PATTON - Kara Cordell scored 17 points as Cambria Heights shook off pesky Purchase Line, 64-51, in the championship game of the Lady Highlanders Christmas Tournament on Friday at Cambria Heights High School.
Cordell captured tournament most valuable player honors as she was one of three Highlanders to score in double figures.
"Everyone stepped up and played their game, the whole team overall," the 5-foot-8 senior said.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Cambria Heights’ Kara Cordell puts up a shot in traffic Friday night against Purchase Line.
"She doesn't give up," Cambria Heights coach Tracy Neff said. "When she's not hitting, she just keeps shooting until she finds that range."
Ellen Cordell contributed 12 points and Emily Crowell added 10 points.
Freshman Lauren Brawley (six points) also made the all-tournament team.
"As a freshman she played well in this tournament," Neff said.
Neff knew the Red Dragons were a scrappy team and the Highlanders struggled to shake off the challengers from the Heritage Conference.
The Highlanders never trailed in the championship game. But they entered the second period ahead, 17-15, and watched the Dragons tie the score on a putback by Allison Goodlin 2 minutes into the second quarter. Heights managed seven-point leads on three occasions before taking a 35-30 edge into halftime.
"They shocked us. They handled our press," Neff said. "That kind of put us back"
Cambria Heights eschewed the zone at halftime and turned to a full-court press that put Purchase Line on its heels. Cordell wrapped 3-pointers around a pair of free throws by Crowell to stake the Highlanders to a 43-30 lead.
Purchase Line mounted a 10-0 rally toward the end of the third period to trim the difference to 47-42. But Heights staged an 11-0 run that pushed the lead to 16 with 4:51 to go in the final period.
The margin might have been greater had Cambria Heights been able to convert more putbacks.
"We had the height but we didn't box out," Neff said. "And (Purchase Line is) a scrappy team. They hung in there the whole time. Hats off to them."
As the resumption of Laurel Highlands Conference play looms, Neff would like to see his team press a little better.
"Offensively, we've got to limit our turnovers. [We still commit] too many turnovers for us [to win] in this league," he said.
Purchase Line coach Rebecca Hudak, whose team entered the tournament winless in seven starts, restructured the starting lineup and received instant dividends.
"One of our players said, 'I think Santa brought us a basketball team for Christmas,' " Hudak said. "It seems like we have a new team out here and that after the Christmas break they decided to play."
"They definitely played a lot better than we thought [they would]. And we could have done a lot better," Cordell said. "But we stuck with it and played our game."
Purchase Line senior Brianna Riva led all scorers with 26 points. She and classmate Koren McCullough (six points) represented the Dragons on the all-tournament team. Ashley Goodlin scored 10 points for Purchase Line.
Northern Cambria fell to Bald Eagle Area in the third-place game, 56-44 in two overtimes. Northern Cambria freshman Allison Sedlock made the all-tournament team after scoring 17 points in the consolation game. Haley Giedroc (17 points) represented Bald Eagle Area on the all-tourney team. Logan Fischer led Bald Eagle Area with 18 points. Megan Peters also scored 17 points.
Bald Eagle Area blanked Northern Cambria, 12-0, in the second overtime.
Purchase Line (51): Ashley Goodlin 4 2-4 10, Brooke Riva 0 0-0 0, McCullough 2 0-0 6, Brianna Riva 8 7-8 26, Fleming 3 0-0 6, McCoy 0 1-2 1, Totals 18 10-14 51
Cambria Heights (64): K.Cordell 6 3-4 17, Crowell 4 2-4 10, Miller 2 0-0 4, Lightcap 2 0-0 5, Forsythe 0 3-4 3, Gray 1 0-0 2, Brawley 3 0-0 6, E.Cordell 4 3-4 12, Kozorosky 1 0-0 3, Link 1 0-0 2, Totals 24 11-16 64
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Purchase Line 15 15 12 9 - 51
Cambria Heights 17 18 15 14 - 64
3-point field goals: Purchase Line 5 (Brianna Riva 3, McCullough 2), Cambria Heights 5 (K.Cordell 2, Lightcap, E.Cordell, Kozorosky).
Team records: Purchase Line 1-8, Cambria Heights 5-3.
Officials: Bridgett Borelli, Todd Blake, Dirk Link.