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Penns Manor takes it to Lady Red Devils

EBENSBURG — Coming off its first game since the holiday break, the Central Cambria girls basketball team was in quite the giving mood.

Penns Manor, who possessed a potent full-court pressure defense, didn’t show any signs of being bashful. During the semifinal round of the annual Steven’s Carpet One Hardwood Classic Friday night, numerous giveaways and turnovers plagued the Lady Red Devils all night long in a 66-37 defeat.

“We were sort of out of whack all game,” Central Cambria coach Brittany Sedlock said. “Penns Manor put the pressure on us. We had way too many turnovers. It was just a bad night.”

For most of the night, the Red Devils were inefficient at moving the ball up-court.

The Comets (8-0), spearheaded by the duo of Kassidy Smith and Lauren Dumm, applied pressure heavily and often to force Central Cambria into several miscues.

“We wanted to get into our press and our fast-break to try to wear them down a bit,” Penns Manor coach Jason Miloser said. “I give Central Cambria credit — they played a really good first half. I just think my girls battled and did a good job moving their feet on the press. That led to us being able to get some turnovers.”

Central Cambria (3-3) looked uneasy pushing the ball north, which was magnified by the absence of senior guard Kiersten Szpala.

Szpala, who typically dictates possession for her team most nights, missed Friday’s game due to a family trip.

“We were missing our point guard, and I think we really struggled,” Sedlock said. “Especially in the beginning, because nobody really wanted to handle the ball. We were so used to her handling it. I think that had a big effect.”

The Red Devils were also not too keen with the high tempo Penns Manor liked to play with.

Penns Manor moved the ball quickly and efficiently on the fast break, which quickly discombobulated Central Cambria defensively.

Several lanes were left uncovered through the chaos, which allowed the Comets to cash in on several open opportunities.

“We really tried to put pressure on their defense,” Miloser said. “These girls played with great effort and got a lot of second-chance opportunities.”

And to make matters worse, the Red Devils simply could not contain the firepower Penns Manor possessed in the paint. Central Cambria had several tall players among the likes of Liz Bopp and Maggie Kudlawiec who were able to clog the paint at points, but the sheer muscle and athleticism Penns Manor boasted created problems that just couldn’t be solved.

Smith, who finished the night with 19 points, was able to easily dribble through defenders and drive to the hoop on numerous occasions.

“Central Cambria has a lot of size, and our focus coming in was keeping them off the boards,” Miloser said. “We try to make sure that when our shots aren’t falling, we do a good job of attacking the hoop. We did a good job of finishing, but also making that extra pass and finding those girls underneath the hoop.”

The apparent mismatch, which yielded opposite results, left the Red Devils wondering just what went wrong.

“We have big girls. We’re a tall team. We’re usually a lot better than that,” Sedlock said. “We just seemed a step slow tonight. (Penns Manor) was able to do what they wanted on offense.”

It was not a night completely filled with low-lights for Central Cambria.

Bopp found success under the basket multiple times as she sunk six buckets for 12 points, and two treys from Megan Stevens helped supplement the Red Devil offensive effort.

But overall, everyone in the Central Cambria locker room left the game disappointed and wanting more.

“We have to play better defense. I don’t think we were communicating very well,” Sedlock said. “There seemed to be some miscommunication. We were leaving lanes wide open. We definitely need to learn from this and get better.”

Penns Manor advanced to face United tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the championship game of the Hardwood Classic.

Central Cambria will face Everett in the consolation game at 6 p.m.

“I think we’re a lot better than we played tonight,” Sedlock said. “I think a loss like this is going to be humbling. It can be a good thing. Hopefully we can get back into the gym, fix our mistakes and become a better team because of this. That’s our goal.”

PENNS MANOR 66, CENTRAL CAMBRIA 37

PENNS MANOR (66): Smith 7 5-7 19, Bagley 4 6-8 14, L. Dumm 5 1-2 12, Zayachak 3 2-2 9, M. Dumm 2 3-4 8, Peterman 1 0-0 2, Sleppy 0 2-2 2, Gillo 0 0-0 0, Orr 0 0-0 0, Baker 0 0-0 0, Hnatko 0 0-0 0. Totals–20 19-25 66.

CENTRAL CAMBRIA (37): Bopp 6 0-0 12, Stevens 4 0-0 10, Woods 0 4-4 4, Walwro 2 0-0 4, Moss 1 0-0 2, Bezek 1 0-1 2, Boyles 1 0-0 2, Shirk 0 1-2 1, Kudlawiec 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0, Ray 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 5-9 37.

SCORE BY QUARTER

Penns Manor 15 15 20 16 — 66

Central Cambria 7 11 9 10 — 37

3-point field goals: Penns Manor 3 (L. Dumm, M. Dumm, Zayachak); Central Cambria 2 (Stevens 2).

Records: Penns Manor (8-0); Central Cambria (3-3).

UNITED 51, EVERETT 47

United (51): Susick 2 0-4 4, Duplin 2 5-7 10, Fry 8 6-8 22, Silk 1 0-0 3, Travis 2 0-1 4, Murlin 4 0-2 8, Bevard 0 0-0 0. Totals — 19 11-22 51.

Everett (47): Nave 0 0-0 0, Ewing 2 3-7 8, Bulger 3 0-0 8, Maxwell 8 11-14 27, Iseminger 2 0-0 4, Leasure 0 0-0 0, Treece 0 0-0 0, L. Mills 0 0-0 0, Hicks 0 0-0 0. Totals — 15 14-21 47.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

United 5 17 10 19 — 51

Everett 7 14 8 18 — 47

3-point goals: United 2 (Duplin, Silk); Everett 3 (Ewing, Bulger 2).

Records: Everett (2-4); United (9-0).

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