CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS — The Cambridge Springs girls basketball program has had some incredible senior trios over the last few years. With that came some pretty high expectations.
While Ashton Hoover, Brooke Myers and Rachel Swanson have played crucial roles in the Lady Blue Devils’ success since the 2017-18 season, they have lived in the shadows of 2018 graduates Mollie Yanc, Lilli Mason and Alex Miller and 2019 graduates Julia Mailliard, Cori Schmidt and Abby Wescott.
How this year’s senior trio would respond in the spotlight was unknown.
“These girls have had two good groups ahead of them,” Cambridge Springs coach Rod Dies said. “No question. But these guys have come along. They learned from them and they pushed them to become the players they were. Now it’s paying off
“This group wasn’t expected to be where they are right now. I can’t be more proud of not only the seniors, but these 11 girls. We have 11 girls and they have just been rock solid for 22 games now. Beyond my expectations.”
Hoover, Myers and Swanson and the Lady Blue Devils celebrated that success on Monday night with a 57-19 win over Youngsville on Senior Night. And if that wasn’t enough, Hoover also added her name to a distinguished list at Cambridge Springs in the win, becoming just the sixth female player in school history to score her 1,000th career point.
Granted, the start of the contest was a little bit rocky as many fans sat on the edge of their seats waiting for Hoover to score her fifth point for No. 1,000. Hoover got the rock on the left wing and let it fly just a minute and five seconds into the contest. Nothing but net.
Just 48 seconds later, Hoover drove to the hoop. She was fouled on the layup attempt and sent to the line. She missed the first and let out a sigh before putting in the second for her 999th career point.
Swanson added to the Blue Devils’
scoring run with a layup to make it a 6-0 lead for Cambridge Springs with 5:41 to play in the first quarter. Then the moment the Lady Devils were waiting for. Hoover, again, let a 3-ball fly with 5:32 to play in the first. It, too, hit nothing but net. The celebration was on.
With the basket, Hoover became the first Lady Blue Devil to score 1,000 points since Aria Johnston did so in 2008, the same year Annie Wilson also hit the 1,000-point mark. Hoover finished the game with 16 points, giving her 1,011 career points — fifth all-time.
“I was really nervous at first,” Hoover said. “I had nightmares last night I was so nervous. But after I got into the groove of things, I knew I was OK.”
But again, while it seemed like Hoover’s night, it was Hoover, Myers and Swanson’s night as a trio.
“I feel like I couldn’t do anything without Brooke and Rachel by my side,” said Hoover, who showed more emotion as Dies pulled Myers and Swanson off the court one-by-one than when she scored No. 1,000. “They’re my rocks and they always have been. I always want what’s best for them more than I do for myself.”
Cambridge Springs wound up with a 21-2 advantage after one quarter. At the half that lead was 31-8. That allowed Dies to sub in some players and work on some things. After all, it could be a long while before the Devils see game action.
Unofficially, the Blue Devils are looking at a bye in the first round of the District 10 playoffs due to an opt out. That would put the Devils straight into the quarterfinals against the winner of the first round game between the Region 4 runner-up and the Region 2 six seed, which as of Monday were both opt outs.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with them,” Dies said. “You can scrimmage, but it’s still not a game in the playoffs.”
The Devils will enter the playoffs at 16-5 overall.
Swanson also finished in double figures for the Devils last night. She scored 14 points. Myers added eight points, six rebounds and three steals. Makenzie Yanc had eight points as well.