CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- The confidence was high heading into halftime for the Cambridge Central School girls basketball team. They'd held Schuylerville to a single point in the second quarter and had all the momentum.
Unfortunately for the Indians, the Black Horses made a critical intermission adjustment -- setting up a full court press.
Cambridge struggled with the press, giving up a 12-point halftime lead in a 47-45 loss.
"[My team] came out ready to go after halftime," said Schuylerville coach Christen Porpora, whose team won its first game of the year. "They got fired up after digging ourselves a hole, they left it all on the court."
Using the press to create havoc and turnovers, Schuylerville (1-9, 1-7 Wasaren League) took the lead early in the third quarter, and steadily increased the advantage to nine, 43-34, after junior Carlee Irish drained a three. But Cambridge wouldn't fold, making it a five-point game with 2:40 left when Olivia Mooney was fouled making a 10-foot jumper for a three-point play. After Abbey Follos hit two foul shots for the Horses, Sarah Cuddihy knocked down Cambridge's lone three of the night to pull within four at 45-41.
Cuddihy had a team-high 19 points for the Indians.
"Sarah's the one basketball player. She's dependable," said Cambridge (5-6, 2-6 Wasaren League) coach Doug Luke. "She's got some experience, and she has some bulldog in her."
After a Schuylerville timeout, Cuddihy stole the ball, then went coast-to-coast for a layup to make it 45-43. On the next possession, Mooney (5 points) was fouled and calmly made both free throws to tie the game.
"They ran and the other team fouled and we made some foul shots," Luke said. "If they put pressure on us, we were in trouble. Granted, they came back. It would have been easy to give up and they didn't do that. Forty-five [points] is a lot for us.
Then Schuylerville's Valerie Liptak made the play of the game, getting to the hoop for a layup and foul with 21.1 seconds left to re-take the lead. The senior missed the foul shot, as did Irish seconds later, but a steal by senior Hollie Gravelle in the backcourt sealed the win.
"We [made] some crucial shots in the last couple minutes," Porpora said. "They had the composure to stay in the game, I couldn't ask for anything more.
Liptak had a game-high 21 for the Horses.
"It was just awesome, the seniors who have been playing for me for two years, they stepped up tonight, it was a great win for us," Porpora said.
After the first quarter ended in a 9-9 deadlock, the Indians went on the offensive, with Cuddihy scoring six and Amanda Brand three in a second quarter that went Cambridge's way 13-1.
"[Holding them to] one point in a quarter, we let them take outside shots and they didn't make [them]," Luke said. "We sat back in the zone and let them shoot from the outside."
Cambridge continues its season Friday at Greenwich.