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PC boys have off night and still win title

December 9, 2012
By Nate Foreman - , The Altoona Mirror

EBENSBURG - According to coach Jim Ronan, the Penn Cambria boys basketball team didn't have its best outing Saturday night.

Fortunately for the Panthers, they did enough to get the win.

Led by tournament MVP A.J. Leahey's 25 points, Penn Cambria fought off several late runs to knock off Conemaugh Township, 54-46, and claim its second consecutive Ron Davidson Roundball Classic championship at Central Cambria.

It was also Leahey's second straight MVP honor and his third tournament award in three years.

"It feels pretty good," Leahey said. "We didn't play as well as we would have liked to, but it's always great to get the 'W.' That's all that counts."

"We played, in my opinion, very poorly," Ronan said. "I don't think we did a lot of good things in today's game. We were slow and sluggish, and nobody was talking on the floor. The energy wasn't there."

Right out of the gate, Penn Cambria struggled offensively.

The Panthers (2-0) were 0-for-11 from the floor to open the game, but five free-throws kept them within four points of the Indians (1-1).

It wasn't until Leahey's bucket with 1:15 remaining in the first quarter that Penn Cambria had a shooting percentage.

The only other field goal of the period came as time expired - a Leahey 3-pointer.

And it gave the Panthers - who ended the game shooting 39 percent (18-of-46) - a 10-9 lead after one.

"There was a guy coming up on me," Leahey said of his buzzer-beater. "I had to take a dribble to get open. I didn't make my first three 3s, but I knew that one was going in."

Penn Cambria built a 16-point advantage in the third quarter, but Conemaugh Township didn't go away.

Jeremy Sotosky led the defending District 5 Class AA champs with six third-quarter points and seven fourth-quarter points to help get the Indians within five, but it wasn't enough. He finished with 17.

Jeff Fisher had 11 points for the Indians, and all-tournament selection Dillon Boyer was held to just two points after scoring 12 in Friday's first-round win over Central Cambria.

"Sometimes you get a bounce here or there and it propels you, and sometimes you don't get that," Conemaugh Township coach Chuck Lesko said. "You've got to fight through it. We fought, but we came up on the short end of the stick."

"That's definitely a great matchup for us because they're a lot like a Laurel Highlands team," Ronan said. "I was a little excited to play them because they are a championship-caliber team with a lot of experience. That just helps us out. Even though we didn't play well, it still makes us better. We found a way to get through it and win that game."

Nathan Keagy scored 11 points for the Panthers, while Mack Behe and Devin Lawhead each scored six.

Behe and Lawhead - who scored 18 and 13 points on the weekend, respectively - were named to the all-tournament team.

Leahey finished with 42 points in the two wins.

"It's always nice to see your players do well," Ronan said. "They work extremely hard to get these honors. It's gratifying. I'm happy for those guys and they deserve it."

"That's a quality basketball team Penn Cambria has, and they are well-coached," Lesko said. "A.J. is for real and his teammates do a really good job of complementing him. They play solid team basketball. We're just happy we gave them a battle."

In the consolation game Saturday night, all-tournament selection Tanner Ambrisco scored 32 points to help lead Central Cambria over Penns Manor, 71-43.

The 5-foot-11 junior finished the weekend with a tournament-leading 49 points.

Will Seymour scored 11 points, while Trevor Zearing added 10 off the bench for the Red Devils (1-1).

The Comets (0-2) were led by James Horwat's 15 points. Lucas Kowalski chipped in 13 and was named to the all-tournament team.



CENTRAL CAMBRIA (71): Bowman 3 0-0 6, Seymour 5 1-2 11, Holsinger 2 0-2 4, Hodgson 2 0-0 6, Ambrisco 14 2-3 32, Zearing 4 2-4 10, Leary 1 0-0 2. Totals 31 5-11 71.

PENNS MANOR (43): Horwat 3 6-6 15, Rizzo 1 0-0 2, Hamilton 1 0-0 2, Jewart 3 2-5 8, Kowalski 4 5-6 13, Henderson 0 1-2 1, Alter 1 0-0 2, Foreback 0 0-1 0. Totals 13 14-20 43.


Central Cambria20 21 11 19 - 71

Penns Manor10 9 7 17 - 43

3-point goals: Central Cambria 4 (Hodgson 2, Ambrisco 2), Penns Manor 3 (Horwat 3).

Records: Central Cambria (1-1), Penns Manor (0-2).



CONEMAUGH TOWNSHIP (46): Burns 4 1-2 9, Sotosky 7 1-1 17, Fisher 4 2-2 11, Boyer 1 0-0 2, Speigle 1 0-0 3, Callihan 1 2-2 4, Formica 0 0-0 0. Totals 18-52 6-7 46.

PENN CAMBRIA (54): Behe 2 2-2 6, J. Mardula 0 1-2 1, Leahey 9 4-6 25, Keagy 3 5-6 11, Lawhead 2 2-2 6, Schwaderer 0 0-1 0, Tsikalas 1 0-0 3, M. Mardula 1 0-0 2, Przybys 0 0-0 0. Totals 18-46 14-20 54.


Conemaugh Township9 8 14 15 - 46

Penn Cambria10 13 17 14 - 54

3-point goals: Conemaugh Township 4-13 (Sotosky 2, Fisher, Speigle), Penn Cambria 4-14 (Leahey 3, Tsikalas).

Records: Conemaugh Township (1-1), Penn Cambria (2-0).

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