Another member of Section II’s outstanding junior class of girls basketball players has made her collegiate commitment.
Sophie Phillips, who, with her twin sister Lilly, guided Cambridge to three straight area Class C championships, announced Sunday that the University of Rhode Island will be her future destination to study and play ball.
Lilly Phillips announced her decision last week to pursue those things at the University at Albany.
“The two are very happy with their decisions,” said Bob Phillips, the twins’ dad and head coach at Cambridge. “As close as they are, they have their own identity, and that came out in the process.”
Sophie Phillips contacted first-year Rhode Island head coach Tammi Reiss Friday with her verbal commitment, and tweeted out the news of her decision Sunday.
“Very excited to announce my commitment to the University of Rhode Island! Go Rams! Thank you @TReiss32 @Coachshoniker and the rest of the @RhodyWBB staff for this opportunity,” the 5-foot-11 point guard tweeted.
“It was tough, but I think the decision I made was the best one,” Sophie Phillips said. “I like the campus, and the area is busy, but not too busy, which is what I’m comfortable with. I was also attracted to the knowledge coach Reiss and the assistants have for the game. I know I will benefit from that.”
Sophie Phillips will eventually be joining Saratoga Springs senior guard and fellow Daily Gazette All-Area first-team selection Dolly Cairns at Rhode Island of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Rhode Island has also expressed interest in Mekeel Christian Academy eighth-grade standout Avery Mills.
“Sophie is excited to play with Dolly,” Bob Phillips said.
“I’ve played against her a couple of times, but I’ve never gotten to know her personally,” Sophie Phillips said of the Blue Streaks career scoring leader. “I am looking forward to that.”
Along with Lilly Phillips’ UAlbany decision, juniors Olivia Olsen of Niskayuna and Meghan Huerter of Shenendehowa committed to Providence last week, and 11th-grader Valencia Fontenelle-Posson of Guilderland committed to Siena last week.
“Lilly had six or seven DIs [that offered], and Sophie had eight, nine, 10, somewhere in there,” Bob Phillips said. “It’s a feather in their cap. They’ve worked at it and allowed themselves to be coached. That goes all the way back to little league and youth soccer.”
Basketball is the sport in which the twins have made their greatest impact, and will continue to do so one more time at the high school level before going their separate ways at the collegiate level.
“The two talked about college a lot, and they were fine to go together or go apart,” Bob Phillips said. “It was what was best for them.”
Cambridge won regional titles with the twins in 2018 and 2019, and the 2019 team captured the Class C state championship when Sophie Phillips was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Cambridge was considered the favorite to win another state crown this past season before it was cut short in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We wanted to repeat. That was our main goal and we didn’t get that chance,” Sophie Phillips said. “It will definitely be on our radar.”
Sophie Phillips averaged 17.2 points (which included a school-record 73 3-pointers), 5.2 steals, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a junior for the 22-1 Indians. She scored 21 points in Cambridge’s final game when it beat Maple Hill 68-44 in the Section II Class C title game. She pushed her career points total to 1,327 with that effort and secured her third straight Section II tournament MVP award.
Sophie Phillips was later named the state Class C Player of the year by the New York State Sportswriters Association after making the all-state first team as a sophomore and the all-state second team as a freshman. The 17-year-old has twice been named the Wasaren League MVP.
As an eighth-grader, she was the national Elks Hoop Shoot champion in the age 12-13 division.
“She lost two years in a row at the state level before she won that,” Bob Phillips said. “That shows her desire. She has a drive.”