Hailee Rodgers

Cambridge Springs junior Hailee Rodgers secures a rebound during Monday’s game against Cochranton.

COCHRANTON — Cambridge Springs head coach Ryan McKissock knew coming into the game that it wasn’t going to be pretty, but the Blue Devils survived a physical challenge on the road to stay undefeated in the region. 

The Cardinals gave the Devils a run for their money, though. 

After a paltry four points in the first quarter, Cochranton outscored Cambridge 12-10 in the second quarter. The Red Birds trailed 21-16 at halftime.

The Cards faced an eight point deficit midway through the third stanza, but junior Chelsey Freyermuth drilled a 3-pointer at the top of the arc to cut it to five. She followed it up with a layup on the next possession. 

Junior guard Ella Gallo hit a 3-pointer in the corner to tie the game and send The Bird Cage into a frenzy. 

Cambridge was unfazed. Finley Rauscher nailed a 3-pointer of her own with 19 seconds left to give the Blue Devils a 32-29 advantage heading into the final quarter.

The shot took the energy out of Cochranton and Cambridge won by a 17-point margin. Cambridge beat Cochranton 49-32 at Cochranton High School on Monday.

“It was sloppy and we didn’t play very well. We had some kids out tonight that were missing with stuff and it kind of showed with our attitude and mentality coming in here. We were a little down, but I’m really proud of the kids,” McKissock said. “They battled and battled and battled. We knew coming in here it wasn’t going to be pretty, and it wasn’t, but we’ll take a road win anytime.”

On the other side, there’s something to be said for Cochranton battling Cambridge to a 29-29 ball game with just more than eight minutes left to play. The Blue Devils won the District 10 Championship last year and made a deep run in the state playoffs.

“Our effort and energy was awesome. Since our Saegertown loss last week, that’s what we’ve been preaching, coming in and playing hard. In the last few games that’s exactly what we’ve done, Cochranton head coach David Zamperini said. “Tonight we just ended up having too many turnovers in the fourth quarter and that was the big difference. We had it tied 29-29 and then we had inopportune bad passes that led to easy baskets for Cambridge.”

Cochranton committed 23 turnovers, while Cambridge coughed the ball up 14 times.

“We have to take care of the ball. Our biggest problem all year has been turnovers. We’re boxing out and rebounding fairly well right now. We just need to take care of the basketball,” Zamperini said. “We had fewer turnovers than they did in the second and third quarters and we won those quarters, so the key for us is going to be limiting turnovers.”

Leading Cochranton in points was Freymuth and Jaylin McGill, who each scored eight. McGill also drew the task of defending Edinboro University recruit Maddie Yanc, who was averaging 21.7 points per game entering the contest. Yanc finished with 7 points.

“That kid is the hardest worker I may have ever coached. She works hard and she wants it and she’s the key for us to win,” Zamperini said. “She has to get her touches and rebound, but on the same token our other kids need to step up and they’ve been slowly doing that. They need to complement her so teams can’t just double team Jay and call it a wrap against us.”

Leading the way for Cambridge was Haillee Rodgers with 14 points. Rauscher added 12 while Makenzie Yanc scored 11. 

The Blue Devils showed why they won a district championship last year — their depth of scoring.

“It’s not just Maddie and Makenzie, it’s everybody. These kids won the district title last year and it wasn’t just because of those two. I thought our kids stepped up big tonight,” McKissock said. “Brooklyn Cole came off the bench and did a good job for us tonight. She usually plays limited minutes, but she played in big spots tonight and did a really good job for us.”

Cambridge Springs is now 6-1 overall and 3-0 in Region 2 play. The Devils host Saegertown on Thursday for another region matchup.

“Our goal is to win the region. Obviously being in districts last year and making it to the elite eight, these kids know how to win. They want to win and expect to win,” McKissock said. “We have to survive the COVID-19 bug right now and keep getting better everyday because we’re still not where we need to be.”

Cochranton is 5-6 overall and 1-2 in region play. The Cardinals host Maplewood on Thursday for a region showdown.


Cambridge Springs (49)

Rodgers 6 1-2 14, Rauscher 5 1-2 12, Mk. Yanc 4 3-5 11, Md. Yanc 3 1-4 7, Kline 2 1-2 5.

Totals 20 7-15 49. 

Cochranton (32) 

McGill 4 0-4 8, Freyermuth 3 1-2 8, Ritcher 2 0-0 6, Gallo 2 0-2 5, Pfeiffer 1 0-0 3, Knapka 1 0-0 2.

Totals 13 1-8 32. 

Cambridge Springs    11   10   11  17     49

Cochranton                   4    12    13    3     32

3-point goals: Cambridge Springs — Rodgers, Rauscher; Cochranton — Ritcher 2, Freyermuth, Gallo. 

Records: Cambridge Springs 6-1, 3-0 Region 2; Cochranton 5-6, 1-2 Region 2. 

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