Freshmen lead Cambridge over Red Raiders
The Indians trio of freshman - Lilly Phillips, Sophie Phillips and Fiona Mooney - led their team to a major Wasaren League win on the road, topping Mechanicville 55-42 Saturday.
The win keeps Cambridge, ranked No. 2 in New York state in Class C, undefeated at 13-0 and they sweep the season series with the Red Raiders.
It took a little while for Cambridge to get going but once they did, it didn't take long for the Indians to seize control.
Sophie Phillips paced Cambridge's offensive attack in the first quarter, with eight of the team's nine points in that frame. She was held scoreless in the second half, opting more for a facilitating role, but the freshman notched 13 points on the day. Sophie Phillips leads Cambridge with 15.2 points per game and scored in double digits in all but three of its games.
Sophie, along with her sister Lilly, seemed to take control late in the first and carried it over the second as well.
With the matchup with Mechanicville being the Indians' third game in three days, Cambridge coach Tony Bochette knew they might have some tired legs, but was happy with how his leaders responded after the first few minutes.
"There was a timeout early in the game and I looked at the two of them and said 'Hey, we have got to go. We have to pick up the tempo,'" said Bochette of his message. "This is our third game in three days, so coming out sluggish didn't surprise me at all. When those girls get going, the whole team follows their lead. It was just a matter of getting going."
Lilly Phillips had a game-high 15 points. She was particularly strong driving to the basket and forcing contact around the hoop. She scored 11 of her 15 at the foul line, only missing one free throw throughout the game.
Up nine at the half, the Indians made sure to come out strong after the break to put the game out of reach. They began the third quarter on a 7-0 run and put the Red Raiders in a hole they couldn't climb out of.
"We emphasize the first three minutes out of halftime," Bochette said. "The last three minutes going in and the first three coming out. If you do well in those situations, more often then not that's going to set a good tone for you."
A major factor in Cambridge's third-quarter run was the play of Mooney on the block. The Indians made it a point of emphasis to get the ball into the post and Mooney took advantage, scoring 10 of her 12 points in that frame.
Mooney battled pneumonia early in the season, so having her back at full strength has been huge for Cambridge. She has come on strong as of late, averaging 13.3 points per game over the team's last six games, while providing solid defense on the other end.
"She's coming along well. It really took her a while to get back," Bochette said. "We're starting to see her ability at full strength, now that she's healthy."
Playing three games in three days is something you would expect to see in AAU, not a high school league, and can be challenging for any athlete. The Indians have taken the challenge in stride though, and coming out of the stretch with their unblemished record still intact is something they can hang their hat on.
"With the weather being the way it's been, you keep putting yourself in adverse situations," Bochette said. "These girls are used to playing a lot of basketball. Coach (Bob) Phillips and I kind of joked that we have an AAU schedule. Today showed me that they definitely can handle themselves in adverse situations."
Mechanicville had solid outings from Charli Goverski and Taylor Grayson, who scored 11 and 10 points respectively. The Red Raiders top scorer, Sammy Pasinella, was held in check throughout the contest. The senior guard had just one made field goal, scoring four points on the day.
Cambridge is back in action Tuesday on the road against Berne-Knox-Westerlo. That game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.