By Pete Chiodo
Five games into the 2013-14 season and no one has yet to stop the Cochranton boys basketball team.
The Cardinals’ latest victim was Cambridge Springs, who went down hard to the Redbirds 71-35 on Tuesday night.
“We’re still improving,” said Cochranton head coach Scott McCurdy. “There is still so much to work on. We’re so far from arrived. ... We’ve just got to keep improving every game. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, look to improve. So yeah, we’re happy with the win, but we still want to get better.”
The Cardinals, showing no letdown after Friday’s big win over Class AA power Fairview, are now 5-0 on the year and 1-0 in Region 3.
“Always room for improvement,” said Cochranton senior Logan Herzberger. “Our last game was a pretty tough one against Fairview. We came out and won it in overtime and no one expected us to win it. But we saw that we can even improve more in that one, that we could have beat them without overtime and with more of a lead. And coming out here (Tuesday) we wanted to establish ourselves and prove a point that we’re the best team in the region.”
Cambridge Springs, meanwhile, fell to 1-4 on the season and 1-1 in the league.
Last night’s game opened with a competitive first quarter, which saw each team moving the ball well, finding open shooters and chucking in shots.
Cambridge led early 5-0. Cochranton battled back to take a 19-13 lead at the end of the first eight minutes Nick Dickson led the Cardinals with 10 points in the frame, making a pair of treys. Herzberger had seven points. For Cambridge, Austin Porter drained a pair of 3’s and scored eight.
Yet even though the first quarter was close, in the last couple minutes Cochranton was gaining steam. And by the time the second quarter rolled around, the Cards were in a full-on boil.
The Cardinals opened the second with a 16-point run, and ended up out-scoring Cambridge 22-1 for the entire frame.
“We just stepped up on defense,” said McCurdy. “That’s been more of an emphasis for us this year right from the beginning. We’ve got the shooters. We’ve got the ball-handlers. We’re trying to get out and run and get better at pushing the ball and at getting stops, so on that one night when we’re not shooting the ball well we’re still getting stops.”
There were stops aplenty in that second quarter. Cambridge Springs just could not penetrate Cochranton’s defense. The Blue Devils were 0-for-10 from the floor in the period. That “0” is one thing. However, the “10” is also glaring. They only got 10 shots from the floor and not one of them was very good.
“We had no good looks in the second half,” said Cambridge Springs head coach Kevin Kurt. “And a large part of it was we were watching somebody go one-on-one instead of continuing to move and continuing to set our screens. Everybody just kind of stopped. We looked like deer in headlights at times. We were just frozen in our spots, instead of continuing to move like we did in the first quarter.
“I thought we played extremely well in the first quarter. We were getting open looks because of our movement. We were patient. Shots were falling for us. ... We just seem to go cold at times this year. Then you can see everyone tightens up.”
Cochranton also forced Cambridge into turning over eight possessions in the period. And with that, the Cardinals were able to get into transition and score some easy buckets.
“We didn’t come out too strong, but we picked it up on ‘D’ (in the second quarter),” said Herzberger. “We held them to one point in the second quarter. That was exciting.”
Dickson had another six points to end the half with 16. Herzberger scored four more to end the half with 11. Garrett Adams scored five. Josh Vanderhoof scored four. Nick Sekerski had three off the bench.
Dickson would end the game with 16 points. Halfway through the second he was fouled hard by Gavin Hohn on a fast break and went down on his left arm. McCurdy said he stung it. The decided to keep him out and put some ice on it, but he expects Dickson to be back in practice today.
Plus, with Cochranton in complete control at 41-14 going into the break, Dickson wouldn’t be needed anyway. And indeed, the Cardinals carried on to the final score.
Adams went on to score a dozen in the second half to lead his team with 19 points. Dickson followed with his 16. Herzberger had 13. Nate Wigton finished the night with 11 points to give four Cardinals players double-digits for the night.
For Cambridge Springs, Porter led the way with 10 points. Jarred Ferris followed with nine. Steve Reisenauer had eight.