By Pete Chiodo
SLIPPERY ROCK —
The West Middlesex boys basketball team showed that it was more than just their big man inside while dismantling Cambridge Springs 75-53 during a District 10 Class AA quarterfinal meeting at Slippery Rock University’s Morrow Fieldhouse on Thursday.
While said big man — 6-foot-3 junior forward Trey Staunch — did his thing, scoring 30 points and pulling down 17 rebounds, the Big Reds’ backcourt helped out with 11 3-pointers. The Devils’ defense was darned if it did, darned if it didn’t.
“I don’t even know how many 3s they had, but if you left them free for a second (they would shoot),” said Cambridge Springs head coach Kevin Kurt. “We’d collapse in the middle and they’d kick it out and hit the 3. We couldn’t win. It was frustrating for the kids and it was frustrating for me as a coach.”
With the win, West Middlesex (18-5) moves on to the semifinal round to face Mercyhurst Prep, which defeated Mercer 59-42 last night. A site and time for the game will be announced later.
Cambridge Springs, meanwhile, ends its season with a record of 8-14.
“The kids played hard,” said Kurt. “I’m so proud of them. I told them in the locker room, the seniors, they had some great high school careers. They have a region championship under their belts, made the playoffs three out of the four years. They really set the example of what we want our program to be about.”
Those seniors went out swinging, too. Austin Porter led the Devils with 12 points. Gavin Hohn, another 12th grader, scored 11 points.
The Devils had a couple underclassmen step up too, with junior Josh Huff bucketing a pair of 3-pointers and scoring 10 points while sophomore Steve Reisenauer made some great moves to the basket while scoring nine points.
Even so, Cambridge couldn’t keep up with the Big Reds and their variety of weapons.
Staunch, again, was the centerpiece. He tallied nine field goals and drew numerous whistles, knocking down 12 of 14 free throws. He converted three of four three-point plays.
“He battles for position,” said Kurt. “You’ve got to give him credit; he works hard. We tried the best we could to block him out.”
Staunch scored nine points in the first quarter, but was held to just two more in the second.
Cambridge clung to Middlesex during this stretch, getting as close as six points (26-20) with under three minutes to go in the half.
However, with Staunch struggling, the Reds looked outward. There they found Ryan Dogan, who had three 3-pointers in the second quarter; and Isaac Williams, who knocked down two others.
Cambridge was happy to get out of the half trailing by just 10 points (35-25).
“We competed,” said Kurt. “I guarantee you not many people were thinking we’d only be down by 10 at the half.”
In the third quarter, however, Middlesex pulled away, using a renewed effort with the press and finding Staunch inside to with the period 24-6.
“I though we maybe had a little first-round jitters in the first half,” said West Middlesex head coach Chad Mild. “But we came out in the third quarter, settled down and took control.”
The Reds scored the first 10 points of the period. Dogan stayed hot from the perimeter, knocking down three more treys. He would finish the night with six total and 18 points.
Williams added a couple more 3s in the second half to finish the game with five. He scored 17 points.
“We got it going tonight,” said Mild. “I thought our guys did a nice job finding each other.”