MARTINSBURG - Central came out at the start of its matchup with Central Cambria looking like it was ready to bury the Lady Red Devils and put the game out of reach early.
The Lady Dragons jumped out to a 20-3 lead in the opening quarter, but Central Cambria was able to climb to within three on numerous occasions before succumbing to the host, 60-56, on the opening night of the Maxwell Transportation Lady Dragon Holiday Tournament on Friday.
"We came out, we took care of the ball and we did the things we needed to do," Central coach Shelley McCune said. "We made our shots and played like we weren't that young team that we had been playing like."
The Lady Dragons held their largest lead with 1:36 to go in the first before the Red Devils settled down, and slowly turned the tables - pulling to within 11 at the half and seven (46-39) heading into the final quarter.
"I told them [Central Cambria] to relax ... I told them one stop at a time, run their offense and keep playing," Central Cambria coach John Dziack said. "They played hard the rest of the game. I think we outscored [47-38] them from the second quarter on. We dug ourselves a hole that was kind of hard to get out of."
Central got balanced scoring as it opened its big lead, but it was freshman Brayley Lewis that was the difference, and one of the main reasons the Dragons never relinquished the lead.
Central Cambria had no answer for Lewis, who scored in a myriad of ways - down low, starting high and driving to the basket and even going coast-to-coast a few times - scored a career-high 25 points, while pulling down 10 rebounds.
"She's [Lewis] been pretty consistent for us. You can tell she's growing because she's starting to find more confidence," McCune said. "She was a little hesitant at first and I just told her 'you just got to attack', so she did. She just has to have the confidence and know when she needs to take over."
The Lady Red Devils used their speed and swarming defense to force Central into nine second quarter turnovers, which allowed them to end the half down 33-22.
"We just started to turn the ball over and it becomes a domino affect for us. We've got to stop doing that," McCune said. "We need to start learning from our mistakes and start getting better."
Central bent but didn't break in the third as a 3-pointer from Bri Wasser allowed CC to pull within three [36-33] for the first time. However, the Lady Dragons, as was the case the rest of the game, quickly see-sawed the lead back up to eight [41-33] as Lewis scored four of the five points in the run.
Taylor King-Brothers and Wasser did all they could to keep the Devils in the game as King-Brothers showed her leadership by pushing the ball up the floor and playing in-your-face defense. The senior led her team with 21 points while Wasser, who hit several clutch floaters and jumpers, finished with 16.
The fourth quarter played out the same as the last half of the third with Central Cambria climbing as close as three points (56-53) on a King-Brothers trey with 3:06 left in the game, but back-to-back hoops from Taylor McKnight and Lewis increased the lead to seven with 1:44 left, which proved to be insurmountable at that point.
"We cut it to three several times, we just couldn't get over that hump," Dziack. "We had a couple of wide open looks that just didn't fall, and they [Central] came down and scored again. It was just one of those games."
While Lewis was the focal point, she certainly wasn't alone as Mikaela McGraw accounted for 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Ashley Smith had 11 markers and a game-high 13 carems.
Katy Leamer scored 21 points to lead Bellwood-Antis over Tyrone,
BELLWOOD-ANTIS 69, TYRONE 53
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (69): Hollen 1 5-7 7, Swogger 6 0-0 13, Ka. Leamer 9 3-4 21, Ke. Leamer 5 0-0 13, Damiano 4 2-4 10, Mercer 0 0-3 0, Finn 2 0-0 5. Totals - 27 10-18 69.
TYRONE (53): Gripp 8 8-8 26, Brooks 4 2-4 12, Taylor 1 0-0 2, Swogger 3 2-2 10, Finnley 0 0-0 0, Hammond 0 0-0 0, Raftery 1 0-2 3, Kemp 0 0-0 0. Totals - 17 12-16 53.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis13 22 13 21 - 69
Tyrone13 17 11 12 - 53
3-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 5 (Ke. Leamer 3, Swogger, Finn); Tyrone 7 (Gripp 2, Brooks 2, Swogger 2, Raftery).
Records: Bellwood-Antis (6-0); Tyrone (5-2).
CENTRAL 60, CENTRAL CAMBRIA 56
CENTRAL CAMBRIA (56): King-Brothers 8 3-7 21, Wright 0 0-0 0, Berzonsky 1 1-2 3, Ritchey 3 0-1 6, Wasser 5 5-7 16, Broring 4 1-2 10, Hildenbrand 0 0-0 0, McKeel 0 0-0 0. Totals - 21 10-19 56.
CENTRAL (60): Myers 0 2-2 2, McKnight 1 2-2 4, McGraw 4 3-4 12, Smith 4 2-4 11, Lewis 9 7-12 25, Snyder 0 3-5 3, Ritchey 1 0-0 2, Boyles 0 1-2 1. Totals - 20 20-31 60.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central Cambria9 13 17 17 - 56
Central22 11 13 14 - 60
3-point goals: Central Cambria 4 (King-Brothers 2, Wasser, Broring); Central 2 (McGraw, Smith).
Records: Central Cambria (3-3); Central (4-4).
Officials: Ed Beidle, Don Bussard, Greg Spiker.