For two teams that have put up some good scoring numbers this season, it was the defenses that dictated the latest clash between the Cortland High and Homer Central girls’ varsity basketball teams during their Coaches versus Cancer match-up Friday night.
Both teams had a week off before meeting in Shafer Gymnasium and it was a fourth-quarter comeback that gave the host Purple Tigers their ninth straight win. Cortland posted a 33-30 non-league victory over the pesky Trojans. Cortland is now 12-1 overall while Homer slips to 5-9.
Points were at a premium with Cortland leading 6-3 after one quarter, but Homer grabbing a 13-12 advantage by halftime. The Trojans increased their lead to 22-18 through three quarters before the two teams combined for 23 points in the final quarter. The Purple Tigers found a way to put the ball in the basket and scored 15 points while the Trojans continued to struggle shooting with just eight points. That difference allowed Cortland to emerge with the 33-30 win.
“We did not play well tonight,” Homer coach C.J. Kudla said. “We fought hard, I cannot fault them for that, but we just did not play well. We made eight baskets in the game. Cortland had us dialed up and slowed us down, which is not the style we go at. Give them all the credit, they played well enough to win and we did not. Effort was there, but shooting and decision making was not. We will regroup and move on.”
The opportunities were there for Homer with 21 steals, but 8 for 53 shooting and 24 turnovers hampered the Trojans throughout the game.
Lyndsie Babcock scored six of her eight points in the fourth to share high scoring honors for Cortland with Kaitlyn Pratt. Pratt had 13 rebounds and three steals while Babcock pulled down nine rebounds. Shyanne Lewis had just five points for the Purple Tigers, but she pulled down 19 rebounds to go with five steals and two assists. Margaret Starr added 10 rebounds as Cortland had 56 rebounds total to 29 boards for Homer.
Annika Roos scored a game high 11 points for Homer. Gracie Patriarco added seven points, seven rebounds and six steals to the Trojans’ effort. Kaitlyn Sovocool grabbed a team high eight rebounds while Sarah Sovocool and Allison Thompson each recorded four steals.
Cortland and Homer will each face big tests when they return to league competition Tuesday. The Purple Tigers will travel to Jamesville-DeWitt for SCAC Empire Division action tipping off at 7 p.m. The JV game is slated for 5:30 p.m. Homer returns to OHSL Liberty Division play as the Trojans host Solvay at 6:30 p.m. with the JV game starting at 5 p.m.
Cortland JV girls took a 10 point lead in the first half and used that momentum for a 46- 40 victory over Homer. Cortland improves to 9-3 overall.
Kendall Mack led all scorers with 19 points for Cortland. Mallory Turner added nine points and Ryleigh Larkin netted seven points.
“We spread out the scoring a bit but I would like to more,” Cortland coach Janice Meyer said. “We have the tools and the players, but we have got to put it all together for four quarters. Turnover hurt us in securing this win early. Ball protection and being smart with the basketball. When we played our game we were on point. We panicked with their man to man coverage and we gave up 14 points in the fourth quarter to our nine. Crissy (Colasurdo) made adjustments in their game that we struggled to perform well against. She knows her team and figures out her opponents well. We got the win but we were exposed and need to make adjustments to win the league games we have coming up.”
Homer (5-8 overall) got 13 points from Kayla Miller and Isabelle Fitzpatrick added 11 points. Lee Anna Peck netted nine points, seven of those coming in the fourth quarter.
“Despite losing, the girls played with intensity for four quarters,” Colasurdo said. “We fell behind early on in the game and worked hard to close the gap. At the start of the game, we spoke about how our defense will keep us in it even when struggling offensively and we saw that tonight. The girls did a great job working together to get a defensive stop, but we weren’t always able to convert for points, which has been our nemesis all season. I was pleased with everyone who stepped on the floor tonight. We knew Cortland would be tough. They are well coached and Coach Meyer has done a great job with a young group.”