CC’s Holsinger has huge game

EBENSBURG — Matt Holsinger has his basketball future mapped out.

The only proof one needs is the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown sweatshirt he wore after he led Central Cambria to a 68-59 victory against Penn Cambria in a Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference basketball game on Monday night at Central Cambria High School.

Holsinger, who is being groomed to play power forward/center for UPJ coach Bob Ruckavina after graduation from high school, scored a game-high 38 points and added 11 rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals.

That might read like a complete game to anyone. Holsinger has an idea of what areas he will need to improve, however, to compete at the next level.

“My scoring’s definitely developed over the years. When I was a freshman, rebounding was the main thing that I was good at. But I’ve really developed as a player,” he said.

“(I’d like to improve) my mid-range shot a little bit, shooting in general and ballhandling.”

Holsinger scored 19 points in the first half, and Central Cambria never trailed against one of its backyards rivals.

“We had different looks running at him. But he’s such a matchup nightmare for us. We don’t have anybody to size up against him,” Penn Cambria coach Jim Ronan said. “Everything we tried, he countered with.”

“He was very solid inside,” Red Devils coach Adam Stephan said. “Every time we got the ball to him he was able to score. (Penn Cambria) had a difficult time guarding him inside.”

The Red Devils took an 18-9 lead into second quarter, and used a 3-point field goal that Luke Bennett sank off the backboard at the halftime buzzer to assume a 39-24 lead.

“We went through the motions in the first quarter. We didn’t have any passion or energy to get in there and fight with them,” Ronan said.

Central Cambria efficiently glided through the Panthers’ full court press and beat them in transition.

“Penn Cambria has always been a hard team to press,” Holsinger said, “and they were pressing us to start.”

Holsinger views what some might see as a challenge as an opportunity.

“Whenever I see teams pressing us, I usually think, ‘OK, go ahead,’ It seems to work in our favor,” he said.

Stephan said his team has started to handle frontcourt pressure much better as the season has progressed.

“It’s a learning process for us, and the guys are starting to come around, and starting to pick it up,” he said.

Bennett added 12 points and handed out eight assists for the reigning District 6 champion Red Devils.

Jacob Shuagis led the Panthers with 17 points, followed by Braedon O’Donnell (14 points) and Mason Ronan (10). O’Donnell also made four steals.

Matt Garrett grabbed a team-high six rebounds for Penn Cambria. The Panthers sank a total of nine 3-pointers, including six in the second half.

Penn Cambria (59): O’Donnell 4 2-2 14, Shuagis 6 3-5 17, T.Perrone 2 0-0 4, Ronan 2 5-7 10, Garrett 2 1-2 5, R.Perrone 3 0-0 8, Tsikalis 0 1-2 1, Smith 0 0-0 0, Reese 0 0-0 0. Totals — 19 12-18 59

Central Cambria (68): A.Persio 2 1-2 6, Bennett 4 3-4 12, Bezek 1 2-2 4, Garzarelli 1 0-0 2, Holsinger 16 6-8 38, Melnyk 2 1-2 5, J.Persio 0 0-0 0, Seymour 0 0-0 0. Totals — 26 13-18 68.


Penn Cambra 9 15 11 24 — 59

Central Cambria 18 21 11 18 — 68

3-point field goals: Penn Cambria 9 (O’Donnell 4, Shuagis 2, R.Perrone 2, Ronan), Central Cambria 3 (Bennett 2, A.Persio).

Officials: Mike McDermott, Shawn Sinclair, Bill Zamboni.

Team records: Penn Cambria (4-6, 0-3 LHAC-I), Central Cambria (6-4, 1-1).

JV score: Central Cambria, 78-45.