By Ryan Hayner
Special to the News
TROY — Cambridge won the opening tip, banked in a 3-pointer and reeled off eight straight points before a minute was off the clock.
The Indians couldn’t miss, and unfortunately for Maple Grove, that didn’t change much the rest of the way.
Behind sophomore sensations Lilly and Sophie Phillips, Cambridge scored 28 first-quarter points, built a 22-point halftime lead and cruised to a 75-43 win in the NYSPHSAA Class C girls basketball semifinals Friday at Hudson Valley Community College.
The Indians (24-1) will play Section IV’s Watkins Glen 7 p.m. Saturday in the championship game.
Maple Grove (21-4) was playing in its first state semifinal game after taking down Oakfield-Alabama in last weekend’s regional final. The Red Dragons overcame the loss of junior Riley Caskey, last year’s leading scorer who suffered an injury in the first exhibition game, and coach Bill Price said his team had no reason to be ashamed.
“It’s going to hurt for a while, but a few weeks later they’re going to be fine,” Price said. “It means everything to get here.”
Lilly Phillips scored a game-high 22 and had 10 rebounds for Section II’s Cambridge while twin sister Sophie Phillips tallied 21 points. As if those two weren’t enough for Maple Grove, the Indians' lineup was bolstered by the return of Fiona Mooney, another sophomore standout, who had been out since early February with an injury.
Mooney was a tough inside presence inside, adding 17 points and 11 rebounds.
“Pick your poison – we just couldn’t stop everything,” Price said.
Bre Hill scored a team-high 10 points for the Red Dragons while Sam Snow and Marissa Schuppenhauer chipped in with eight points apiece. Courtney Hemminger added seven points and five rebounds.
Price lauded Schuppenhauer and Hemminger, senior co-captains, for leading by example.
“We’re going to miss them – they’re good kids, they’re likable kids, and you root for those type of kids,” Price said.
Schuppenhauer’s 3-pointer midway through the third quarter pulled Maple Grove within 16, but Cambridge reeled off 15 straight points to take a commanding 66-34 lead heading into the fourth.
“That run they made was just the nail in the coffin,” Price said.
First-year Cambridge coach Bob Phillips, father of Lilly and Sophie, complimented the Maple Grove coach, players and fans for being class acts.
“It sounds like [Price] has a group like I have, and they are kids who love basketball — they work hard, they play hard, and I think you have to give credit to him and his program,” Phillips said. “They’re a good team.”
Maple Grove will lose its two senior captains – the only seniors on the squad – but will return three of Friday’s starters – Hill, Snow and Anna Tranum – along with Caskey.
“I told them – I said, ‘You tasted it, and you can get back here,’ so that’s the goal for next year,” Price said.