshman forward-guard), who had eight rebounds. Aubrey Helchowski (sophomore forward) had a double-double, with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Emily Edwards (sophomore guard) had seven points, including two 3-pointers; Kacie Hubbard (freshman forward-guard) had nine rebounds and Paige Potter (freshman forward-guard) had six points.”
Sophomore Athena Thomas led the winners with 11 points.
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