The Cortland High girls’ basketball team roared out to a 21-7 lead after one quarter and never looked back in scoring a 65-36 non-league win over Groton in both teams’ season opener in Shafer Gym.
Tsai Lewis led the Purple Tigers with 20 points to go along with eight rebounds and two steals. Ashley Shortsleeve scored 12 points on four 3-pointers while Lyndsie Babcock scored eight points with 10 rebounds and two blocks and Gabriella Fowler had six rebounds and three assists.
Jaelynne Harriott scored 10 points to lead the Indians.
Cortland led 38-19 at halftime and 54-29 after three quarters.
“We talked all week about how we could be dynamic offensively if we pushed the tempo and we did just that,” CHS coach Nolan Sinclair said. “Tsai Lewis had nine first quarter points as she attacked the rim, forcing Groton back on their heels defensively. I was very proud of our first-quarter tempo and effort. Groton works very hard defensively. The girls did a great job of answering the tough Groton press with a calmness about our offensive play. Even though we played quickly, they did an excellent job of taking care of the ball.
“Throughout the game, each girl played their part very well. The starters got us out to an early lead and each girl off the bench came right in and didn’t skip a beat. Tsai led us but we also had Lyndsie and Ashely Shortsleeve help our scoring production. We brought up three girls from JV this offseason — Marissa Gilmore, Gabby Fowler, and Paige Ludwig — and they all did exceptionally well for their first varsity action. We had 10 different girls score for us tonight with us, a first for me as the Cortland coach.
“We talked a lot about improving our confidence when we have the ball,” Sinclair concluded. “We have always been a tough defensive team, but tonight showed that we can score the basketball as well. I couldn’t be more proud of the girls’ effort.”
Cortland hosts Watertown Saturday at 6 p.m. in another non-league game while Groton is off until Dec. 11, when Union Springs visits for a 7 p.m. IAC contest.
The Cortland JVs also won convincingly, 60-20, as Sadie Urtz led the way with 14 points while Kirsten Merritt had 13 points and seven steals and Margaret Starr had 11 points and six rebounds. Jordyn Banfield had seven points for Groton, all in the third quarter.
“We played a sold game of basketball tonight,” Purple Tigers coach Janice Meyer said. “Every single person contributed on the floor tonight and our hard work paid off.”
The Cortland JVs host Watertown Saturday at 4 p.m. while Groton’s JV’s meet visiting Union Springs Dec. 11 in a 5:30 p.m. start.