PATTON - Cambria Heights had next to everything working in its favor during its opening-round game of the Lady Highlanders Christmas Tournament on Thursday night.
This held especially true in the areas of size, experience and fundamentals. And it showed as the Highlanders breezed to a 65-27 victory over Northern Cambria at Cambria Heights High School.
Cambria Heights (4-3) will face Purchase Line in the championship game this evening. The Red Dragons snapped a season-opening seven-game losing streak with a 47-45 victory over Bald Eagle Area in the tournament opener.
After both teams endured a sluggish start, the Highlanders used a 9-2 run to open up a 23-6 lead at the end of one quarter. Cambria Heights outscored the Colts in each subsequent period, even as coach Tracy Neff used just about every player he had at his disposal.
"I like the fact that we can play everyone, they played as a team," he said. "Everyone down to the last person played as a team, did their job [and] hustled."
Cambria Heights senior Kara Cordell led all scorers with 16 points. Freshman Lauren Brawley contributed 13 points. Bethany Gray, a junior, added 11 points.
Senior Allyssa Walters paced Northern Cambria with 14 points. The Colts were hampered by 49 turnovers, many of which came from Cambria Hights defensive pressure.
Second-year Northern Cambria coach Tony Delfonso said he stresses to his young team patience, maintaining a quick tempo and controlling the boards.
The bottom line is when we step on the floor, we're not ready to play," Delfonso said. "We do things things in spurts, which doesn't [cut] it. And until we decide we're going to play all four quarters, then we're going to struggle.
The Highlanders will face a Purchase Line team that squandered a double-digit lead before Mikhala Stover hit a baseline jumper in the last 10 seconds to help the Red Dragons nail down the victory. Koren McCullough led Purchase Line with 11 points.
"They're a scrappy team. I told the girls we can't come in here and take them lightly,"Neff said. "If we come in here] and play our game, we'll come out on top."
"We [will] have to keep our turnovers down," Purchase Line coach Rebecca Hudak said after the tournament opening. "We still had too many turnovers in this game. If we keep them down, I think we can do well against Cambria Heights."
NORTHERN CAMBRIA (27): Baum 0 0-0 0, Walters 7 0-0 14, Strong 1 0-0 2, Peles 1 1-1 4, Sedlock 1 5-6 7. Totals 10 6-11 27.
CAMBRIA HEIGHTS (65): K.Cordell 7 2-2 16, Miller 0 0-0 0, Lightcap 2 0-0 4, Forsythe 0 0-0 0 Crowelll 3 0-0 6, Kozorosky 0 0-0 0, E.Cordell 3 1-1 7, Brawley 6 1-2 13, Westrick 2 1-2 5, Bracken 1 0-0 2, Flis 0 1-2 1, Gray 5 0-0 11, Totals 29 6-10 65.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Northern Cambria6 8 6 7 - 27
Cambria Heifhts23 11 16 15 - 65
3-point field goals: Norther Cambria 1 (Peles), Cambria Heights 1 (Gray)
Team records: Northern Cambria (2-6); Cambria Heights (3-3)
Officials: Tom Cunningham, Denny Gramling, Bob Gongloff.