Central Cambria topples Tyrone; both advance to states
Central Cambria senior point guard McKenna Hayward talked Thursday night about the importance of setting the reset button on team goals as the season has progressed.
Hayward and the Lady Red Devils reached one of those new goals at the Altoona Area High School Fieldhouse.
Central Cambria jumped out to an early lead and fought off a number of Tyrone comeback attempts for a 42-33 win in the District 6 Class 3A girls basketball consolation game.
“This year, our goals were (to win) the LHAC (Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference) and districts, and those fell through,” said Hayward, who scored 11 points including six in the decisive fourth quarter. “So I think our newest goal was to win this game, get a higher seed, and have a good chance going into states.”
Central Cambria moved to 17-7 and will open the PIAA state playoffs as the No. 3 team from District 6 as it faces District 9 champ Brookville.
“I thought my girls did a good job of sticking to the game plan, maintaining their composure and remaining calm,” Central Cambria coach Brittany Sedlock said. “I thought we made really good decisions down the stretch. Hopefully we’re going to keep getting better and be able to make a little run.”
Tyrone dropped to 18-7 and will enter the PIAA state playoffs as the fourth team from District 6. The Lady Eagles will play the winner of the District 7 WPIAL championship game between Neshannock and Shady Side Academy.
“We had a rough start, we couldn’t make shots,” Tyrone coach Luke Rhoades said. “We have a lot of work to do but we will benefit from another week of practice.”
Central Cambria didn’t waste any time putting the pressure on Tyrone. The Lady Devils’ Cassidy Bezek opened the scoring with a steal and a layup in the opening seconds, followed by a Jenna Bauer turnaround jumper, a Paige Wess layup, a Bauer free throw and a Bauer layup for a 9-0 lead.
Tyrone senior Sydney Shaw drained a pair of 3-pointers late in the opening quarter to help cut the lead to 11-8.
Central Cambria’s Hayward stretched the lead to 16-10 on a layup with 1:42 left in the second quarter, but the Lady Eagles’ Stephanie Ramsey, a freshman guard, answered with a pair of 3s to knot the game at 16-16 at halftime.
“They set a lot of screens in their offense and scramble a lot,” said Sedlock of Tyrone outside shooting ability, “and I think we gamble a little bit, and when we gamble, we get out of position. Kudos to them, they were able to find the open girl for a 3-pointer and they knocked most of them down.”
Tyrone managed to take the lead for the first time in the game, 23-21, at the 4:08 mark of the third quarter when Ramsey sliced through the lane for a driving layup. The advantage was shortlived as Central Cambria’s Bauer answered with a 3-pointer for a 24-23 edge. Wess hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key as the third-quarter buzzer sounded as the Lady Red Devils led 27-23 heading into the final quarter.
Tyrone’s Sydney Shaw made another 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter scoring and cut the lead to 27-26, but that’s as close as the Lady Eagles would get the rest of the way. Hayward and Liz Bopp each scored six points in the fourth quarter to help seal the win for Central Cambria. Bopp made a trio of layups down the stretch, and Bezek provided some timely support for point guard Hayward to help handle Tyrone’s late-game pressure.
“I thought Liz and Cass were huge there down the stretch,” Sedlock said. “They (Tyrone) were all over McKenna, and Cassidy was able to get the ball and make good decisions with it. And Liz found the opening under the hoops and was able to finish. I thought they played a huge role in finishing the game for us.”
Bauer recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Wess added eight points for Central Cambria.
Sydney Shaw scored a game-high 16 points, including four 3-pointers, and added seven rebounds for Tyrone.
CENTRAL CAMBRIA (42): Wess 3 1-2 8, Hayward 4 2-4 11, Bauer 4 2-4 11, Bezek 3 0-0 6, Bopp 3 0-0 6, Szpala 0 0-0 0, Kudlawiec 0 0-0 0, Lockard 0 0-0 0. Totals – 17 5-10 42.
TYRONE (33): 3 0-0 8, Fusco 0 0-0 0, Ronan 0 0-0 0, Parker 2 1-5 6, Sy. Shaw 6 0-0 16, Sh. Shaw 1 0-0 3, Welsh 0 0-0 0, Getz 0 0-0 0. Totals – 12 1-5 33.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central Cambria 11 5 11 15 – 42
Tyrone 8 8 7 10 – 33
3-point goals – Central Cambria 3 (Wess, Hayward, Bauer); Tyrone 8 (Ramsey 2, Parker, Sy. Shaw 4, Sh. Shaw).
Records: Central Cambria (17-7); Tyrone (18-7).
Officials: Brad Martz, Jordan Forster, Pam Grimminger.