TYRONE - Penn Cambria was better than Penns Valley with Tori Shingler on the court Monday.
Unfortunately for the Lady Panthers, she wasn't on it long enough for Penn Cambria to beat the Lady Rams in a 42-37 loss in the first round of the District 6 Class AA girls playoffs at Tyrone Area Middle School.
The Lady Panthers outscored Penns Valley, 29-15, while Shingler was playing but couldn't get things going offensively without her. The Lady Rams went on a 14-0 run in the second quarter when Shingler came out with foul trouble and then outscored Penn Cambria, 13-8, over the final 4:43 after Shingler fouled out.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Penn?Cambria’s Tori Shingler walks to the bench after fouling out in the fourth quarter.
"We fought to get back into the game with [Shingler]," Penn Cambria coach Rodger Fair said. "If she stayed on the floor, I thought that could be the difference. In hindsight, maybe we should have had her out for a bit, but she's played with four fouls before."
The Lady Panthers were already without their point guard for the majority of the game.
Kaitlyn Krug, the 5-foot-4 senior sparkplug both offensively and defensively for Penn Cambria for most of the season, suffered a major knee injury against Forest Hills in the Panthers' final regular season game. Krug tried to play Monday, coming off the bench with 3:58 to play in the third quarter and Penn Cambria down by four, but less than 2 minutes later, with 2:04 left, the game had to be stopped by an official as Krug limped off.
"She wanted to give it a try tonight," Fair said. "If we were to get by, we wanted to see if she could help us in the next round. We picked a spot in the second half hoping that she could go a little bit, but it was obvious she couldn't. I had a sub ready to go in for her before she even pulled up."
Despite Shingler's foul trouble and Krug's injury, Penn Cambria went on a 7-1 run to end the third quarter and took a 29-27 lead into the final 8 minutes. Anna Audley made a layup while being fouled and connected on the free throw with 3.6 seconds left in the quarter.
Penns Valley tied the game at 29 before Shingler was called for an offensive foul with 5:45 left. Just more than a minute later, she picked up her fifth foul on a Lady Rams fast break. Bethany Miller made a pair of free throws, and Penns Valley never trailed again as Penn Cambria struggled to maintain possessions with ballhandlers like Shingler and Krug unavailable.
"The magic kind of ran out," Fair said. "When you have more than 20 turnovers, you aren't going to win too many games."
The Lady Panthers trailed by six with less than 2 minutes to play, but a 6-2 spurt left them within two in the final minute.
Riley Anderson came up with a steal for Penn Cambria, but a host of Penns Valley defenders hustled back to contest her layup and it bounced off the rim.
"Our team focuses on defense," Penns Valley coach Andrea Borland said. "Our girls go hard on defense, and I have the faith in them that they can get back on a play like that. They definitely did the job."
Penns Valley (14-7), which got a game-high 13 points from Miller, will play top-seeded Blairsville in the quarterfinals later this week.
Shingler and fellow senior Megan Wheeler led the Lady Panthers with 10 points each.
The loss was particularly tough on Penn Cambria, which started three seniors and will also lose Krug. The Lady Panthers made big strides this season, picking up victories over District 6 powers Bishop Guilfoyle and Forest Hills while going 15-7.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Krug held her head in her hands. Following a postgame talk with Fair, the team huddled in the hall in a circle with tears flowing and consoling hugs going all around.
"The seniors were a great group to coach," Fair said. "You couldn't ask any more of them. I feel extremely bad for them. They've worked hard and deserve everything they've received, and they're great kids."
PENN CAMBRIA (37): Strittmatter 2 2-2 6, Little 0 0-0 0, Shingler 4 0-2 10, Vincent 1 0-0 2, Wheeler 3 3-6 10, Audley 3 3-3 9, Anderson 0 0-0 0. Totals - 13 8-13 37.
PENNS VALLEY (42): Ripka 3 3-4 11, Beamesderfer 3 0-0 7, Ironside 1 2-2 5, Lyons 0 0-0 0, Miller 3 7-8 13, Ilgen 0 1-2 1, Swartz 1 3-4 5, Orndorf 0 0-0 0. Totals - 11 14-18 42.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Penn Cambria12 3 14 8 - 37
Penns Valley10 14 3 15 - 42
3-point goals: Penn Cambria 3 (Shingler 2, Wheeler); Penns Valley 4 (Ripka 2, Beamesderfer, Ironside).
Records: Penn Cambria (15-7); Penns Valley (14-7).
Officials: Jim Klausman, Jack McDougal, Jerry Kauffman.