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Cortlandt Eighth-Graders Cap Off Second Straight Undefeated Season

The Cortlandt eighth-grade girls travel basketball team after defeating New Rochelle for the A Division Tri-County Basketball League title.
The Cortlandt eighth-grade girls travel basketball team after defeating New Rochelle for the A Division Tri-County Basketball League title. Photo Credit: Contributed

CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- The Cortlandt eighth-grade girls travel basketball team wrapped up its second consecutive undefeated season and defended their A Division Tri-County Basketball League title by defeating New Rochelle in the championship game at Horace Greeley High School.

During its impressive two-year run, the team was 32-0 and beat the top travel teams from Westchester, Putnam and Fairfield counties, according to a release.

After receiving a first round bye, Cortlandt beat Bronxville 47-30 in the semifinals to set up a rematch of last year’s championship with New Rochelle, who came into this year’s game with only one loss, the release said.

The game started out very close and New Rochelle led 8-7 after the first period. In the second hot three-point shooting from Kristen Cinquina and Cailean Nolan and stifling defense helped Cortlandt open a 27-13 halftime lead.

New Rochelle cut the lead to single digits early in the third period but a drive by Anna Eng followed by a three-pointer from Sofia Tuman closed the door on the Junior Huguenots’ comeback. Kira Varada, Jalia Williams and Claire Popolizio controlled the boards against the bigger New Rochelle team and their interior defense was a key to the victory.

Cortlandt cruised in the fourth period and came away with a 53-29 victory. Nolan led Cortlandt with 21 points, Cinquina had 14 and Tuman added 10. Williams with 4 and Eng and Varada with 2 points rounded out the scoring.

Madison Archer and Natalia Rodriquez who were valuable contributors during Cortlandt’s two-year run and were unable to play in the finals rounded out the roster.

The team was coached by Anthony Cinquina with Jim Tuman as assistant coach.

"We were blessed with players that are motivated," said Tuman. "The girls are all very athletic and very competitive. And they are naturally gifted, and they don't like to lose. So it didn't take much motivating on the coaching part."

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