DuBOIS — If their offense wasn’t butter, the DuBois Beavers certainly spread it like it was during their 72-64 home-opening victory over Cambria Heights Monday.
That’s because DuBois (3-0) moved the ball well throughout the game, getting double-digit scoring from all five of its starters.
Junior Jonathan Cruz led the way with 16 points while senior Kenny Garvey and junior Alex Beers added 15 and junior Justin Manduley and sophomore Chase Husted finished with 12 each.
The Beavers got a big chunk of their scoring via the long ball as four players combined to hit nine 3-point shots.
Cruz and Beers each had three while Manduley had two and Garvey one.
But, their desire to pull the trigger on the 3s nearly cost them as Cambria Heights climbed back into the game when the shots didn’t go in.
“There was a time late in the game that we wanted to, not necessarily, delay the game but work for some great shots and take advantage of (Cambria Heights’) aggressiveness,” DuBois head coach Scott Creighton said. “But we started chucking 3s and, what could have potentially been a lead extender, allowed them to get back in the flow because we were missing shots.
“We just have to show some better judgment when it comes to taking them,” Creighton added.
DuBois had the Highlanders on the ropes several times in the second half, opening up leads of nine points, but just couldn’t shake them.
One of the reasons was the play of Cambria Heights’ Liam Wholaver, who dropped in a game-high 30 points, including 20 in the second half.
Wholaver and Nick Brawley, who scored 16, certainly made the offense go, but with the exception of a short-lived advantage in the second quarter, held the lead just once.
The two teams showed a willingness to run early as they combined for 32 points in the first quarter, with DuBois holding a 19-13 lead at the end of the first eight minutes.
An 11-3 Cambria Heights run to open the second was enough to overcome the deficit and put the Highlanders in front, 24-22, but that lead lasted for just over a minute.
This time it was the Beavers’ opportunity to flash some offense, and they did just that, outscoring Cambria Heights 13-4 to give them a 35-28 lead at the intermission.
The margin grew to as large as nine and as little as two in the third as the Highlanders eventually whittled it down to 47-45 with less than two minutes to play in the third.
However, a 5-0 run opened up a seven-point lead before Wholaver ended the frame with a jumper to make it 52-47 to start the fourth.
Some missed shots again allowed Cambria Heights to close the gap and they narrowed the lead to just one, 57-56, with about 3:50 left to play.
From there, it wasn’t necessarily the frequency of free throws made that helped the Beavers string out the lead down the stretch, but rather the sheer number of them that mattered most.
DuBois hit 10 of their 16 shots (62.5 percent) from the line over the final minutes, but made enough to keep the Cambria Heights offense from gaining any real ground as the Beavers held on for the win.
DuBois will now travel to Brockway Wednesday.