December 2, 2021

High School Girls’ Basketball: Purple Tigers capture first win topping Lions

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

Bailee Cotterill, of Dryden, lands on top of Tsai Lewis, of Cortland High, while diving for a loose ball Tuesday at Shafer Gym.

The Cortland High girls’ basketball team is in the ‘W’ column.

The Purple Tigers won for the first time in three games this season Tuesday night, scoring the last 10 points of the game to beat visiting Dryden 37-30 in a non-league game. Clinging to a 25-24 lead entering the fourth quarter, CHS outscored the Purple Lions 12-6 over those final eight minutes for the victory.

“The girls continued their solid play on the defensive end of the floor by allowing their third straight opponent to score no more than 40 points,” CHS coach Nolan Sinclair said. “Our goal each game is to keep our opponents under the 40-point mark, or less than 10 points a quarter. The girls are doing an excellent job of defending the basketball. They work very well together and they are really buying into our belief of defense can win games. We are a young team. Each girl continues to work and improve, which is great to see.

“We struggled offensively in our first two games of the season, but performed much better tonight. We still made some mistakes and missed some easy shots, but the girls never gave up,” he added. “Dryden is a team that is coached very well and their effort is outstanding. They made five 3-point shots, which is tough to overcome, but the girls continued to work. Dryden took a 30-27 lead with around three minutes remaining, but we didn’t let it effect us.”

Sophomore Tsai Lewis led Cortland with 15 points, complemented by freshman Lyndsie Babcock with eight. Junior Amy Gardner led Dryden, now 0-2 overall, with 14 points, including four 3-pointers.

The Purple Tigers led 9-8 after the first quarter and 18-16 at halftime.

“They took advantage of the fact that our leading rebounder, (senior) Veronica Cator-Syzmanski, was in foul trouble the entire night,” Purple Lions coach Ed Dow said. “We didn’t have an answer on the boards. We only had a total of 18 rebounds, and that isn’t going to help you win many games.

“The lack of rebounding also helped limited our offensive looks. We’d been averaging about 65 to 70 shot attempts a game, and only had 40.”

The winners pulled down 51 rebounds in the contest, led by seniors Paige Potter and Logan Chase with 16 and 10, respectively.

Sinclair praised the leadership of seniors Potter Chase and Margaret Reagan and cited Lewis and Babcock for their performances.

“Tsai attacked the basket very well,” he said “Her transition game was outstanding tonight as she attacked the rim . Tsai is our leading scorer and we spoke with her about being more aggressive in the open floor. When Tsai gets going she is very tough to stop.

“ Lyndsie seemed to be a different person than she was this weekend. It isn’t easy to start on varsity as a freshman, and she was a little hesitant in Oneonta, but not tonight. Lyndsie was attacking the basket offensively and rebounding the ball like a veteran.”

Both teams are back in action Friday night. Cortland visits Fulton and Dryden hosts Marathon, both games following 5:30 p.m. JV contests.