Panthers pummel BG this time

CRESSON – When Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic and Penn Cambria squared off on Jan. 3 in Altoona, the Marauders eked out a 65-64 win.

The rematch wasn’t anything like the first meeting.

Round 2 took place Wednesday night in PC’s gym, and the Panthers got even in a big way, rolling over the Marauders, 60-34.

“Everybody just played with such energy, such passion,” an obviously elated Penn Cambria coach Jim Ronan said when asked the difference in the two games.

“Offensively, we’ve been trying to get better in practice,” Ronan said. “When we move the ball around, we’re pretty tough to beat.”

The Panthers moved the ball around Wednesday night, and their size advantage was too much for the Marauders on both ends of the floor.

PC’s lineup includes 6-7 A.J. Leahey, 6-5 Nathan Keagy, 6-4 Mack Behe, 6-2 Devin Lawhead and 6-0 James Mardula. Conversely, BG’s tallest starter is 6-3 Zach Patterson.

“If we get the defense moving, we get a lot of easy looks,” Ronan said.

That’s what happened Wednesday night as the Panthers played around the hoop and dominated the inside game with Lawhead scoring 17 points, Behe and Leahey 14 each.

“A lot of teams key on A.J. [Leahey], and you have to,” Ronan said. “Down there [at BG], we had the same approach, but with different results. When we’d get it to the wing, we’d just stand there with the ball. Tonight, we did a great job of moving the ball from side to side, and we found the open guy easily.

“Everybody knows A.J. is probably the best scorer in the area, but it’s not always good when he gets 26 and everybody else is struggling.”

BG led only once, 2-0, and was never in the game. Penn Cambria led 13-6 after one quarter and 27-15 at the half as Behe contributed 10 points. The Panthers didn’t ease up after intermission, either, outscoring the Marauders, 33-19, in the second half.

Penn Cambria also dominated the boards, outrebounding BG by a commanding 38-23 margin. A dismal 3-for-17 effort at the free throw line didn’t help the Marauders, either.

“Our main focus was hit them hard on the boards and dominate them inside,” Ronan said. “We only had five offensive rebounds the first game, and that just means we weren’t aggressive.”

Lawhead supported his coach’s thought that the Panthers’ energy was the key last night.

“At Altoona, we came out flat the first half,” Lawhead noted. “We were down by 11 or 12 at halftime.

“We’ve put in a new offense [since losing to Bishop Carroll], and we’re getting easier shots,” Lawhead said. “Sometimes we were stagnant in the past and this has more movement so we can give A.J. more help.”

BG coach Chris Drenning, although disappointed with the outcome, praised Penn Cambria’s performance.

“First of all, Coach Ronan does a great job and they were really ready,” Drenning said. “We had 10 3s [in Altoona] and shot the ball great. Tonight, we were 3-for-17 from the foul line and that’s a really good team. You can’t go 3-for-17 from the foul line and hope to stay in the game.

“We kept trying to generate some offense, but we couldn’t seem to make a shot tonight,” Drenning said, “and they had a lot to do with that.

“They are so difficult to guard, too,” he said. “We tried to trap and you have to pay so much attention to Leahey that it just gets other guys open. He’s so unselfish … he’s as good as anybody. The other guys are good and they’re getting better shots because of him.

“They went inside and their size makes it tough offensively and defensively.”

The result left both teams tied for second place in the Laurel Highlands Conference Section 1 with 4-2 records. Guilfoyle plays at league-leading Bishop Carroll on Friday while Penn Cambria visits Forest Hills on Friday.

BISHOP GUILFOYLE (34): Irwin 1 0-0 2, Drenning 3 0-0 7, Patterson 2 0-3 4, Fulare 1 0-0 2, Koehle 1 0-0 2, Rickens 3 1-2 8, Nardelli 1 1-2 3, McCloskey 2 1-4 6, Wolf 0 0-2 0, Baldessaro 0 0-0 0, Brumbaugh 0 0-0 0, Fiore 0 0-0 0, Little 0 0-2 0. Totals – 14 3-17 34.

PENN CAMBRIA (60): Behe 5 2-2 14, Keagy 3 0-1 6, Leahey 6 0-0 14, J. Mardula 1 1-2 4, Lawhead 7 3-6 17, Tsikalas 2 0-0 4, M. Mardula 0 0-0 0, Schwaderer 0 0-0 0, Hite 0 0-0 0, George 0 0-0 0, Chirdon 0 0-0 0, Bastian 0 0-0 0, Kost 0 1-2 1, Slatko 0 0-0 0. Totals – 24 7-13 60.


Bishop Guilfoyle6 9 11 8 – 34

Penn Cambria13 14 14 19 – 60

3-point goals: Bishop Guilfoyle 3 (Drenning, Rickens, McCloskey); Penn Cambria 5 (Behe 2, Leahey 2, J. Mardula).

Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (4-2 LHAC Sect. 1, 12-3 overall); Penn Cambria (4-2 LHAC Sect. 1, 13-3 overall).

JV: Penn Cambria, 35-34. High scorers-Zach Chirdon, PC, 9; Matt Gormley, BG, 12.