At full strength, Greater Johnstown pulls away from Central Cambria

·3 min read

Jan. 27—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Greater Johnstown's Nyerre Collins had missed the previous three games, so the junior guard made up for the lost time on Wednesday night at Doc Stofko Gymnasium.

Collins scored 26 points, including four 3-pointers, as the Trojans snapped a four-game losing streak in a 73-42 victory over Central Cambria.

"I had a good warmup," Collins said. "If I shoot good in warmups, I shoot good in the game."

Collins said he felt nearly 100% since suffering an ankle injury nearly two weeks ago.

"He got hurt the first quarter of the McCort game," Trojans coach Ryan Durham said of a 63-60 loss to the rival Crimson Crushers on Jan. 14. "He didn't play our next game against Westmont (a 55-49 loss). He missed Bedford (56-54 loss) and he missed Richland (56-47). All of those games were tight, one or two possessions.

"He averages 26 points a game. To lose a player like that in a tight game, it hurts."

The four losses during the skid came by a combined 20 points.

The three-time defending District 6 Class 4A champion Trojans are 6-9 and 4-8 in the LHAC. Central Cambria is 4-12 overall and 4-7 in the conference.

The Red Devils earlier had a six-game losing streak but have won three of the past seven.

"I told the kids in the locker room we've just got to continue to battle," Central Cambria coach Adam Stephan said. "We've got to continue to do all the little things. We've got to set the good screens. We've got to make the hard cuts. We've got to finish around the rim.

"In the (District 6 Class 3A) playoffs, they're taking 10 teams. Hopefully we can string a couple of these together and claw our way in."

Greater Johnstown senior J.J. Malcolm made it 9-0 with a basket inside at 5:13 of the opening quarter. Malcolm had 15 points and nine rebounds. Trojans sophomore Jahmir Collins, Nyerre's younger brother, scored 19 points.

"We needed it," Durham said of the fast start.

"We've been losing some close games. There never are any excuses, but just to have everybody full-strength. There haven't been many games all year when we've had our full roster.

"When we have our full roster we're 5-1," Durham added. "We've been dealing with so many injuries and sickness and missing guys being out."

Central Cambria consistently stayed within six points of the Trojans in the second quarter.

But Greater Johnstown freshman Donte Tisinger hit a 3-pointer ahead of the buzzer to give his team a 35-26 halftime advantage.

"This is our third game in three days," Stephan said. "I could tell we were kind of sluggish at the start. We settled in and battled back. We had it to six points right before the half. They hit a tough shot right at the buzzer before the half.

"I could see as the second half wore on our legs started going a little bit," he said. "We were exchanging 2's for 3's.

"Anytime you do that, it's tough to get back in the game."

Red Devils senior Hobbs Dill had 14 points, with three 3-pointers. Daric Danchanko, a 6-foot-8 senior, had 14 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out late.

"They played off of him and gave him a little space. We gave him the freedom to go at Johnstown," Stephan said of Danchanko's presence. "He really performed well. He was a man in there and I'm really proud of him."

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.