Tyrone to face Penn Cambria in second round District game

Tyrone and Penn Cambria have already met twice this year, and the two teams will now face each other a third time when they meet in the second round of the District 6 AAA playoffs.
The home team has won in each game, with Tyrone coming out on top back on Jan. 13 by the count of 68-62, and Penn Cambria winning big on Feb.3, 61-44.
In the first game the Golden Eagles headed into their contest with the then 10-1 Panthers on a three game winning streak, and were able to cool down Penn Cambria’s offense with physical, hard nosed basketball.
“We didn’t play aggressive the second game,” commented Tyrone head coach Mike Harris. “The first game we were aggressive, we were smashing through screens, not caring if the refs called fouls or not. In the second game I saw some guys backing down from things, getting shoved around, when in the first game we were the ones doing that.”
Tyler Mertiff and Brady Hoover led the way for Tyrone in the first game, with Mertiff netting 24 points while Hoover accounted for 19. When the two teams met again for their second contest, Mertiff was held to 7 points, with Hoover chalking up 15 on a bad ankle. While Tyrone relies on Mertiff and Hoover for the bulk of their scoring, they will be looking to deliver a strong performance as a team.
“It’s very important,” Harris responded when asked about the importance of his team playing well collectively. “We need other guys to step it up. But they’re more comfortable and more aggressive, and we work on that in practice.”
When the Golden Eagles traveled to Cresson to face the Panthers, they fell behind early and couldn’t battle back. Penn Cambria relies on three-point shooting and fast break opportunities for their scoring, and when they get hot they are hard to stop.
“That’s key because they’re dangerous,” stated Harris on not allowing the Panthers to gain momentum. “Whether they’re up by 20 or down by 20 they play the same, no lead is safe with them. Their philosophy is that more than two passes leads to turnovers, and they just jack up threes.”
And most of the time they fall. In their losing effort against the Eagles, Penn Cambria nailed 14 three-pointers, which accounted for all but 20 of their points. The Panthers hit seven three-pointers in their win over Tyrone, all of them coming at key points to keep the Golden Eagles well behind.
“We’re in the same exact spot as last year,” said Harris. “We played number one Westmont. Our kids like being the underdog, they know what they have to do.”
Last year the Golden Eagles knocked off the top-seeded Hilltoppers, and this year they will have to do the same against the top-seeded Panthers. They did it back on Jan. 13, and they hope to do it again Tuesday at the Altoona Field House. Tip off is at 6:30 p.m.