February 20, 2010
Second half revival for CHS
Brown, Tennant lead girls to comeback win over Bulldogs
With 5:33 left in the third quarter, things were looking bleak for Cortland High basketball girls.
The second-seeded Purple Tigers were trailing 10th-seed Nottingham 29-22 and were struggling offensively. Courtney Tennant, who had just two first-half points and getting pushed around in the paint while Maggie Brown was most of the home team’s offense, having scored 11 of the 22 points.
Cortland High coach Dick Penoyer moved Brown to the front line to help Tennant and Nacirema Mann and the plan worked. Cortland began controlling the defensive boards, which in turned sparked the offense.
Brown finished with a game-high 18 points and Tennant completed a double-double as the Purple Tigers rallied for a 53-50 triumph in the physical Section 3 Class A quarterfinal match-up at Ross O. Shafer Gymnasium.
Cortland (15-3) will now face third-seed Jamesville-DeWitt (15-4), a 57-53 overtime winner over sixth-seed East Syracuse-Minoa (12-7), in the semifinals. The other semifinal will pit eighth-seed New Hartford (13-7) against fifth-seed Carthage (13-6). The Spartans upset top-seed Whitesboro (15-4) 41-28 while the Comets pulled a mild upset over fourth-seed Camden (14-5), 86-76.
“The Cortland Crazies were great,” Tennant said of the very vocal support from the student section. “They helped us earlier in the year and they definitely helped us tonight.
“We also have six seniors on this team,” she continued. “We’re not done yet. We haven’t finished being a family yet. We still have some work to do and we’ll take it one step at a time.”
“It was a tough game tonight,” Penoyer said. “We had some kids come off the bench tonight and really help out.
“The difference in the third quarter was we confused them with the defenses we were using,” he continued. “The changes in our defense helped take their big scorer out of the game.She (Nikki Works) still had 15 points, but that’s not close to what she has been scoring this year. We also rebounded better in the second half.”
Tennant — whose double-double featured 11 points and 13 rebounds — made two free throws and Mann sank one of two charity tosses with 4:47 left in the quarter. Brown’s offensive putback pulled the Purple Tigers to within 29-27 with 4:11 left in the quarter.
With 2:41 left in the quarter, the sophomore then pulled down a defensive board, drove the length of the court and scored a lay-up while being fouled to knot the score. Brown added the free throw and Cortland had its first lead since 12-11 after the first quarter.
NOTTINGHAM STOPPED the 8-0 Cortland run when Chardonnay Williams made one of her two free throws, but Tennant answered with a nice bucket in the paint off a pass from Rheanna Bates and Mann picked off a Bulldog pass and scored the lay-in for a 34-30 Purple Tiger lead with 2:07 to go in the third quarter.
After a time-out, Mekkah Frazier hit a deuce from the right wing for the Bulldogs. Mann then picked up her fourth foul and headed to the Cortland bench.
Temple University-bound Works banged home a jumper to knot the score at 34-34 with 1:26 to play in the quarter and she scored again on a nice drive after a Purple Tiger turnover 21 seconds later to put Nottingham up by two.
Brown scored on her own driving lay-up with 54 seconds left in the quarter to even the score at 36.
She made a nice pass to Aubrey VanGorder for another lay-in with six seconds left in the quarter as Cortland led 38-36 heading into the fourth quarter.
Morgan VanGorder came off the Cortland bench and delivered two clutch shots that broke ties twice in the final eight minutes. Her 3-pointer gave Cortland a 41-38 lead with 7:14 left, but the teams matched treys and foul shots. With 4:07 left, Morgan VanGorder hit another short jumper to put the Purple Tigers in front to stay at 48-46.
Nottingham coach Greg Jones called a time-out to refocus his girls, but it was Tennant scoring on an offensive rebound with 2:35 to go that gave Cortland a four-point cushion at 50-46.
The two teams traded turnovers and Jones called another time-out with 1:49 remaining.
The Bulldogs missed and Cortland pushed the ball up the floor. Mann pulled down an offensive carom and scored the biggest bucket of the game. Her putback gave the Purple Tigers a 52-46 lead with 1:25 to play.
“That was the biggest rebound of the game for us,” Penoyer. “For Nacirema to pull that down and put it back in the basket for us was huge. She is a great athlete and she is really beginning to figure out what it’s all about.”
NOTTINGHAM HURRIED down the court, Davetta McKinney grabbed an offensive rebound, stepped back and drained a short jumper with 1:08 to go as the Bulldogs called their last time-out trailing 52-48.
Cortland worked the clock, but missed in the offensive zone. Works pulled down a rebound.
McKinney hit another jumper with 26 seconds left to pull Nottingham to within 52-50.
Forced to fouled, Works hacked Aubrey VanGorder.
The senior made the important front end of the one-and-one with 19.7 second remaining. Penoyer then called time-out.
He told the girls, “play tough defense, but don’t foul. When we get the ball, spread the offense out.”
VanGorder missed the second toss. Javona Torrence pulled down the rebound, but Tennant stole the ball back for Cortland.
Aubrey VanGorder missed a shot, but Morgan VanGorder grabbed the all-important offensive rebound.
She got the ball over to Mann who was fouled with 2.3 seconds showing. Mann missed the free throw which gave Nottingham one last half-court heave by Works that missed the target.
In addition to her 18 points, Brown pulled down nine rebounds and had three steals.
Mann netted seven points with 11 rebounds and two steals while Maggie Reagan chipped in with seven points.
Works scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half for Nottingham. Quiana Outley added 10 points and Frazier finished with eight points.
Cortland had advanced, but it wasn’t easy.
“Morgan made two great shots for us,” Penoyer said. “She also played great defense. She and Aubrey did a nice job out front.”
“Maggie Brown played her best game of the season hands down,” Tennant said. “Morgan came up big with the three and the two in the fourth quarter. Everyone really played well. Everyone stepped up when they needed too.
“It was tough inside,” she added. “Nikki is a great player. She’s a D-I player going to Temple. We are friends outside of basketball. We both played in the State All-Star game this summer. It’s too bad it was her last game, but I’m glad we came out on top.”
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