Dominant defensive effort propels Indians

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CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. — Good offense starts with strong defense.

It's a credo found throughout all sports and it's an ideal the Cambridge girls basketball team uses on a daily basis.

The No. 1 seed Indians used a dominant defensive effort to propel themselves to a 56-23 win against No. 16 seed Cairo-Durham in the first round of the sectional tournament.

From the jump in the Class C matchup, Cambridge was overwhelming the Mustangs on the defensive end. Whenever Cairo-Durham had the ball, the Indians were right on them and the effort caused turnover after turnover for Cambridge.

Coming off of a tough loss to Tamarac in the Wasaren League Championship game, the Indians wanted to bounce back by having a dominant effort on the defensive end of the floor.

"We always try to predicate ourselves on playing good hard defense," said Cambridge coach Tony Bochette, who was wearing an all-orange suit for the occasion. "Creating turnovers and creating chaos, creates easy hoops on the other end. The easiest offense is getting fast-break lay ups all the time. When you're not sure who you're going to play until a couple of days before, defense is the easiest thing to work on, so that's what we did."

The Indians stout defense effort was on display throughout the night. The Mustangs didn't reach a double-figure scoring output in any quarter Tuesday night.

Cambridge used its defense to propel it to a hot start on the offensive end as well. The Indians got out to a 16-6 lead after one quarter.

According to Bochette, it was important for his team to get out hot early, especially coming off their first loss.

"When the last game you come off is a loss, you want to make sure you start off the right way," Bochette said. "You want to set the tone for the second season and that's what we emphasize. It's a whole new ballgame. It's a whole new year, so come out ready to go."

Cambridge held an 18-point lead at halftime, but really put away Cairo-Durham in the third when they outscored the Mustangs 20-8 to get the lead to 30 points.

The Indians were able to get some rest for their starters in the second half of the fourth and solid playing time for some of their bench players and the two junior varsity call-ups for sectionals, Ruth Nolan and Abigail Maher.

All but three of Cambridge's players got in on the scoring act, which only emphasized more for Bochette how unselfish his team is.

"When you can get balance on your scoring and everyone in the scoring calendar, it's a testament to how we move the ball on offense and our leaders and your teamwork. We kind of like having assists and we pride ourselves on assists. We kind of look at it like the old Golden State team, where we're hoping every hoop comes off an assist."

The Phillips twins led the way offensively for the Indians, with both being the offensive catalyst in a respective half.

Sophie Phillips was the main offensive threat in the first half, as she notched 12 of her points then. Sophie Phillips finished with a game-high 16 points. Lilly Phillips took over in the third quarter. She scored 11 points in that frame and ended the day with 15 points. The Mooney sisters, Helen and Fiona, both scored six points, while Victoria Dupuis and Bridey Nolan both chipped in five.

Cambridge moves on to the sectional quarterfinals, where they will take on Maple Hill on Friday at home.

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


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