Golden Eagles Fall to Penn Cambria in District VI semifinal

Tyrone and Penn Cambria met up for the third time this season Tuesday night in Altoona, with each team coming in with a win and a loss against the other. The Panthers got the season edge on Tyrone, defeating the Golden Eagles 59-49 in the second round of the PIAA District Six Playoffs.
Top seeded Penn Cambria got off to a quick start courtesy of Anthony Choros’ first three-pointer of the game. Choros would hit four threes on the night, finishing the contest with 14 points. But aside from one more connection from behind the arc four minutes later, the rest of the first quarter would be all Tyrone.
Down 5-0 after the first two minutes the Golden Eagles came right back, as Brady Hoover and Tyler Mertiff scored the next four points of the game. After a PC field goal, Hoover and Mertiff combined for another four straight points for Tyrone, putting the Golden Eagles up by one. Next came Choros’ three, but 3 of 4 foul shots dropped for Tyrone down the stretch to give them a one point lead heading into the second quarter.
Although the Panthers started off the quarter with a bang, things would get a lot better for Tyrone. Choros drilled another three two minutes into the second frame, but his team wouldn’t find their way back to the scoreboard for five minutes. In that time the Golden Eagles exploded on a 14-0 run, nine of those points coming from Kevin Hershberger.
Hershberger started the run with a short field goal, and scored again 20 seconds later. Mike Ashcroft found the hoop only 15 seconds after that, with Hershberger putting Tyrone ahead 19-13 with another basket shortly after. From here the Golden Eagles would actually wait awhile before scoring again, holding the ball for two minutes before Hershberger drained a three-pointer for the fifth seeded Eagles. Hoover would score next, with an Ashcroft steal leading to a Leonard Wilson free throw to put Tyrone ahead by a dozen. Penn Cambria would score the next five points, but Ashcroft found the hoop with 15 seconds left to send his team into the locker room up nine.
“That’s how we wanted to play,” stated Tyrone head coach Mike Harris of the run. “That should have carried over into the second half and into the fourth quarter, but it didn’t.”
“We might have gotten a little tired out there, but they’re (Penn Cambria) awfully tough,” continued Harris. “They keep coming at you, and coming at you, and they don’t stop. We might have gotten a little out of sync out there with Brady out with three fouls.”
Hoover’s three personal fouls at the halfway mark would keep him out of action to start the third quarter, and the Panthers used this time to take it right to the opposing Eagles. Penn Cambria would start the second half with an 8-0 run to reduce the lead to one, six of the points coming on a pair of three pointers.
Ben Gummo got Tyrone on the board in the second half, cutting back door and taking an Ashcroft pass straight up to the basket for two. But the Panthers had found their mark from behind the arc, and responded to Gummo’s score with their sixth three-pointer of the game, this one tying the contest at 29. Mertiff regained the lead for Tyrone with a field goal on his team’s next possession, but yet another Panther three-pointer took the lead right back.
Here the Golden Eagles got the momentum back on their side, as Mertiff would come up with a pair of plays to help his team back to a three point lead. First he regained the lead with a field goal, and then he would help bolster the lead with a nifty pass. The Tyrone senior came down the court with the ball, driving the lane and taking off for a leaning jumper. Instead of taking the shot, however, he spun in the air and dished to a wide open Wilson, who made the easy bucket.
Choros had become quiet since his early flurry of threes, and would tack on another after Mertiff’s nifty pass. This time the shot tied the game at 35, and after both squads traded a basket Penn Cambria had tied the game and stolen the momentum.
And they would use it to keep right on rolling, scoring the final quarter’s first six points. After Hershberger kept Tyrone within a possession with a three-pointer at the 3:32 mark the Panthers took over and never looked back. For the rest of the game they outscored Tyrone 16-9, with six of those Golden Eagle points coming from Mertiff in the final minute. Mertiff hit a three-pointer with 48 seconds left, and while attempting another 10 seconds later he was fouled. He made all three to keep Tyrone’s hopes alive, but the Panthers converted their foul shots down the stretch to seal the win.
With the loss Tyrone falls to 14-11, and will face Lewistown, who was defeated last night by Central Cambria 68-63 in the nightcap at the Altoona Fieldhouse in a semifinal Class AA contest. The Golden Eagles are 1-1 against Lewistown during the Mountain League season.
Penn Cambria 59 Tyrone 49
Individual Scoring
TYRONE- Mertiff 5 5-5 16, Hoover 4 1-4 9, Ashcroft 2 1-2 5, Gummo 1 0-0 2, Wilson 2 1-3 5, Hershberger 5 0-4 12. TOTALS 19 3-8 49.
PENN CAMBRIA- Dongell 1 1-3 4, Bernazelli 0 0-0 0, Choros 5 0-0 14, McCoy 6 7-9 20, Lapcznsky 0 0-0 0, Dziabo 6 1-2 13, Thomaselli 1 0-0 2, Lee 2 0-0 6. TOTALS 24 9-14 59.
Score by Quarter
Tyrone 11 16 10 12 – 49
Penn Cambria 10 8 19 22 – 59
Three-point Goals: Tyrone 3 (Mertiff 1, Hershberger 2); Penn Cambria- 8 (Dongell 1, Choros 4, McCoy 1, Lee 2)