AUBURN — The Cortland High girls’ varsity basketball team has only played nine games this season, but the Purple Tigers have already secured a post-season tournament spot.
Cortland overcame a very slow start and won a low-scoring 37-21 SCAC Empire Division clash at Auburn Monday. The Purple Tigers qualified for the Section 3 Class A Tournament by improving to 8-1 overall and they are 2-1 in the division. The Maroons fall to 1-7 overall, 1-2 in the division.
Auburn led 6-3 after the first quarter, but the Maroons were scoreless in the second quarter as Cortland took an 11-6 halftime lead. The Purple Tigers opened a little distance in the third quarter to lead 21-12 before securing the win in the fourth quarter.
“We are excited to have qualified for sectionals tonight,” Cortland coach Nolan Sinclair said. “That was our first goal of the season. Now it’s back to work to continue to try and improve our sectional seed.
“We struggled early to score but the girls defended their hearts out. Auburn did a great job of taking away our high post entry. They also packed in their zone and we found it difficult to make many jump shots. We had a better second quarter offensively but we continued our strong defensive play. We found a rhythm in the third quarter as our offense picked up. We got out and transitioned off turnovers early in the third quarter which led to a bit more confidence on the offensive end of the floor. Our offense looked much better in the second half. We ran our sets more efficiently and made some jumpers.”
Shyanne Lewis would lead the Cortland attack with 14 points and she had four steals. Lyndsie Babcock added 12 points, four rebounds and two blocked shots. Paige Ludwig and Kaitlyn Pratt each had a team high six rebounds.
Cortland will continue SCAC Empire Division play Friday. The Purple Tigers will host Central Square for a 6:45 p.m. contest. The JVs tip off at 5 p.m.
Cortland JV girls started slowly but picked it up in the middle quarters to roll to a 52-40 win over Auburn. The Junior Tigers improve to 7-2 overall with the win.
Cortland led 9-8 after the first quarter but pushed its advantage to 26-14 by halftime. Each team scored 26 points in the second half as the Junior Tigers kept its double digit cushion.
Mallory Turner powered Cortland with 21 points. Kendall Mack chipped in with a 20 point effort.
“Offensively Kendall and Mallory took control today,” Cortland coach Janice Meyer said. “Defensively we weren’t where we have been the last few games but everybody got some good time today and, hopefully, took some things out of it that will roll over to some of the tougher games down the line.”
Ahndria Wilson paced Auburn with 12 points with McKenna Wilmot adding nine points.