Cambridge girls advance to regional finals
Thursday night during Cambridge's Class C regional semifinal game against Seton Catholic of Plattsburgh, it didn't take long for the Indians to impart its will.
The Indians dominated from the jump to blow out the Knights 75-50 at Saratoga Springs High School.
With the win, Cambridge moves on to the regional finals against Madrid-Waddington Saturday afternoon at SUNY Canton.
The Indians wasted little time taking control of the game and held a 17-point advantage after one quarter. Cambridge was locked in both ends of the floor. The Indians knocked down shot after shot and used a punishing press defense early to force Seton Catholic into costly turnovers.
Cambridge coach Tony Bochette recognized how important it was to get out to that hot start.
"We wanted to make sure we came out and dictated the tempo," Bochette said. "I thought that if we controlled the boards and were able to push the ball early, we could kind of dictate the way the game went the rest of the way. The girls did a great job coming out ready to go and prepared."
By halftime, the Indians lead ballooned to 26 and that was just too much for the Knights to overcome Thursday night.
The talented freshmen class for Cambridge has been lauded throughout the season for their composure and calm demeanor on the court. The trio of Sophie Phillips, Lilly Phillips and Fiona Mooney have consistently been the backbone of the Indians attack and they were a huge part in Thursday's win.
At halftime, the group had combined for 31 of Cambridge's 44 points.
The freshman would go on to be the Indians three top scorers on the night. Sophie Phillips led the way with 17 points, while both Fiona Mooney and Lilly Phillips chipped in 15 points in the effort.
"They're so basketball smart and they're so calm under pressure," said senior Helen Mooney, who is Fiona's older sister. "They're a huge part of our team and they're just really fun to play with."
Having never been this far in the playoffs, it could be expected that players with their youth could be a disadvantage, but this trio continues to prove they aren't just any ordinary freshmen.
"They're unflappable. You don't know what they're feeling any time," Bochette said. "They're wise beyond their years in basketball-terms. I think they kind of control the tempo and held us do what we do."
Helen Mooney had a strong game with eight points for Cambridge, while Victoria Dupuis and Bridey Nolan added seven and six points respectively.
A big focus for the Indians coming into Thursday's contest was stopping Seton Catholic center Gretchen Zalis. Zalis, a senior, is a 1,000-point scorer and is a force on the boards with her size. Zalis was held in check with just four points in the first half, but had a strong second half to finish with a game-high 21 points.
With Thursday's game now over, Cambridge sets its sights on Section X champions, the Yellowjackets, in the regional finals with a spot in the state semifinals on the line.
The Indians are aware of the talent they'll face moving forward and are ready for the challenge come Saturday.
"I've seen a couple films on the other teams that are left and we've got some competition coming up," Bochette said. "This is a state tournament for a reason."
Tip off is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at SUNY Canton.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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