Foul trouble costs CC
Lady Devils fall into consy game
HOLLIDAYSBURG — The scene in the lobby outside of Hollidaysburg Area High School’s gymnasium following Central Cambria’s 53-45 loss to Penns Valley Tuesday in the District 6 Class 3A semifinals told the story without even one comment from a Lady Devil player or coach.
There wasn’t a dry eye from anyone wearing red as parents tried to console their daughters who really believed this was the year they’d break through and make it all the way to the district title game.
“We really wanted it. We had it,” Central Cambria coach Brittany Sedlock said. “Every team is good at this level. Every game is a tough game, and it just matters who is up when the timer goes off, and unfortunately it has not been us.”
Central Cambria has consistently made the state playoffs under Sedlock, but it hasn’t made a district final. The past couple of years, Penns Valley has had a lot to do with that.
The Lady Rams have knocked the Lady Devils into the consolation round two seasons in a row after Central Cambria topped Penns Valley in the playoffs the two years prior to that.
Penns Valley took a 20-11 lead after one quarter when Hannah Montminy connected on a heave from just inside the half-court line at the buzzer.
Central Cambria spent the rest of the night trying to fight back into the game with pressure defense, and succeeded by causing 20 turnovers, but the Lady Devils got into foul trouble while doing it.
When Cassidy Bezek picked up her fourth foul with 6:25 to play in the game, she became the fourth Central Cambria starter with four fouls.
Still, the Lady Devils were only down one.
“The girls really picked it up defensively, and they were all over the boards,” Sedlock said. “Jenna Bauer was tremendous offensively and defensively, and I think picking up our rebounding helped us in the transition game and allowed us to make a comeback.”
Bella Culver, who finished with a game-high 29 points for Penns Valley, made a layup to put the Lady Rams ahead by three, but Central Cambria responded by scoring the next six points to take a 43-40 lead with 3:15 to play.
That’s when the Lady Devils started to lose players.
Bezek fouled out with 3:05 to play as Penns Valley scored the next four points to take the lead. McKenna Hayward got it back for Central Cambria only to foul out herself seconds later with 1:33 left.
Culver, who made 10 free throws in the fourth quarter, made two after Hayward’s fifth foul to put Penns Valley on top for good and start a game-ending 9-0 run during which Central Cambria’s Paige Wess also fouled out.
“We’re hurting when McKenna is on the bench,” Sedlock said. “She’s been doing it for four years. She’s an experienced point guard, she sees the floor well even if she’s not scoring and she’s always making great passes. It was very disappointing when she fouled out.”
Culver’s free throws were a welcome sight for Penns Valley coach Karen McCaffrey. Other than Culver, the Lady Rams shot just 2-for-12 from the line.
“It’s funny that our best free-throw shooters were struggling, and Isabella Culver, who sometimes struggles from the line, ended up 10-for-10 down the stretch when we needed it,” McCaffrey said. “She is a converted point guard playing center for us right now. It’s nice when you have a five who can bring the ball down as well as our guards.”
Bauer, the only Central Cambria starter who had four fouls that managed to stay in the game, was one of the most emotional players following the game.
“It was rough,” said Bauer, who led Central Cambria with 18 points. “We all wanted this really bad, so we wanted to come out and be aggressive. I guess we were a little too aggressive, and to have four of our starters get in foul trouble and three of them foul out was a little rough.
“We made some mistakes at key moments that hurt us a little bit. I have a feeling if we all could have stayed in, the game would have turned out differently, but that’s how the game goes. We made some stupid fouls that may have cost us the game.”
Penns Valley will meet third-seeded Penn Cambria in the championship game Friday at Mount Aloysius at 6 p.m.
“(Penn Cambria) played an outstanding game against Tyrone (in the other semifinal),” McCaffrey said. “I don’t remember ever in my career playing against Penn Cambria, so that will be fun.”
Central Cambria will play Tyrone in a consolation game on Thursday.
“We definitely want to be the third seed going into states,” Sedlock said. “I think that sets us up with an easier road, and hopefully we can get some revenge on these District 6 teams that beat us. We’re going to bounce back from this and give it our all.”
CENTRAL CAMBRIA (45): Bauer 6 4-5 18, Hayward 2 1-1 5, Wess 6 1-2 14, Bopp 0 2-2 2, Bezek 2 1-2 5, Lockard 0 0-0 0, Kudlawiec 0 0-0 0, Szpala 0 1-2 1, Stevens 0 0-0 0. Totals — 16 10-14 45
PENNS VALLEY (53): Butler 2 1-2 5, Culver 8 11-13 29, Kubalak 0 1-2 1, Montminy 4 0-1 10, Andrus 1 0-2 3, Collison 1 0-3 3, Welshans 0 0-0 0, Beben 1 0-2 2. Totals — 17 13-25 53
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central Cambria 11 16 8 10 — 45
Penns Valley 20 11 4 18 — 53
3-point goals: Central Cambria 3 (Bauer 2, Wess); Penns Valley 4 (Montminy 2, Andrus, Collison)
Officials: Ray Hopple, Tyler Fink, Steve Schaff
Records: Central Cambria (16-7); Penns Valley (19-5).