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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Fall Fastbreak – Cambridge Springs

Cambridge Springs Blue Devils
Boys
Coach (season, record): Kevin Kurt (4th season, 45-24)
2011-12 overall record: 15-8
2011-12 region record (place): 6-2 (second)
2011-12 playoff results: Lost to North East 52-33 in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Matt Palmero, Geoff VanWinkle
Top returning players: Marcus Palmero, Derek Merry, Austin Porter, Gavin Hohn, Hayden Schmidt
Assistant coaches: Jack Blatnick, Kevin Taylor
Outlook: Cambridge Springs continues to improve under coach Kevin Kurt. The Blue Devils finished in second place in Region 4 last winter and ran into a red-hot North East team in the first round of the playoffs. Cambridge will need to fill two big holes with the graduation of Matt Palmero and Geoff VanWinkle. Palmero, the Region 4 Player of the Year and all-region first-team selection, averaged 15.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game as a senior. VanWinkle was second in scoring with 11.3 points per game and led the Blue Devils with 8.8 rebounds per game. Cambridge has a veteran group back but Kurt needs several players to step into leadership roles. Marcus Palmero could be the ideal candidiate. Marcus Palmero, a senior and younger brother to Matt, averaging 9.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last winter to be voted to the all-region first team. Senior Derek Merry is also back along with steady juniors Austin Porter, Gavin Hohn and Hayden Schmidt. The Blue Devils could also receive immediate contributions from juniors Alec Hockenberry, Josh Huff, Jared Ferris and Tyler Fiely. If nothing else, this season could gain valuable experience for a solid group of juniors. Cambridge should be a contender in its region, once again, and its success in the postseason will depend on how quickly the young team comes together.

Schedule
December
7-8 Cambridge Springs tournament
12 Girard 7:30
14 Youngsville* 7:30
18 Cochranton* 7:30
19 at North East 7:30
21 at Maplewood* 7:30
27-28 Northwestern tournament
January
3 Saegertown* 7:30
10 Lakeview 7:30
11 at Conneaut* 7:30
15 Eisenhower* 7:30
22 at Youngsville* 7:30
25 at Cochranton* 7:30
29 Maplewood* 7:30
February
1 at Saegertown* 7:30
5 at Sharpsville 7:30
6 Union City 7:30
9 Conneaut* 7:30
12 at Eisenhower* 7:30
15 Jamestown 7:30
*Region 3 games

Girls
Coach (season, record): Rick Grubbs (2nd season, 13-9)
2011-12 overall record: 13-9
2011-12 region record (place): 8-6 (fourth)
2011-12 playoff results: Lost to Greenville 26-23 in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Kendall Spaid, Anna Kirk, Ashley Baer, Kate English, Chelsie Cox, Tara Krzysiak
Top returning players: Brianna Babb, Renee Dalbec, Nicole Dalbec, Paige Wolfrom
Assistant coach: Steve Baer
Outlook: Cambridge Springs received a break with the new regions by avoiding the Class AA powers the Blue Devils have been dealing with the past few years. The bad news is Cambridge is very young and might struggle with its chemistry this season. The Blue Devils graduated Kendall Spaid, Anna Kirk, Ashley Baer, Kate English, Chelsie Cox and Tara Krzysiak in the spring. Spaid was voted to the all-region second team as a senior and each of the graduated players contributed over the last few years. Despite a brutal region, Cambridge made the playoffs and knows how to win. Seniors Brianna Babb, Renee Dalbec, Nicole Dalbec and Paige Wolfrom are back to lead a young and inexperienced team. Babb is the only returning starter but Wolfrom and the Dalbec sisters did see playing time last winter. Freshman Taylor Babb could make an impact this season along with a strong group of her classmates. The Blue Devils’ freshmen have played together for a few years and could direct the program over the next four years. Cambridge’s travel is significantly better this year with a Crawford County-based region and their success will depend on how quickly the younger players adjust to the varsity level.

Schedule
December
7-8 Farrell tournament
12 at Union City 7:30
13 Conneaut* 7:30
17 Cochranton* 7:30
18 at Girard 7:30
20 at Eisenhower* 7:30
26-27 Corry tournament
January
5 Youngsville* 7:30
9 at Northwestern 7:30
10 at Saegertown* 7:30
15 at East 7:30
17 Maplewood* 7:30
22 at Conneaut* 7:30
24 at Cochranton* 7:30
28 Eisenhower* 7:30
31 at Youngsville* 7:30
February
5 Saegertown* 7:30
9 at Harbor Creek 2:30
11 at Maplewood* 7:30
12 East 7:30
*Region 3 games

Monday: Cathedral Prep

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Basketball, Fall Fastbreak

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