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Panthers top rival Blue Devils 71-52

Jan. 20—SAEGERTOWN — With a balanced offensive attack and an aggressive defense, the Saegertown Panthers defeated arch-rival Cambridge Springs 71-52 on Friday night.

It was Saegertown's first win against Cambridge since Jan. 28 2022, and its first win against the Blue Devils at home since 2013.

"I can't be anymore proud to be a Saegertown Panther than I am tonight," Saegertown head coach Chris Greco said.

Panthers freshman Jackson Scott made a layup at the buzzer at the end of the first stanza. From there, Saegertown gained an edge on its Region 3, and fellow PENNCREST rival, with a huge second quarter.

Less than a minute into the second quarter, Cambridge Springs senior Parker Schmidt collected his third foul. The absence of Cambridge's leading scorer and defensive anchor is partly why the Panthers outscored Cambridge 17-8 to take a 38-22 lead at half.

"He (Schmidt) is a very good basketball player. We mixed some things up defensively," Greco said. "The defense was moving and that's the key — when we move on both ends of the floor. Our athletes will be athletic. We are not always the best with basketball IQ, but we are athletic and we are long."

With a 16-point lead, Saegertown stayed hot and led by as many as 22 points in third quarter. The Panthers moved the ball well and shot efficiently.

"The decision making we had, the unselfish basketball I've been preaching, the ability to take a shot in rhythm," Greco said. "We don't have a crazy deep bench, but our role players know what they have to do when they go in there. Yes, it's a huge win. We can't look ahead, that's a trap you fall in."

Cambridge responded early in the fourth quarter and cut the deficit to 12 with a Tyler Troutman jump shot, but that was as close as the Devils would come.

Troutman led Cambridge with 19 points. Schmidt and Daniel Brown each added seven while Owen Riley and Tristen Mazzadra each added six.

Cambridge is 8-5 overall and 3-2 in the region. The Blue Devils will play at Cochranton on Tuesday before hosting Eisenhower on Friday in a series of region matchups.

"It doesn't define us as a team, it doesn't define our season," Cambridge Springs head coach Becky Leandro said. "We just know we have some work to do."

Saegertown was led by senior Cody Huson with 20 points. Scott had a double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds with four steals.

Collin Jones and Luke Young each scored 13 points. Jones added seven assists and five rebounda while Young had eight rebounds and five assists. Sam Draa grabbed 10 rebounds and added nine points.

"The message to the kids didn't just occur tonight. The message was we have to prepare better. We know we're going to play our rivals and they're going to give us their best effort so we have to step up the intensity," Greco said. "We put up 71 points, that's a great offensive effort and they're not a bad defensive team. We knew they were going to pressure us.

"We adjusted very well and all the execution we had the last couple days of practice really showed tonight. I was really proud of them."

Saegertown is second in the region at 4-1. The Panthers are 9-5 overall and will play a non-region game at Fort LeBoeuf on Tuesday.

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Cambridge Springs (52)

Troutman 6 5-8 19, Schmidt 3 1-3 7, Brown 3 0-0 7, Riley 2 1-4 6, Mazzadra 3 0-0 6, Carson-Smith 2 0-0 5, Thayer 1 0-0 2.

Totals 20 7-15 52.

Saegertown (71)

Huson 9 0-0 20, Scott 6 2-4 16, Jones 4 5-6 13, Young 5 3-4 13, Draa 4 1-4 9.

Totals 28 11-18 71.

Cambridge Springs;14;8;13;17;—;52

Saegertown;21;17;18;15;—;71

3-point goals: Cambridge Springs — Troutman 2, Riley, Brown, Carson-Smith; Saegertown — Huson 2, Scott 2.

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