By Andy Close
AUSTIN — Cameron County is quickly becoming the story of the 2015 District 9 playoffs.
The Lady Raiders followed up an exhilarating triple-overtime win over A-C Valley Thursday with a stunning 45-38 upset over Port Allegany, the No. 2 seed in the Class A field and No. 4 Class A team in the state rankings.
What made the win even more improbable was the lopsided scores of Port Allegany’s wins over the Lady Raiders this season — 59-33 on Jan. 15 and 47-20 just a little over a week ago on Feb. 10.
But win they did, and they are now moving on to the state playoffs for the first time since 2003.
The Lady Raiders indeed responded, re-taking the lead for good on a runner by Guisto that made it 37-35 with 3:25 left.
Port Allegany (21-2) had their chances down the stretch, but Cameron County went 6-of-6 from the free throw line in the final 48 seconds.
Trailing by two, 39-37 with 1:12 to go, Port Allegany’s Kristina Francis called time out to set up a play.
Lynae Delacour’s jumper was off, but freshman Hanna Lathrop grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled.
Lathrop made one of two and Port fouled Madi Guisto, Susie’s younger sister. The sophomore, who scored a game-high 16 points, calmly knocked down both free throws for a 41-38 with 30 seconds left.
Port’s Somer Buchsenschutz had a runner in the lane that was off the mark on the ensuing possession and Madison Harrier grabbed the rebound and was fouled.
Harrier, who made the game winning free throws in third overtime against A-C Valley, put the game on ice, sinking both for a 43-38 lead.
Cameron County lost in the first round to Port Allegany in both 2011 and 2012, the latter of which came on a buzzer-beater by Buchsenschutz, then a freshman.
Sophomore Autumn Buchsenschutz, Somer’s younger sister, sparked the 10-0 run for the Lady Gators to start the second half, scoring the first six points of the quarter to help Port re-take the lead, 25-24.
Kendra Pelchy and Brooke Roys made it 29-24, but Madi Guisto followed with perhaps the biggest shot of the game.
Her three-pointer with 1:12 left in the third not only stopped the run and was Cameron’s first points of the quarter, it also gave the Lady Raiders the momentum back just when it seemed like Port had it all.
Madi Guisto drilled another three to start the fourth quarter, followed by another from Amelia Holjencin — her fourth of the game, with 6:08 remaining to tie the score at 33-all.
Any thought of the game going like the first two was erased mere moments after the opening tip.
Delacour drilled a corner three, which was immediately answered by Holjencin, her first of three in the quarter, as Cameron jumped out to a 10-7 lead.
That lead swelled to as many as nine, 22-13 on a triple by Madi Guisto early in the second quarter.
While Cameron County is moving on, Port Allegany’s terrific season comes to an end. It’s a bitter pill to sallow, especially for seniors Delacour, Somer Buchsenschutz and Roys, who all played pivotal roles in the Lady Gators’ three straight North Tier League titles as well as trips to the state playoffs in 2013 and 2014.
Looking ahead, Cameron County’s stunning run continues with the winner of the Clarion-Keystone game today. That game will be played Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.
Added Lyon: “I’m definitely glad to be able to end my senior year by going to states.”
NOTES: Roys led Port Allegany with 14 rebounds … Lyon led Cameron County with 12 rebounds and Harrier 10 … Both Guisto sisters have been in double figures scoring in both playoff games … 21 of Cameron County’s 45 points came from three-point range.
Cameron County 45, Port Allegany 38
Cameron County 15 9 3 18—45
Port Allegany 13 6 12 7—38
CAMERON COUNTY (45)
Madi Guisto 4-5-7-16, Amelia Holjencin 4-0-0-12, Susie Guisto 5-3-7-13, Madison Harrier 0-2-4-2, Mallory Lyon 1-0-0-2, Amily Schatz 0-0-0-0, Totals 14-10-18-45
PORT ALLEGANY (38)
Autumn Buchsenschutz 4-0-3-8, Somer Buchsenschutz 3-1-2-7, Lynae Delacour 2-0-0-5, Kendra Pelchy 1-0-0-2, Brooke Roys 5-3-3-13, Sam Metzger 0-0-0-0, Hannah Lathrop 1-1-2-3, Totals 16-4-8-38
Three-point FGs: Port Allegany (2) — Delacour, S. Buchsenschtuz; Cameron County (7) — Holjencin 4, M. Guisto 3