T-D HS Basketball

Rams eliminate Panthers in 6-AA girls

By: Cory Isenberg

TYRONE — Injuries kept the Penn Cambria girls from playing without their starting five throughout most of the month of January and the Panthers finally turned the corner in February and won some big games.
But the injury bug reared its ugly head again and starting senior point guard Kaitlyn Krug went down in last week’s matchup with Forest Hills.
The Panthers readjusted again and put forth a huge effort against Penns Valley Monday night in a District 6 Class AA first-round game at Tyrone Middle School, put came up just short, dropping a 42-37 decision to the Rams.
“It’s a lot to ask kids in a playoff game to do something they are not used to doing, but it’s no excuse,” Penn Cambria coach Rodger Fair said. “Credit Penns Valley, they played a nice game. I think we turned the ball over more than 20 times and you’re not going to get many wins doing that.”
Senior Tori Shingler moved into the point guard spot and scored 10 points while grabbing nine rebounds for the Panthers, despite being limited in play by foul trouble.
Senior teammate Megan Wheeler added 10 points and eight boards while freshman Anna Audley chipped in nine points.
Penn Cambria (15-7) took its first lead in the second half just before the start of the fourth quarter on a conventional 3-point play by Audley.
Penns Valley (14-7), which will take on  top-seeded Blairsville later in the week at a time and place to be determined, tied it on a Kourtney Beamesderfer basket and pulled away for a 35-29 lead.
Shingler fouled out during that stretch, but the Panthers fought their way back, pulling to within two, 37-35, on a pair of free throws by Kaley Strittmatter with just under a minute to play.
Penn Cambria forced a steal and had a chance to tie it, but the Rams defense got back in time to force a turnover the other way.
The Rams were 13 of 16 from the free-throw line in the fourth.
“Our team focuses on defense and our girls go hard,” Penns Valley coach Andrea Borland said. “I have faith in them. They were able to get back and they did the job. The girls really fought hard and they fought together.
“We made some clutch free throws at the end so we did a nice job of weathering that storm.”
Penn Cambria held a 12-10 lead after the first with a pair of 3-pointers by Tori Shingler keying the early edge.
But in the second quarter, Penns Valley outscored the Panthers 14-3 with Audley scoring the lone basket in the frame for Penn Cambria.
The Cresson crew returned the favor in the third, outscoring the Rams 14-3 to take a 29-27 advantage heading into the final frame.
Krug tried to play in the third quarter, but was in obvious pain on the floor and had to go to the sidelines.
“We went in thinking she might give us some time, and she wanted to try, but I had a sub ready even before she pulled up,” Fair said.
Karli Ripka and Bethany Miller each had 11 points for the Rams while Tangie Lyons added seven rebounds.
“We’ve been behind a couple times going into the fourth quarter and came back to win so the magic kind of went away,” Fair said.