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Cambridge defends The Devils Den vs. arch-rival

Feb. 14—CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS — The Cambridge Springs Blue Devils and Saegertown Panthers boys basketball teams are less than 10 miles apart, share a school district and share a lot of animosity as well.

That formula led to a boisterous crowd and a great environment for local basketball fans at The Devils Den on Tuesday. After a 20-20 tie at halftime, Cambridge Springs prevailed in the second half and won 48-37.

"It was fantastic. You can't ask for a better environment as a player, as a coach or as a fan," Cambridge Springs head coach Becky Leandro said. "You couldn't have asked for a better game. It came down to the wire and it was exciting for everyone."

The first quarter gave the false sense of a high-scoring game to the standing room only crowd. Each team made contested shots and found easy layups with smart passes and backdoor cuts. Saegertown led 18-16 after the first period, then the teams combined to score six points in the second quarter.

"I think both teams stepped up their defense and got into the thralls of the game," Leandro said. "They got some energy and I think it was a heck of a defensive effort."

Each team's defensive intensity was through the roof and numerous shots clanged off the rim for both teams.

"I think both teams ratcheted it up on defense. 20-20 at halftime tells you it was a good defensive battle," Saegertown head coach Chris Greco said. "I don't think it was just poor shooting, I think it was good defense on both ends of the floor."

Cambridge led by six points late in the third quarter, but a Luke Young and-one and a Cody Huson 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds on the clock cut Cambridge's lead to one entering the final eight minutes of the game.

The teams traded buckets in the final stanza, but with about two minutes left, the Blue Devils took over.

Senior Parker Schmidt used his 6-foot 4-inch frame and some shifty spin moves in the post to get to the basket. He gave the Devils a five-point advantage, then he had a block at the other end. Schmidt got to the bucket again, and again, and gave his team a nine point lead with about a minute left to play.

Schmidt, Tyler Troutman and Tristen Mazzadra also converted at the free throw line in the final minute to keep the game out of reach.

"I think we took care of the basketball," Leandro said. "We took care of the tempo and we made our foul shots."

Schmidt finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and five blocks. Troutman tallied 11 points and five rebounds while Mazzadra had nine points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Luke Young finished with nine points for Saegertown with Cody Huson and Jackson Scott each adding eight. Young had 10 rebounds, Huson seven and Collin Jones added six assists.

"I can't fault their effort tonight. Our execution wasn't great. Certainly a lot of that goes to them, some of that falls on us. I am one that gives credit to the other team, I always do," Greco said. "They were prepared tonight and I told our guys we would see a different team than the team that was blown out by 20 points on our court. You're coming into a hostile environment. They did a good job of taking some things away."

Cambridge Springs moved to 15-5 overall and 9-2 in Region 3 action. Cambridge will conclude the regular season on Friday at home against Cochranton. A win would trigger, at least, a co-region championship with Saegertown. Eisenhower is also 9-2 with its final region game on Friday.

Saegertown concluded its regular season at 15-6 overall and 10-2 in the region. Saegertown, Cambridge and Eisenhower's two region losses are all to each other. If Cambridge and Eisenhower win on Friday, the Region 3 title will be shared between the three teams.

"Tri-region champs is nothing to slouch about when truly no one believed we had a chance. I know she didn't believe, I know Eisenhower didn't believe and I know I said at the beginning of the season we would surprise some teams. And hey, we surprised them," Greco said. "We had a chance to win it outright, but things didn't go our way tonight. I'll take a region cahmpoiokhip up on the wall even if I have to share it with someone."

District 10 will release the basketball playoff brackets on Sunday.

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Saegertown (37)

Young 3 2-3 9, Jones 2 2-6 7, Huson 3 0-0 8, Scott 4 0-0 8, Shaffer 1 0-0 2, Draa 1 0-0 2, Wilkinson 0 1-2 1.

Totals: 14 5-11 37.

Cambridge Springs (48)

Schmidt 5 7-7 17, Troutman 3 5-10 11, Mazzadra 4 1-3 9, Brown 2 1-2 6, Carson-Smith 1 0-0 2, Thayer 0 1-2 1, Riley 1 0-0 2.

Totals: 16 15-24 48.

Saegertown 18 2 10 7 — 37

Cambridge Springs 16 4 11 17 — 48

3-point goals: Saegertown — Huson 2, Jones; Cambridge Springs — Brown.

Alex Topor can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at atopor@meadvilletribune.com.