February 2, 2011
CHS defense steps up to shut down Phoenix
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortland High sophomore Devon Tennant (21) shoots a jumper over Brittney Sears (31) and Sarah Bregg (23) of Phoenix Tuesday night at Shafer Gym. First place CHS rolled, 54-28.
Practice made for pretty close to perfect for the Cortland High girls’ basketball team Tuesday night against visiting Phoenix.
“Our main focus in the game was defense,” Purple Tigers coach Dick Penoyer said of his squad’s 54-28 OHSL Freedom American Division victory at Shafer Gymnasium.
“We went back to what we were trying to do at the beginning of the season, giving the other team just one shot and then getting down the court and scoring. We spent an hour and a half on defense in practice Monday,” he added.
The results were obvious right from the start, as CHS outscored the Firebirds 16-3 in the first quarter en route to the easy win. Cortland is now 8-2 in the league, closing in on its first title since the 2007-08 season, and improved to 9-4 overall.
“We didn’t know what to expect from Phoenix, who we beat by one point (48-47) up there in our season-opener,” Penoyer said. “We’ve improved as the season has gone on, and I’m not sure whether they haven’t as much or if they had an off night. I’m not sure what they were trying to accomplish.”
Senior forward Nacirema Mann led the Purple Tigers with 18 points and also had nine rebounds, three assists and two steals to help the winners to a 41-24 advantage in that category.
“Nacirema was too quick for them,” Penoyer said. “By the time they figured out where she was, the ball was in the basket.”
CHS junior guard Maggie Brown had 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals, while sophomore forward Devon Tennant was the team’s top rebounder with 10 and also blocked five shots.
“We started out with full-court pressure, not so much to get steals but to make them use time off the clock, and it worked pretty well,” said Coach Penoyer. “We switched defenses, and went mostly zone in the first three quarters, switching between different ones to try to keep them off-balance.
“It was a good game for us. We were able to get everyone in,” he added. “The one negative was the fact that we had 22 turnovers. It didn’t hurt us, but in the postseason if you turn the ball over that many times you’re going home.”
Phoenix (3-6 league, 5-8 overall) was led in scoring by Alyssa Cassano and Sarah Bregg with five points apiece.
CORTLAND JVs rolled to an easy 43-18 victory and also improved to 8-2 in the league and 9-4 overall, breaking the game open with a 12-0 third-quarter advantage. Jackie Hathaway had nine points while Taylor Tabel and Cassandra Hathaway had eight apiece. Sydney Patzke had a game-high 10 points for Phoenix.
Cortland’s squads host Phoenix on Friday, the JV game set to start at 5:30 p.m.
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