Meadville Tribune

Sports

February 19, 2014

Reds, Devils meet in Class AA quarterfinals

MEADVILLE — The Cambridge Springs boys basketball team and head coach Kevin Kurt aren’t harboring any delusions about where they stand heading into tonight’s District 10 Class AA quarterfinal game against West Middlesex.

“It’s a David-and-Goliath type of game,” said Kurt. “Nobody is giving us much of a chance. But we dont mind. We’ll accept the underdog role. Come 6:30 at Slippery Rock (University), we’ll be there.”

Cambridge Springs enters the contest with an at-large bid that was secured after finishing the regular season with a record of 8-13.

West Middlesex enters via an automatic bid thanks to winning the Region 2 title while finishing the season with a 17-5 record. The Big Reds are also looking to secure their third straight D-10 title. They won Class A two years ago in overtime against Kennedy Catholic. Then last year, they won a five-overtime game over Lakeview in the Class AA final.

So, the chips would seem stacked against the Blue Devils, both in wins and losses and postseason experience. Yet, these games are played for a reason. And Kurt believes his team hasn’t played its best contest yet. Should they find it tonight, the Devils could have a chance to post their first postseason victory since 1997, the year they finished runner-up to Greenville after a double OT loss in the title game.

“We’re still improving,” Kurt said. “We’re still waiting for that breakout game where the kids get hot. We have three or four kids that can get hot behind 3-point line. Hopefully they can do that on Thursday. We have the capability. We did it in the summertime. It just hasn’t been there this season. Hopefully we saved our best game for the playoffs.”

Cambridge indeed has some weapons. Senior forward Austin Porter is leading the team with 11.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game this season. Junior Josh Huff is scoring 8.5 points a game. Sophomore Steve Reisenauer averages 7.7 points and 3.1 assists per game. And senior Gavin Hohn chips in 6.8 points per game. Any of those guys are capable of having a big night.

“Austin has been the leader of that group,” said Kurt. “We’ge going to be relying on his leadership Thursday night. Stevie Reisenauer, our point guard, he’s had a great year for us. We’re going to be relying on him a lot. (West Middlesex) likes to trap. They’re very aggressive. He’ll  have to have his head up and see the floor and make good decisions with the ball.”

Should Cambridge gets its offense right, they’ll also have a tall task to face on defense — tall being the key word of that sentence.

“They’re very big, very long, very athletic,” Kurt said about the Big Reds. “We’re going to have work cut out for us.”

Among West Middlesex’s leaders is junior Trey Staunch, who stands at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds. Staunch is among Mercer County’s top scorers this season with 477 points, an average of 21.7 per game. The Reds also have some pivotal scorers in sophomores Ryan Dogan (9.7 ppg.) and Josh Porterfield (9.5 ppg.).

“Trey Staunch, he is a beast, muscular, athletic” said Kurt. “Stopping him inside is going to be a chore. And if we stop them inside, then we have to stop their shooters. Dogan and some of those other guys can shoot. We’ll have to close out on them at the 3-point line.”

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