The Penn Cambria Panthers rolled into Tyrone Monday evening looking to defend their 10-1 record, but fell victim to an upset minded Tyrone squad 68-62.
“It’s big, we needed this win,” stated Golden Eagle Head Coach Mike Harris of the victory. “We needed to use that momentum out of the Hollidaysburg tournament to carry us through. Right now we have the focus at practice, we’re working real hard.”
Golden Eagle captain Tyler Mertiff opened the scoring by hitting two foul shots only 4 seconds into the game. The Tyrone senior would find the hoop many more times on the night, finishing with a game high 24 points. Penn Cambria displayed their offense very early as well, when Anthony Choros hit a three pointer in the first minute. Choros led the way for Penn Cambria, tallying 22 points and 6 threes for the Panthers.
After another Panther three pointer the Golden Eagles rattled off six straight points to move ahead by one. Penn Cambria responded with their third straight three, but Tyrone outscored the Panthers 6-3 in the final two minutes of the opening quarter to end the first up one.
The second quarter started just like the first, when Mertiff struck first for the Golden Eagles. After a Choros field goal Tyrone’s Brady Hoover scored four of his 19 points by hitting consecutive buckets down low. Mertiff followed by hitting three straight shots, and after Ben Gummo nailed a jumper the Golden Eagles found themselves up big courtesy of a 12-0 run. The Panthers were able to keep it close however, bringing the game to within 6 after outscoring Tyrone 10-4 in the final two minutes of the first half.
“That was key to get some momentum going at halftime,” commented Harris of his team’s run in the second quarter. “They (Penn Cambria) can really score points in a hurry.”
The Panthers displayed that offensive firepower out of the locker room, alternating buckets with Tyrone throughout the quarter but hitting four threes to bring the game within two. However, the Golden Eagles were able to gain the advantage in the final seconds of the quarter. Freshman Leonard Wilson nabbed a rebound with only 2 seconds left and put up the close range shot, which stayed on the rim well after the buzzer sounded but fell to give the Eagles a 6 point lead heading into the final quarter.
“That was key,”said Harris of the last second shot. “He’s got a real good head on his shoulders, and he’s only a freshman.”
Wilson road the momentum of his shot into the opening moments of the fourth quarter, taking a full court inbounds pass to the basket and converting the three point play after being fouled on the layup. Mertiff opened up the lead even more, driving the baseline for a score in traffic to put his team up 53-42.
The Panthers were not willing to give up, relying on two three pointers in half a minute to keep the game within reach. Penn Cambria continued to battle back, as Brett Dongell stole the ball on Tyrone’s half of the court, was fouled as he layed the ball in, and hit the free throw to pull the Panthers within 4.
The Golden Eagles dug deep, however, and went on a 10-3 run that exhausted nearly five minutes from the clock. Senior Mike Ashcroft scored 4 points on the run, and totaled 6 points in the fourth quarter to help ensure the Tyrone victory. Choros hit two consecutive three point baskets in fifteen seconds down the stretch, but the Golden Eagles were too much for the Panthers in the fourth quarter.
“Every program has something they hang their hat on,” commented Harris. “We want to establish that blue collar mentality. We scrap out there, we dive for loose balls. We out hustle people, we’re tougher than they are, and tonight I think that really paid off.”
Harris’ Eagles up their record to 8-5 with the victory, and play host to Bishop Guilfoyle Friday night. When the two teams met for Tyrone’s second game of the season, the Golden Eagles came away with a 65-56 victory at Guilfoyle.
“BG’s tough, they’re really tough,” said coach Harris. “We beat them at their place, and they’re going to have a chip on their shoulders. They have a great program, and it’s the first game of the second cycle. After that we have Huntingdon and Indian Valley, so Friday’s game is going to be big.”
Tyrone’s jayvees improved to 10-1 in their contest against the Panthers prior to the varsity game. Adam Hoover led all scorers, totaling 14 for the Eagles. Kevin Hershberger chipped in 12 for Tyrone, and Barry Gummo added 11.
“The jayvees played great defense, they hustled to the ball, and they executed great to get us where we’re at,”stated coach Luke Rhoades after his junior varsity squad put the Panthers away 64-48. “We have guys ready to contribute and ready to play varsity. They’re playing really hard.”
Tyrone 68 Penn Cambria 62
Score by Quarters
Tyrone- 15 18 15 20 – 68
Penn Cambria 14 13 15 20 – 62
Tyrone- Mertiff 10 4-7 24, Hoover 9 1-1 19, Gummo 1 0-0 2, Ashcroft 4 2-2 10, Grazier 2 0-1 4, Wilson 4 1-1 9. TOTALS 30 8-12 68
Penn Cambria- Dongell 1 1-1 3, Choros 1 2-5 22, McCoy 1 1-2 9, Laplznky 0 0-1 6, Dziabo 2 0-2 7, Butler 1 1-5 3, Tomaselli 2 1-2 7, Lee 1 0-0 5. TOTALS
Three-Point Goals: Penn Cambria 14 (Choros 6, McCoy 2, Laplznky 2, Dziabo 1, Tomaselli 2, Lee 1); Tyrone- 0.