POPLAR RIDGE — Southern Cayuga moved the ball around and converted on its open looks.

Fourteen of the Chiefs' 18 first-half field goals had assists and the team amassed 44 points by halftime, as the Southern Cayuga girls basketball team topped Union Springs 54-33 at Southern Cayuga High School Tuesday.

"We were making the extra pass. We were finding it, catching it and then scoring off of it," Chiefs coach Ed Heslop said. "It doesn't always happen that way, but today it did. We found the open girls and we shot well ... and the girls that didn't have the ball made the cuts to be in the spot to catch the pass.

"Sometimes it all comes together."

Eight of the nine Southern Cayuga players found the scoresheet in the first half.

Lauren Sherman scored a game-high 16 points and added five assists, three rebounds and three steals. Brooke Walter chipped in 10 points and two boards, while Catie Kopp recorded nine points, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals.

Sophia Bennett registered eight points, three assists and a team-high 14 rebounds for the Chiefs.

"Sophia Bennett really had a good first half," Heslop said. "She had four or five assists and a bunch of big rebounds and made a couple shots. It's nice to see her starting to kick in."

Union Springs' Renee Park scored 16 points, while Danielle Waldron had nine points.

The Chiefs got off to a fast start right from the opening tip-off. Southern Cayuga scored the first five points and the last 11 points of the first quarter, and held a 25-7 lead at the end of the first eight minutes.

The Chiefs continued to push the pace in the second quarter, and outscored the Wolves 19-10 in the second quarter for a 44-17 lead at halftime.

For Heslop, the fast start all came down to Southern Cayuga being able to successfully execute its offense.

"What we're trying to do is distribute the ball, get spacing and the right cuts, and get the ball to the open girl," Heslop said. "We have a lot of girls that can score when they're open. When that happens and we make that extra pass to get them open, it says we're running our offense the way we want."

Union Springs cut into Southern Cayuga's commanding lead by outscoring the Chiefs 12-7 in the third quarter, but the Chiefs maintained their advantage on the scoreboard throughout the second half and cruised to victory.

"The first half was good and that's the way we want to play," Heslop said. "The second half we kind of let down a little bit, and we can do that against teams where we have to play 32 minutes. Good first half and we have to keep that momentum going and get ourselves teed up for a sectional run."

Union Springs hosts Port Byron on Friday, while Southern Cayuga (12-4) travels to Groton on Saturday and welcomes Section V's Waterloo Monday.

"Over the years I always try to find an extra Section III and Section V team that we normally don't see. It gives us a different perspective," Heslop said. "This year we called up Waterloo and they said yes."

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Sports writer Jeremy Houghtaling can be reached at 315-282-2256 or at jeremy.houghtaling@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenHough.