CBA girls run over Phoenix

For any high school girls basketball team, 94 points is an astonishing number, and even good squads would have to work hard to gain that number -- over a span of two games.

Yet for Christian Brothers Academy, that was just one night's work, a devastating display in last Tuesday night's opener against Phoenix that went from a highly anticipated opening-night showdown of powers to a 94-40 romp.

Apparently, winning the 2006 Section III Class A title and coming within one victory of the state final four in Troy only made head coach John Niland's players hungry for even more success.

Those high expectations are justified. Four starters are back, and the newcomers, some of them freshmen, have already shown themselves to be big contributors.

Phoenix, 19-4 a season ago, had the same kind of enthusiasm about this winter -- until two star players went down with injuries. Julia Tupper broke her ankle playing soccer, and senior center Lindsay Harris banged up her knee.

Down to eight players, Phoenix came to CBA -- and ran into a tornado.

The Brothers went on a 19-2 run to close the first quarter. At one point in a first half that ended 55-15, CBA had reeled off 20 unanswered points, and the team was red-hot from the perimeter, putting up 11 3-point field goals against the Firebirds' zone defense.

Sarah Paulus set the early pace, getting 10 of her 14 points in the opening period. Amanda Billy began her senior season with 16 points, close to her 19.4 points-per-game average from a season ago. Returning starters Meredith Mosley and Jamie Carrick provided their usual amount of strong all-around play.

Kayla Stroman, finally a starter in her sophomore season, played stifling defense, twice made clean steals that lead to easy lay-ups on the other end, and finished with 13 points. Titi Jimenez put up 10 points in late-game duty, while Christina West earned seven points.

But it was CBA's pair of freshmen newcomers that really dazzled. Guard Leanne Ockenden came off the bench to score a team-high 17 points, hitting five 3-pointers along the way, while forward Nikki Works had seven points and dominated on the boards when she was on the court.

With all this talent and skill, the Brothers have the power to overwhelm foes, as it did to Phoenix -- and will hope to do again Tuesday when it visited Chittenango.

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