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Strong defense fuels Heights’ offensive explosion

PATTON — Cambria Heights staved off a Purchase Line rally with a 12-0 run that ended the second quarter and lifted the Lady Highlanders to a 76-41 victory in the championship game of the Lady Highlanders Christmas Tournament on Saturday night.

Kirsten Weakland led all scorers with 34 points, including six 3-pointers, and was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

“I thought we moved really well on offense. And we got the steals on defense, which made our offense work better,” she said.

Cambria Heights coach Amber Fees called a timeout after Emileigh Syster hit a 3-pointer that pulled Purchase Line within three, 22-19, as the second quarter neared the midway point.

“We talked about our shot selection and being patient, finding the best shot and picking up our defense,” Fees said. “(Friday) night I thought we relied on our steals. And tonight our defense at first wasn’t the best. Then I think we picked it up, and that was the turning point.

Weakland said Fees urged the girls to step up their defensive play.

“(She said) when we pick it up on defense that our offense will come,” the sophomore guard said. “And we did exactly that, and we got a few easy layups and it worked out very well.”

Purchase Line coach Kelley Goss cited loss of composure as the main factor in the Lady Highlanders’ pivotal run.

“We just lost our heads. We got within three — I think it was 22-19 — and we got excited on the bench,” she said. “We thought we were making a comeback, and then we turned the ball over probably four or five possessions in a row, and they took advantage of it and scored off of it.”

Heights took a 36-19 lead into the break and was never seriously threatened again. Weakland helped fuel Heights’ transition game and took advantage of good ball movement.

“She hustles. She plays hard every second on the floor. I love the way she plays,” Fees said.

Abby Lobick added 11 points for the Lady Highlanders (5-2). She and Chloe Weakland (14 points) also earned spots on the all-tournament team. Alice Henry chipped in 10 points.

“They have three girls who can shoot from the outside. So if we would have focused on her, then they would have gotten it to Lobick or the other Weakland girl. So I I knew it would be a struggle for us,” Goss said.

Weakland said another departure from form helped Cambria Heights in the title game.

“We stayed out of foul trouble, which was a big deal for us because we’re usually in foul trouble,” Weakland said.

Syster led Purchase Line (4-5) with 19 points and was named the team’s MVP in the tournament. Addaleia Beer added eight points and was also named to the all-tournament team. Bethany Smith contributed 10 points.

Northern Cambria remained winless after a 62-16 loss against Johnstown in the third-place game. Nicole Bearer and Emma Kollar tied for team-high scoring honors with six points each for the Lady Colts (0-6). Bearer was named to the all-tourney team.

Kaleya Smothers led all scorers with 12 points. She was named Johnstown’s representative on the all-tournament team.

CHAMPIONSHIP

PURCHASE LINE (41): B.Smith 2 6-7 10, Scalese 0 0-0 0, Syster 6 3-3 19, Beer 4 0-0 8, Balaoch 0 0-0 0, Goss 1 1-3 3, Zurenko 0 0-0 0, Bingaman 0 0-1 0, Bloxdorf 0 0-2 0, Misko 0 0-0 0, Ward 0 1-2 1, Nichol 0 0-0 0, Ewing 0 0-0 0, Behrendt 0 0-0 0. Totals — 13 11-18 41.

CAMBRIA HEIGHTS (76): Lobick 5 0-0 11, K.Weakland 13 2-3 34, C. Weakland 5 3-4 14, Hoover 0 0-0 0, Henry 3 4-8 10, Conrad 0 0-0 0, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Bassett 1 1-2 3, Della Valla 1 0-0 2, M.Weakland 01 0-0 2, Berkey 0 0-0 0, Adams 0 0-0 0, Lansberry 0 0-0 0. Totals — 29 10-17 76.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Purchase Line 8 11 16 6–41

Cambria Heights 18 18 20 20 –76

3-point field goals: Purchase Line 4 (Syster 4), Cambria Heights 8 (K. Weakland 4, Lobick, C. Weakland).

Officials: Brock Kauffman, Jack McDougal, Clark Adelman.

Records: Purchase Line (4-5), Cambria Heights (5-2).

CONSOLATION

NORTHERN CAMBRIA (16): Bearer 3 0-0 6, Kudlawiec 0 0-0 0, Olenchick 0 0-0 0, Kollar 2 2-4 6, Donatelli 0 0-0 0, Myers 0 0-0 0, I.Smith 0 0-0 0, Zernick 0 0-0 0, Strong 0 0-0 0. Totals — 6 4-8 16.

JOHNSTOWN (62): Smothers 3 5-9 12, Morales 3 3-10 10, Fultz 1 2-2 4, Custer 4 0-0 9, Felosky 3 2-4 8, McCray 6 0-0 12, Cannonie 0 0-0 0, Pinson 0 0-0 0. Totals — 22 15-25 62.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Northern Cambria 4 0 8 4 –16

Johnstown 14 22 13 13 –62

3-point field goals: Northern Cambria 0, Johnstown 3 (Smothers, Morales, Custer).

Officials: Sue Kovensky, Terri Piatek, VIsky Markiewicz.

Records: Northern Cambria (0-6), Johnstown (2-6).

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