Post play propels Cambridge past Spa Catholic
Playing a team so much allows an opponent to study their tendencies and know how to attack their weaknesses.
That was the reality that the No. 16 seed Cambridge boys basketball team and No. 17 Spa Catholic faced Friday night for their Class C sectional play-in game.
In their fourth matchup of the season, it was the Indians that got the best of their Wasaren League foe, besting the Saints 51-44 to advance to the next round of sectionals.
With the win, Cambridge advances to play No. 1 seed Lake George Tuesday night.
The last time the Indians and Saints played each other, Cambridge coach Tim Ogilvie felt his squad didn't establish their post game well enough, so he made sure they did that Friday night.
The Indians consciously worked the ball into forwards Nick Murphy and Jeffrey Burke and it paid off in a big way.
Murphy led the team with 16 points, while Burke had 13.
The pair stepped up in a big way throughout the second half, where Cambridge tried to hang on to a slim lead.
"[Spa Catholic] is a quality team and we felt that the three previous games we played against them we didn't do as good of a job getting the ball into the post," Ogilvie said. "If we got something from block to block and post to post with [Jeffrey Burke] and [Nick Murphy], that might open up something for our guards off the dribble."
Cambridge jumped out to a hot start and led 18-13 after one quarter and then extended the lead by a point before halftime.
A strong third quarter from Spa Catholic reduced the Indians' lead to two heading into the fourth, and at one point, the Saints tied the game in the fourth, before Cambridge finished the job with a strong late effort.
One of the key reasons Spa Catholic hung around in the game was the play of junior guard Jordan Catone. Catone hit five three-point shots and was constantly there when the Saints needed a crucial basket. No other Saints player had more than one field goal around Catone.
Cambridge guard Brian Hall had the responsibility of covering Catone, and even though Catone got his points, Ogilvie thought Hall did a nice job on him.
"We knew that if we could keep [Jordan] Catone in check and not let him go wild and get good looks, we would be in good shape," Ogilvie said. "He's a good shooter and he creates some things off the dribble for his teammates. Brian did a job on him defensively tonight. One thing we talked about was no help responsibility for whoever was covering Catone and I think that was key."
Catone finished with a game-high 21 points for the Saints.
With Friday's win, the Indians have the tall task of upsetting the undefeated Lake George squad. The defending Class C champions cruised to a victory the last time the team's met and Cambridge knows it will need to play nearly perfect to have a chance.
"We know what we're going to face. We've been up there in January and they're just solid from top to bottom," Ogilvie said. "Their big (Chris Becker) is tough to handle. Man-to-man, we don't think we match up well, as most teams haven't against them, so we have to work on some things before Tuesday night. We know the task, but we're up for the challenge."
Cambridge improves to 7-14 with the win and Tuesday's tip is set for 7 p.m. in Lake George.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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