Cambridge plays for sectional championship Saturday

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CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. — The Cambridge girls basketball team hasn't won a Class C sectional championship since 2001 and they'll have to wait an extra day for the opportunity to win one.

Mother Nature reared her ugly head Friday and snowed out all of the sectional tournament games scheduled for Hudson Valley Community College, forcing the Indians, and other local teams, to adjust.

No. 1 Cambridge (22-1) will now play No. 2 Mekeel Christian Academy in the sectional championship game Saturday at HVCC.

For a lot of the season, it seemed like these two teams were on a collision course to meet and with it, excitement is high coming into the game.

"They're really excited for that opportunity," said Indians coach Tony Bochette. "They feel like they played really well this year and they want to prove that they're the number one seed for a reason."

The Lions are the defending Section II champions and have been a thorn in Cambridge's side for multiple years. Mekeel has knocked the Indians out of the sectional tournament the past two seasons, so the Indians are ready for the challenge of finally getting over the hump.

"It'll be really crazy to play them again," said senior Helen Mooney, following Cambridge's 49-42 win against Hoosick Falls Tuesday night. "Just watching them play, we have a challenge, but hopefully we'll be able to come out ready to play."

The Lions have been led by seniors Rebekkah Dean and Elizabeth Singleton throughout the season. A 5-foot-8 forward, Dean is averaging 14.8 points per game. She is a major threat from behind the arc as well with 37 made three-point shots this season.

Singleton, who primarily runs the point guard position for Mekeel, is averaging 14.7 points per game. She had her best game of the season on Feb. 13 against Berne-Knox, where she scored 36 points in a 60-46 Lions win.

"We're going to try to make sure we do our defensive game plan the way we always try to do it," Bochette said. "Hopefully, we can contain them a little bit, but that's asking an awful lot. Both of them are really good players and they have great pieces around them."

Aotagracia Delarosa, Madison Show and Jillian Ballard have also been solid threats for Mekeel throughout the season. Like Dean, Delarosa and Show are threats from three-point range. Both have knocked down 20 or more three-pointers this year.

In order for Cambridge to win its first sectional title in 17 years, the Indians will need to have their freshman trio at the top of their games to compete with the much more experienced Lions team.

Sophie Phillips is averaging 13.9 points per game, while her twin sister Lilly Phillips is averaging 12.5 per game. Fiona Mooney has been a major piece for Cambridge, especially late in the season, but was held scoreless in the Indians' win against the Panthers, due to foul trouble.

Cambridge's five seniors will also be expected to contribute. Helen Mooney has been rounding into form over the last few games and had her best game of the season last time out against Hoosick Falls, where she scored 19 points.

Bridey Nolan's ability to stretch the defense with her jump shot, Grace Snyder's slashing ability, and Hailey Herrington and Victoria Dupuis' defensive energy, all figure to play major roles Saturday.

Tip off is set for 4:15 at HVCC.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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