Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball junior guard Kelsey Mattice had a good feeling going into the fourth quarter against Corcoran.Although the Northstars trailed the Cougars by eight points, Mattice knew her team would make a comeback.
Mattice's instincts were on the mark, as the state Class AA no. 18-ranked Northstars rallied past the no. 2-ranked Cougars, 49-43, in the highly-anticipated showdown of CNY Counties League division leaders Friday night at Corcoran.
Mattice scored nine of her 15 points in the fourth quarter to key CNS's come-from-behind win. The Northstars extended their win streak to 10 games while Corcoran suffered its first loss of the season.
"I knew we would come back," Mattice said. "We had a great halftime speech that definitely helped."
The Northstars trailed the Cougars, 27-17, at the half. CNS played the last 3:45 of the first half without all-star center Breanna Stewart, who went to the bench after picking up her third foul.
But Mattice said CNS head coach Eric Smith told his players in the locker room at halftime to continue to play their game.
"He said pick up your D and play our game, not theirs," Mattice said. "We have to play fast-paced and get down the court."
With Mattice and Stewart leading the way, the Northstars bridged a 13-4 run from the end of the third quarter to the six-minute mark of the fourth. Mattice and Stewart combined for eight points during the key run.
"Coach wanted us to fast break, get it down the court to Bree, have her finish and get the fouls if we can," Mattice said.
As CNS gained momentum, Corcoran's offense went cold. The Cougars were scoreless for a pivotal three-minute stretch and managed only one basket from the floor in the final 4:37.
Corcoran attempted to withstand the CNS rally. But Mattice scored on a drive to make it a one-point game, 41-40, with 4:20 left, and Stewart swished two free throws at 3:32 to give the Northstars their first lead, 42-41, since the opening minute.