January 20, 2016

Phillips leads late CHS charge

hoopsBob Ellis/staff photographer
Homer’s Macy Boice, 2, manages to get her shot off despite the defense of Shea Swarthout of Cortland High Tuesday at Shafer Gym.

Staff Writer

Players who have standout performances are often said to have taken a game over.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better example of that than Jackie Phillips’ effort in the Cortland High girls’ basketball team’s 51-47 non-league victory over visiting Homer Central Tuesday night in Shafer Gym.
The senior guard scored 15 points in a row in the winners’ 17-point fourth quarter, sandwiched between their first and last points. She went 11-for-11 from the free throw line in that stretch, as she was continuously fouled while driving the lane, and wound up with a career-high 30 points — including 16 free throws — as well as seven rebounds, five steals and four assists.
Her efforts helped keep her team in the game and ultimately decided the final outcome.
“I was surprised I got inside so many times,” Phillips, who came in averaging 14.3 points per game, said with a smile. “And all in a row. I tried to step up, got the calls and made the free throws.
“We knew that Homer is better than they have been, and really, really wanted to win. I was trying to get the team pumped up before the game. I didn’t want to lose to them at home my senior year.”
Starting with a pair of free throws to cut the Trojans’ lead to 38-37 with 5:45 left, Phillips personally made sure that didn’t happen. She scored on drives seven straight times the rest of the way, including a basket, an old-fashioned three-point play (basket plus foul) and five instances in which she was fouled while shooting and made both free throws.
HOMER, HOWEVER, hung tough.
Freshman forward Shawnessy Earle scored inside to give the visitors a 40-37 lead with 5:28 left before two Phillips free throws made it a 40-39 game with 5:04 left. Sophomore forward Caley Cornwell made it 42-39 for the visitors with 4:30 left, and both teams went scoreless until Phillips made it a 42-41 game on a pair of free throws with 2:30 left.
Homer again rose to the challenge, sophomore forward Dakota Kleefeld’s rebound bucket giving her team a 44-41 lead with 2:12 remaining. Phillips and Kleefeld then exchanged baskets to push the score to 46-43 for the Trojans with 1:36 left. After Phillips’ old-school three-point play tied the game at 46, Kleefeld hit one of two free throws with 53.6 seconds left to make it 47-46 for the visitors.
Those were the last points Homer would score, Phillips giving CHS the lead for good at 48-47 with 47 seconds left and adding two more free throws between Homer misfires on a pair of 3-pointers. Purple Tigers senior guard-forward Molly Doubet rebounded the latter miss, was fouled and sank a free throw with 5.6 seconds left to close out the scoring.
“When you have a talent like Jackie to work with it almost seems easy,” first-year Cortland coach Nolan Sinclair said, his team now 8-4 overall and assured of a berth in the sectional Class A tournament. “She’s like a sponge, and absorbs whatever you tell her. She goes to the basket so strong. She was a little hesitant at the beginning of the year, probably because I’m a new coach and she was learning a new system.
“She did a similar thing against Fulton, scoring 12 of her 16 points in the third quarter to help break open a close game,” he added of a 49-29 CHS home win last Thursday. “Homer’s a good, scrappy team. Those girls work hard and their coach does a great job.”
“THE KEYS FOR US were containing Jackie and Shea (Swartwout),” said Trojans coach Chris DiFulvio, whose team, now 8-6 overall, was able to hold senior guard Swartwout to nine points, seven below her average. “We didn’t think we were going to stop them totally. Other than our two seniors (guards Hannah Casey and Madison Dimorier) we’re a young team, and the girls have to pay attention.
“We knew Jackie would drive late in the game and told our girls to stay straight up defensively; we knew what was coming. But in the fourth quarter alone they went 13-for-15 from the foul line and we were 3-for-8. I thought that overall we did a good job of rebounding. Dakota (who officially had four rebounds while Earle pulled down six) played out of her mind; she and Shawnessy did well inside to help keep us in the game.”
Homer had a 28-20 advantage on the boards, junior forward Logan Chase with four rebounds to complement Phillips.
The visitors were up 9-8 after one quarter after enjoying their biggest lead of the game, 9-3, midway through the stanza. CHS never led until Swartwout sank a 3-pointer to give her team a 21-18 lead 2:04 before halftime. Phillips hit a layup with 24 seconds left for the final points of the half, the hosts with a 23-19 advantage at intermission .
Senior forward Taylor Ludwig scored the first two points of the second half 1:06 in to give Cortland its biggest lead at 25-19, but Homer then reeled off seven points in a row — distributed among four players — to take the lead back with 4:51 left in the third. It was the first of eight lead changes, to go along with five ties, in the second half.THREE OF THE LEAD changes and four ties happened in the third, which ended with the teams deadlocked at 34-34 after Trojans junior guard Macy Boice hit a jumper with five seconds left for the tie to close out the scoring.
Swartwout hit one of two free throws 41 seconds into the fourth quarter to give CHS a 35-34 lead, but Cornwell answered with a jumper and then a pair of free throws to give Homer a 38-35 lead with 6:23 left.
Phillips then began her game-deciding tear with the first of her 15 fourth-quarter points, on two free throws.
Cornwell led Homer with 15 points and also had two steals while Boice had nine points and two steals and Kleefeld eight points as well as two assists and the aforementioned rebounds.
Four players did all of the scoring for Cortland, Doubet with seven points and Ludwig with five to complement Phillips and Swartwout.“Macy and Caley were consistent and Madison played good defense for us in the second half,” DiFulvio said. “Cary Trierweiler and Elena Partigianoni also defended Shea and helped us stay in it.
“Five years ago we’d come here with the goal of scoring 20 points; I’m proud of how far this program has come. The girls play hard, and this group is the reason we’ve come so far.”
“This was a big game for us,” said Sinclair, whose team has now won six of its last seven contests. “Right now we’re fifth in the section with Homer right behind us. We’ve proven lately that we can win close games.”
Both teams are back in action Thursday. The Purple Tigers visit East Syracuse-Minoa while the Trojans host Fulton at SUNY Cortland, both preceded by 5:30 p.m. JV games.
HOMER JVSs beat Cortland 26-17 to improve to 10-3 on the season, leading 10-4 after one quarter and 14-6 at halftime. Sophomore Deedee Partigianoni led all scorers with 10 points for the winners, while freshman Morgan Tabel paced Cortland (6-6) with five points.
“We came out doing well defensively and forced a couple of turnovers,” Trojans coach Crissy Colasurdo said. “Deedee and Allison Kristof and Brenna Johnson led us.”
“We failed to match Homer’s intensity, which pretty much sealed the outcome from the start,” Purple Tigers coach John Protheroe said. “Morgan and Elyssa Yonta played fantastic team basketball.”

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