February 5, 2016
Title clinch for Cortland
Senior Night was extra special for the entire Cortland High girls’ basketball team, coach Nolan Sinclair and his staff Thursday.
The Purple Tigers pulled away from a 34-34 tie halfway through the third quarter, taking control with a 15-2 run the rest of the stanza, and went on to beat Chittenango 52-41 to clinch the OHSL Freedom Division National Conference championship.
“The girls worked very hard this season learning the ways of a new coach and are very deserving of this title,” said first-year Purple Tigers coach Nolan Sinclair, his team now 6-3 league and 12-7 overall. “Our defensive effort was strong yet again as we reached our goal of limiting our opponent to less than 50 points.
“I would like to give a special congratulations to Taylor Ludwig, Molly Doubet, Emily Edwards, Allison DeGraff, Shea Swartwout and Jackie Phillips for their efforts as senior leaders this season. It hasn’t been easy on them getting acclimated to a new system their last year at Cortland, but they did so with a professionalism that is beyond their years. I will remember this group for a long time,” he added.
Senior guards Phillips and Swartwout led the winners with 22 and 18 points, respectively. Phillips also had nine rebounds, five assists and three steals while Swartwout, who increased her career points total to 979, had seven rebounds and four steals.
Junior forward Logan Chase had 12 rebounds and three steals while DeGraff had eight rebounds and three assists.
The Purple Tigers led 18-10 after the first quarter and took a 32-26 lead into halftime. The Bears (2-8, 6-12) scored five quick points near the halfway mark of the fourth.
“We took a timeout to discuss our defensive philosophy,” Sinclair said, “and it paid off. The girls buckled down and didn’t give up a point over the last four minutes of the game.
“The girls were exhausted late in the game but never let down. This was our sixth game in 11 days and at times it showed, but their effort was again top-notch. It felt nice to end this stretch on a three-game winning streak after losing the first three. Winning our side of the league says a lot about this group as they took my changes to the program in stride. A lot of credit has to go to the girls and their former coach, Dick Penoyer. He built a solid foundation and I can’t thank him enough.”
Junior guard Megan Pierce led Chittenango with 18 points and junior forward Morgan Shoemaker added 12, each with four 3-pointers.
Cortland visits Freedom American champion Jamesville-DeWitt, the trop-ranked Class A team in the state, Tuesday following the 5:30 p.m. JV contest.
CORTLAND JVS beat Chittenango 54-38 to improve to 9-10 on the season as eighth-grade forward Lyndsie Babcock led the way with 15 points and sophomore forward Samara Scott had 12.
“This was by far our best overall team performance,” coach John Protheroe said. “Every one of our guards moved the ball so well and played so unselfishly that it allowed our post players to have big games. It was a great team win.”
Cassidy Kelly and Kenzie Dahlin scored 10 points each for the Bears.
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