CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. — After weeks of back and forth — will they or won’t they be able to play? — the Cambridge girls basketball team has received the green light to begin its season, one that will start Tuesday against Duanesburg.
It took a while to get here. On Jan 22, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the OK to allow high-risk sports, contingent on the county health department approval. It took a little while and added a 4 percent positivity rate threshold, but eventually Washington County schools got the go-ahead for games and competitions to begin.
“We’ve had open gyms for three days a week since November [doing skills and drills],” said Cambridge coach Bob Phillips. “We’ve taken a week or two off here and there, but it’s great to get back in and the kids are so excited this week, starting fully.”
With the start of the season on Tuesday and the end date of March 13 — with no sectional or state playoffs — there’s a mad dash to get in as many games as they can. Right now, there are nine games between now and the 13th.
“It’s just to play as many as we can and it gives the kids nine or 10 more chances to get out there,” Phillips said.
Last year, Cambridge got to 22-1, topping Maple Hill in the Class C championship before the season was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Basically the goal is to continue to get better, to compete and have fun and to be together as a team, and have some closure, especially for the senior group that missed out in the last year,” Phillips said.
Two of those seniors are Phillips’ daughters, Sophie and Lilly. Each has already reached the 1,000-point career milestone and each has already signed to play basketball at the Division I level — Sophie at the University of Rhode Island and Lilly at the University of Albany.
“I think for them being able to just concentrate on basketball, just on their studies and not worrying about the [college decision], and that’s something that will come eventually,” Bob Phillips said.
The twins combined to average more than 30 points per game last season.
But they aren’t the only players coming back. Ruth Nolan, who signed this week to play at Clarkson returns, as does Stasia Epler, who has turned some heads in the AAU circuit. McKayla McLenithan is also a senior and continues to make her mark in the post.
There are some new faces. Jaylyn Prouty came off the bench some last season and is expected to play significant minutes. Madison Price is a senior back for a second season of varsity basketball and Chelle Daniels is a junior coming up from two years on the JV.
A completely new face comes from Arlington in sophomore Schuylar Nolan. While with the Eagles last season, Nolan was the leading scorer, averaging more than 12 points a contest.
But to the team, Nolan is not new.
“When they were younger, they all use to play with the Mack Attack [AAU team],” Phillips said. “She’s fit in well here. She’s such a good kid, both academically and athletically. She’s going to be so much help to us, not only this year but in the future, because she’s only a sophomore.”
With every school and county doing their own thing, the schedule this year will be much different than in the past. The Indians will face Hartford, Duanesburg and even Hudson Falls as compared to the usual Wasaren League slate.
In many of those cases, Phillips said he has a connection to the coaches that helped in securing those games.
Roster: Sophie Phillips, Lilly Phillips, Ruth Nolan, Stasia Epler, Chelle Daniels, Jaylyn Prouty, Schuylar Nolan, Madison Price, McKayla McLenithan