By Lisa Byers
January 25, 2013 7:00 a.m. COCHRANTON —
After winning nine of its first 11 games, including seven straight, the Cochranton girls basketball team hit a rough patch.
The Lady Cardinals dropped three in a row, including a 55-50 decision to Conneaut on Saturday that saw the Cards drop to two games back of the Eagles for first place in Region 3 and into a tie for second place with Saegertown.
Needless to say, the Lady Cardinals went into Thursday night’s game against Cambridge Springs not only hungry for a win, but in desperate need. It didn’t come pretty, but Cochranton got its win.
The Cardinals overcame a sluggish night shooting to beat the Blue Devils, 40-30, at the Bird Cage. The win avenged an earlier loss to the Spa and gave the Cardinals a half-game lead over Saegertown in the Region 3 standings heading into Saturday’s showdown.
Cochranton is now 10-5 overall and 5-2 in Region 3. Cambridge Springs fell to 8-6 overall and 3-4 in the region.
“I’m very proud of the way we have been playing even during that rough stretch,” Cochranton coach Gary Egli said. “Even (last night) as tough as it was at times, they battled it out and stuck together. And that’s when we play our best is when they stick together.”
During pregame warmups, it looked as though the Cardinals were going to have some kind of game as players were knocking down shots at will. But when the game started, it looked like it was going to be a bit of the same for the Cardinals, who had dropped three straight to Clarion, Seneca and Conneaut.
Cochranton made just 2 of 21 attempts in the first quarter and finished the half just 6 of 35, a success rate of 17.1 percent. Fortunately for the Cardinals, four of those field goals came from behind the arc in the second quarter, which saw them erase a four-point deficit.
Cochranton and Cambridge Springs went into the lockerroom tied at 18-18.
“We were getting good looks,” Egli said. “Fortunately they started looking more like shots in the second quarter.”
Cochranton took just its third lead of the game at the start of the third quarter on a lay-in by Morghan Egli off an in-bounds pass. Taylor Babb responded with a 3-pointer for Cambridge Springs, though, to put the Devils back in front 21-20. That was Cambridge’s last lead of the night.
“We have to take care of the ball,” Cambridge Springs coach Rick Grubbs said. “When we did what we were supposed to and got the ball inside we were scoring. But then we weren’t getting good passes and were forcing things … Give them credit, though. They started making shots.”
Cochranton went on a 7-0 run to take a 27-21 lead with 4:24 to play in the third quarter. Cambridge Springs did cut its deficit to just three four times.
Renee Dalbec pulled the Devils to within three for the final time with a jumper with just over five minutes to play. That basket, however, wound up being the Devils’ last.
“We made a mistake and they would capitalize,” Grubbs said. “That’s what it came down to.”
Madison Bernarding led all scorers with 16 points. Egli added 10 points for the Cardinals.
Paige Wolfrom dominated early and finished with 14 points for the Devils.