Newcomer Maple Grove next test for Indians
CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. — Including the Cambridge girls basketball team, there's a ton of pedigree in the Class C Final Four, which will commence today at 1:30 p.m. at Hudson Valley Community College.
On the other side of the bracket is 2017 Class C champion Watkins Glen from Section IV and defending Class C champion Millbrook from Section I, the team that beat Cambridge in the semifinal en route to the title.
The Indians have now been one of the last four teams standing for the past two seasons.
Also, those three teams are the top 3 in the latest New York state sportswriters rankings.
But the No. 4 ranked team is a newcomer — and the Indians' opponent today at 3:15 p.m.
Maple Grove, out of Section VI, had never gotten out of the Far West Regional, until a 44-38 win over Section V champion Oakfield-Alabama last weekend.
The name might be familiar to Cambridge football fans — they topped Maple Grove two years in a row to win the Class D football title. But this is a different sport and a different situation.
The Red Dragons start two seniors, a junior and a pair of freshmen. The seniors, Courtney Hemminger and Marisa Schuppenhauer, both average better than 10 points a game and they are a force all over the court with steals, assists and rebounds.
"In the films I've seen, Hemminger is a strong shooter and Schuppenhauer is a good slasher and shooter, able to get to the basket," said Cambridge first-year caoch Bob Phillips.
Junior Bre Hill is the top scorer for the Red Dragons, who come into the semifinal at 21-3 on the year. She averages 12.5 points per game and eight rebounds and is listed at 5-foot-10, the tallest player for Maple Grove.
Then, they have two freshmen in the starting lineup in Sam Snow, who averages more than eight points a game, and Anna Tranum, averaging about 6.3 points a game.
Tranum has started all season when Riley Caskey, who led the team in scoring last season, went down with an injury in the preseason.
A player who comes off the bench and puts in quality minutes is Madison Price.
"They get up and down the floor really well," Phillips said. "We have to take advantage of every possession and not give them second chances. They are good at rebounding and getting to the basket."
Defensively, the Indians only allow 37.6 points per game and that will be a main focus against the Red Dragons.
"With the bigger [college] court at HVCC, our press can give them problems," Phillips said. "Hopefully we can alter what they do, but even if we can wear them down as the game goes on and get them out of their rhythm... make them really work for baskets at the offensive end."
Phillips said they've kept track of deflections, even with plays that don't result in turnovers.
"We're active with our hands and arms and that helps us keep the ball alive on defense to get a turnover," Phillips said.
Offensively, Cambridge scores almost 61 points a game, led by twin sisters and sophomore Lilly and Sophie Phillips.
Sophie Phillips leads the team in scoring at 17 points a game, while Lilly Phillips is close behind at 15.6 points a game.
Fiona Mooney will return for the first time since breaking her wrist against Stillwater in the second-to-last game of the regular season. Mooney is a double-double threat every time out, but it will be interesting to see how she does after six weeks healing.
"We'll be adjusting to what we see and how we match up," Bob Phillips said.
The supporting casts will be important as well, with Stasia Epler averaging better than eight points a game and contributions from Ruth Nolan, Makayla McLenithan, Brecke Gifford, Rhiannon Darling, Jaylyn Prouty and Abby Maher will be key to a victory.
"It will come down to playmakers making plays when we need it and team defense, rebounding and shooting free throws," Phillips said.
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