Quickness helps PC girls reach title game

Lady Panthers get Penns Valley

Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec Penn Cambria’s Ryanna Hockenos (left) beats Tyrone’s Jaida Parker to the ball on Tuesday.

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Tyrone seemed to have finally adapted to the speed Penn Cambria brought to its District 6 Class 3A semifinal game at Hollidaysburg Area High School Tuesday night.

The Lady Eagles, who had fallen behind by as many as 16 points, cut the lead to 10 with 1:53 to play in the third quarter and looked as though they were about to get a turnover.

That’s when Laken Guzic got a loose ball and hit an off-balance 3-pointer. Just before the end of the quarter, Emmy Harvey added one of her own, and the lead felt as comfortable as ever for the Lady Panthers.

Tyrone managed just two field goals in the fourth quarter, and Penn Cambria pulled away for a 61-36 victory.

“It’s awesome, because we have worked really hard and definitely come a long way,” Harvey said. “We’ve all been playing together for so many years now, and it’s finally beginning to show.”

The third-seeded Lady Panthers will take on top-seeded Penns Valley at Mount Aloysius in the district title game Friday at 6 p.m.

“I would say those (3-pointers) were the nails in the coffin, so to speak,” Tyrone coach Luke Rhoades said. “The one time, we got a tip from behind, the ball went between the girl’s legs and rolled out to another girl who hit a 3-pointer. You bust your tail to get them to commit a turnover, and for them to hit that 3 was deflating.”

The Lady Eagles turned the ball over 18 times, but even when they were getting shots off, they were rushed and inaccurate.

“They were everywhere, and you can’t imitate their speed or pressure,” Rhoades said. “We got outplayed, outcoached, outhustled, out-everything. We picked a bad night to shoot bad, but it happens. That was the worst shooting we’ve had all year, but you have to give credit to Penn Cambria, because they sped us up.”

Sydney Shaw and Jaida Parker each scored 15 points for Tyrone, which will play Central Cambria in the consolation game.

“It’s kind of tough, and it’s a quick turnaround,” Rhoades said. “That’s what you have to do at this time of year, so we’ll see. This is deflating, because we felt if we could have handled their pressure, we could have played with this team. We couldn’t handle the pressure. We’ll see how the girls respond mentally.”

For Penn Cambria, which got 15 points each from both Harvey and Guzic while leading scorer Makayln Clapper dealt with some early foul trouble, the win was the culmination of a long process for the current senior class. The talent has always been there, but the results didn’t happen overnight.

“The confidence they have in each other and the belief they have in each other when someone gets in foul trouble has improved,” Penn Cambria coach Keith Saleme said. “The other girls step up, and they’ve done it all year.

“You look at our box scores, and any given night it could be Makayln, Guzic, Harvey, (Ryanna) Hockenos or (Mia) McCarthy. When you have a well-balanced team like that and someone is off, the other girls step up.”

Hockenos added 11 points and six rebounds for the Lady Panthers, and Clapper just missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds.

Penn Cambria’s entire starting five is made up of seniors. The group came together following a loss to Bishop Carroll in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference championship game and vowed to not let one missed goal impact the team’s other plans.

“The senior leadership has taken over,” Saleme said. “When you have five seniors that lead the team, we can bounce back really quick. It stung a lot, but they knew there were bigger goals. One of those is the District 6 championship, and hopefully we can prevail there. Penn Cambria has never won a state playoff game, so that’s something we want to get done.”

First up will be a well-coached and well-disciplined Penns Valley team in the district championship.

“It’s definitely going to be the best feeling to run out onto that court,” Harvey said. “We’re going to have a lot of fun.”

PENN CAMBRIA (61): Harvey 6 1-2 15, Guzic 6 1-2 15, Clapper 3 3-4 9, McCarthy 0 0-0 0, Hockenos 5 1-4 11, Grove 1 1-3 4, Kunsman 0 0-0 0, Shuagis 1 0-0 2, Saleme 2 0-0 5. Totals — 24 7-15 61

TYRONE (36): Ramsey 0 2-2 2, Fusco 0 0-0 0, Ronan 0 0-0 0, Parker 5 3-5 15, Sy. Shaw 6 0-1 15, Sh. Shaw 0 0-0 0, Getz 1 2-4 4, Welsh 0 0-0 0, Christine 0 0-0 0, Kohler 0 0-0 0, Brodzina 0 0-0 0, Lewis 0 0-0 0, Saltsgiver 0 0-0 0. Totals — 12 7-12 36

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Penn Cambria 13 17 14 17 — 61

Tyrone 7 11 12 6 — 36

3-point goals: Penn Cambria 6 (Harvey 2, Guzic 2, Saleme, Grove); Tyrone 5 (Sy. Shaw 3, Parker 2).

Officials: Chuck Glasser, Ab Dettorre, Keith Fry

Records: Penn Cambria (19-6); Tyrone (18-6).

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