The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 13, 2012

Cory Isenberg | Crunch time for area hoop teams

Cory Isenberg

— The regular season winds down this week with conference championships for the Laurel Highlands and WestPAC set for Saturday and district playoffs to follow.

The Northern Cambria boys (17-4) heading into Monday’s 80-47 loss to Tyrone, have already wrapped up the Heritage Conference title. The Colts and Golden Eagles are the unofficial top seeds in their respective classes in District 6, Class A for Northern Cambria and Class AA for Tyrone.

In the WestPAC, the Conemaugh Township girls will represent the North Section while Berlin Brothersvalley once again is the South winner. The Indians will face the Mountaineers in the title game at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center. Township won the regular-season meeting of the two teams, 61-43 back in December.

In the WestPAC boys title game, Shanksville-Stonycreek has nailed down the South Section title, but the North spot is between Conemaugh Township and Conemaugh Valley. The Indians have the upper hand and could take the spot if they defeat Windber on Wednesday.

In the Laurel Highlands, the boys from Penn Cambria and Greater Johnstown have earned their spots in the title game. The championship will mark a rematch of the Trojans and Panthers thriller won on a winning 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the game by Johnstown, 68-67 in early January.

In the LHAC girls championship, Westmont Hilltop has its ticket stamped and is awaiting the Section 1 winner, either Forest Hills or Bishop Guilfoyle. The Rangers, who lost to Bishop Guilfoyle at home, made the section race interesting by handing the Marauders their first LHAC loss in their Pleasant Valley gym since they joined the conference in the 2007-08 season. Forest Hills defeated Penn Cambria on Friday and faces Cambria Heights this week. If the Lady Rangers win that one, they will play in their first LHAC final.

The Hilltoppers have an interesting history with both Guilfoyle and Forest Hills so that championship matchup should also be an intriguing one.

Grand occasions: Conemaugh Valley’s Dalton Uncapher has been the lone 1,000-point scorer in the area for the longest time, but the list of others who have achieved the milestone is now growing by leaps and bounds and is up to 11 players including five within the last week.

Penn Cambria junior A.J. Leahey was followed by Bishop McCort senior Jill Kegg, Ligonier Valley senior Kristen Gabelt, Salisbury-Elk Lick senior Brandon Miller and Shade senior Becca Muha.

The earlier players to reach the milestone include: Junior Kayla Stockenus of Shanksville-Stonycreek; senior Becky Bard of Forest Hills; Salisbury senior Alex Beiler; Meyersdale senior Justin Donaldson; and Blacklick Valley junior Dalton Cesarz.

Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat.