December 03, 2008


Cortland High girls run into buzz saw on the road

MEXICO — Wrong place, wrong time.
The Cortland High girls’ basketball team opened its OHSL Freedom Division season with a trip north to Mexico Tuesday evening. Waiting for the Purple Tigers was a team that returned pretty much intact after having reached the sectional Class A championship game last season.
“We just ran into a buzz saw,” CHS coach Dick Penoyer said in the wake of the hosts’ 80-37 romp, his team’s first loss of the season after winning the championship of the O’Heron Tournament last weekend. “It’s a tough place to play, especially in your first league game against an experienced team. Plus they had a revenge factor. Over the last couple of years we’d been the only team that could consistently beat them.”
The Purple Tigers, now 2-1 overall, were able to stay with Mexico for one quarter, trailing by just 16-11 after the first eight minutes of the game.
“That was because we didn’t see any pressure,” Penoyer said. “They pressed us in the second and once they threw in that full-court press, which they executed well, they were able to score a lot of points. We had an awful time with it. We weren’t ready to play against that type of pressure.
“I wasn’t expecting them to score that many points. That’s the most we’ve given up since I’ve been coaching this team,” he added, Penoyer starting his stint as coach in the 2000-01 season. “It wasn’t a matter of poor defense on our part, but of not breaking their press. I picked them to win the league before the season, and we saw one of the best teams we’re going to face all year. It’s a learning experience. We need to do a couple of things to make our press break work better.”
Mexico, in its opening game of the season, outscored CHS 29-5 in the second quarter to take control of the game, and also had a 24-20 scoring advantage in the third quarter. Cassandra Hall and Angie Josbena had 22 points each to lead the Tigers in their season-opener, while Evelyn Josbena added 16. Courtney Tennant and Maggie Brown had eight points each for Cortland, Tennant adding 13 rebounds and Brown six of the 29 caroms the visitors controlled. Aubrey VanGorder had four steals in the losing effort.
CORTLAND JVs opened their season with a 39-20 loss to Mexico, paced by Melanie Phillips with seven points. The hosts led 19-13 at halftime and used a 9-2 third-quarter advantage to take control of the contest. Jess Matteson took game honors with 11 points for Mexico.
Both Cortland teams visit Fulton Friday, the JV game getting things started at 5:30 p.m.