SARATOGA SPRINGS — Cambridge’s youth movement reached full fruition Thursday night.
The Indians’ trio of freshmen nearly matched Seton Catholic, as they combined for 47 points in Cambridge’s 75-50 girls basketball Class C regional semifinal victory at Saratoga Springs High School.
“We all came out very confident, knowing what we had to do — control the game and come out strong,” said Sophie Phillips, who scored a team-high 17 points.
Lilly Phillips and Fiona Mooney added 15 points apiece to lead the Indians into the regional final — one win away from the state final four.
Cambridge (24-1) advances to play Section X champion Madrid-Waddington, set for Saturday at 1 p.m. at SUNY Canton.
The three freshmen combined for 31 first-half points as they raced out to a 44-18 halftime lead over Seton Catholic.
“It’s great to have them — they’re so basketball smart, they’re so calm under pressure,” senior Helen Mooney said. “They’re a huge part of our team and they’re really fun to play with.”
“We played really good, but it was our teammates that really fed us the ball and gave us those looks for open shots, lanes to the hoop,” Sophie Phillips said.
Leading 12-6 midway through the first quarter, Cambridge blitzed the Knights 14-2 over the next four minutes. Only a buzzer-beating 3-pointer prevented Seton Catholic from being down 28-8 at the end of the period.
“The past few games we’ve been talking about not letting other teams dictate our tempo,” Indians coach Tony Bochette said. “We wanted to make sure we came out and dictated the tempo today, and I thought that if we controlled the boards and we were able to push the ball early, we can dictate how the game went the rest of the way.”
By halftime, the Indians had made 19 of 35 shots from the floor, with seven players scoring, while forcing 18 turnovers.
“We’ve got so much balance that it’s great to see them all being successful,” Bochette said. “They all work so hard at the game, they’ve played a lot of basketball, and it shows.
“One of the stats that stuck out at me when I looked, in the first half, we had 19 field goals — we assisted on 10 of them,” he added. “That just tells you we’re playing good team basketball.”
Cambridge led by as many as 31 points in the second half.
Gretchen Zalis scored a game-high 21 points for Seton Catholic (14-6).
“I remember only four years ago we were water girls for when my sisters were on varsity,” Fiona Mooney said, “and now we’re here and it’s really amazing.”