Lady Red Devils pull off hat trick on Heights

Special to the Mirror

EBENSBURG — Cambria Heights looked to turn the tables and defeat Central Cambria for the first time in three tries this season on Tuesday night. The Lady Highlanders gathered an early 7-3 lead on the road.

However, Central Cambria switched to a full-court press that sped up the tempo and created turnovers. A 12-2 run brought the Red Devils out of a sluggish start. The hosts built on its lead from then on out.

Four Red Devils finished in double figures to lead a 75-54 victory over Cambria Heights at Central Cambria High School.

“I thought we came out a little bit slow. It was similar to the last time we played them. But the press provided us with a lot of energy and momentum,” Central Cambria coach Brittany Sedlock said. “I thought the girls did a good job of applying ball pressure and trapping at the right times. We were able to create some turnovers and get some fast break points to get us going.”

Central Cambria topped Cambria Heights for the 10th straight time. Junior McKenna Hayward led the Red Devils with 18 points. Senior Abbie Young added 14 points. Junior Jenna Bauer posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore Cassidy Bezek contributed 10 points.

Cambria Heights was led by Chloe Weakland’s game-high 27 points. The sophomore scored 10 points in the first and 11 more in the third.

“Our turnovers killed us tonight along with our decision making,” Cambria Heights coach Amber Fees said. “We had way too many turnovers. I think we dribbled too much. We always tell our girls if it’s a zone press, we have to pass through it. You’re not going to win ball games like that.”

Weakland scored six early points as Heights went ahead 7-3. But Young’s corner 3-pointer ignited a 12-2 spurt as the Red Devils took the lead for good. Increasing the pace and using its collective athleticism in the open floor benefited Central Cambria.

“I definitely think we’re at our best when we’re rebounding, running and forcing turnovers. That just seems to be when we get our runs and momentum,” Sedlock said. “We have a lot more energy. That energy transfers over to the half-court offense and then into our half-court defense.”

Central Cambria led 18-14 after one frame. Kirsten Weakland’s trey brought Heights within 21-19 early in the second. Hayward’s three-point play capped a 7-0 stretch. Young completed a three-point play to highlight a 9-0 spurt. That helped give Central Cambria a 39-26 halftime lead.

“Central Cambria has a phenomenal team,” Fees said of a squad that defeated Heights three times. “They have a deep bench. McKenna Hayward is the real deal. She’s a phenomenal point guard. She always keeps her head. They’re tough to play against.”

Hayward added eight points in the third quarter. Weakland nailed three triples in the quarter.

“She played phenomenal. Not just because of the 27 points, I thought she hustled, she got some rebounds and she had some nice passes as well,” Fees said of Chloe Weakland.

CAMBRIA HEIGHTS (54): Conrad 0 0-0 0, Lobick 2 0-0 5, K. Weakland 3 1-2 8, C. Weakland 9 6-6 27, Henry 4 0-1 9, Jones 2 1-2 5, Lansberry 0 0-0 0, McCombie 0 0-0 0. Totals — 20 8-11 54.

CENTRAL CAMBRIA (75): Wess 3 0-1 6, Young 6 1-1 14, Hayward 6 6-7 18, Bauer 4 2-2 11, Bezek 4 1-2 10, Bopp 4 1-1 9, Kudlawiec 0 4-4 4, Szpala 1 0-0 3, Lockard 0 0-0 0, Boyles 0 0-0 0, Stevens 0 0-0 0. Totals — 28 15-18 75.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Cambria Heights 14 12 16 12 — 54

Central Cambria 18 21 21 15 — 75

3-point field goals: Cambria Heights 6 (C. Weakland 3, Henry, Lobick, K. Weakland); Central Cambria 4 (Bauer, Bezek, Szpala, Young).

Records: Cambria Heights (8-11, 0-8 LHAC Section 1); Central Cambria

(14-6, 4-4 LHAC Section 1).

Officials: Don Bachota, Charlie Fox, Wes Meyers.

JV: Cambria Heights, 43-34. High scorers-Jones, CH, 13; Szpala, CC, 15.

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