Cambridge falls to Tamarac in league championship
Coming in undefeated, there was no reason to believe that holding a 17-point lead after eight minutes, Cambridge couldn't do the same Sunday night.
The Bengals refused to quit though and they used fast-break offense and stifling defense to get back in the game and take the lead.
Tamarac rode that momentum to the final buzzer and spoiled the Indians undefeated season with a 61-51 win.
The win for the Bengals moves their record to 18-2 on the season, while the Indians sit at 19-1 heading into sectionals.
Tamarac was led by do-it-all guard Emily Erickson, who used her quickness in transition to her advantage. The junior went for a game-high 29 points, with 19 of those coming in the second half.
"It made us have to play more perfect," said Cambridge coach Tony Bochette on the difference Erickson made. "They were getting easy shots."
Renna Poulin scored 11 points for the Bengals, while Sophia DiCarlo and Kayla Doody added 10 and nine respectively.
Lilly Phillips led the Indians with 20 points, while here sister Sophie Phillips chipped in 16 points. Helen Mooney added nine, while Grace Snyder had six.
Those four were the only Cambridge players to score points Sunday.
Eleven of Lilly's points came in the first, while Sophie had nine in that quarter.
After scoring 27 in the first quarter, Cambridge scored just 24 the rest of the way.
"Early on we were getting easy shots," Bochette said. "They clamped down on defense and kept us from getting easy shots and that was the difference."
The half-court offense the Indians employed just couldn't get much going against a stout Bengals defense and that made the difference in the game. Tamarac forced more than 20 opposing turnovers in the game.
The aggressiveness of the Tamarac offense cost Cambridge on the other end.
"We did some things that we need to work on, but I think if we put that behind us, we'll be okay," senior Helen Mooney said. "Sometimes it looked like we didn't step up."
Something Cambridge can hang its hat on is that it did a nice job getting to the foul line. The Indians shot 18-for-21 from the charity stripe.
The last time the two team's met it was a last-second shot that put the Indians over the hump, so Bochette knew his squad was in for a fight Sunday.
"We played a good team today," Bochette said. "Tamarac is not an easy game. They played really well. They made shots and we missed."
Losing their first game in the league championship definitely stings for Cambridge, but they're looking forward to what's ahead come playoff time.
"This is a long grind to go 20 games without losing a game," Bochette said. "I'm really proud of these girls. They've worked their heads off every day."
The Indians know that the pressure will only ramp up from here and they're ready for that.
"Now is better than the next game. The next one is one-and-done," Bochette said.
Cambridge and Tamarac now await their sectional seeding, which is released this week.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner.
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