Paige Debias, Jordyn Smith, Maddie Cecere, Taylor Burda

From left are Forest Hills’ Paige Debias, Jordyn Smith, Maddie Cecere and Taylor Burda celebrating Smith’s 1,000th point during PIAA Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference game against Greater Johnstown, in Sidman, PA., Friday, Feb.19, 2021.

SIDMAN – Jordyn Smith was poised to net her 1,000th point on the free throw line on Friday night, when, uncharacteristically, the Forest Hills High School senior missed both shots.

Perhaps more appropriately, seconds later Smith got the ball back after a Rangers rebound and splashed a 3-pointer to extend a sizable lead over visiting Greater Johnstown.

Smith finished with 27 points – and now has 1,012 career points – in a 67-21 victory over the Trojans.

“I think the nerves got to me a little bit,” Smith said, referring to a couple of missed field goal attempts before the milestone shot. “I think I put the most pressure on myself. When I hit that blockage, I was like, ‘I just have to relax and know it’s coming.’

“My first points here were actually a 3, so it was only fitting to make a 3 and get it,” said Smith, who hit five 3-pointers in the game.

Undefeated Forest Hills (12-0) couldn’t have scripted a better night.

In addition to Smith reaching 1,000 points, Rangers senior Madeline Cecere finished with six rebounds, including the 500th of her career.

Before the game, a nearly half-hour ceremony honored players’ parents and spotlighted the seniors on each team.

Rangers coach Carol Cecere was even surprised when her daughter addressed the crowd and presented her coach/mom with a plaque recognizing Carol’s 400th win, which was recorded in the final game last season before COVID-19 halted play.

 

 

“Honestly, it’s just like a fairy tale,” Madeline Cecere said after scoring 10 points. “Mom getting her 400th win last year was a big win. It was nice to honor her tonight. It was awesome to honor Jordyn. It’s such a great milestone. She’s been playing outstanding the last four years, exceptional this year.”

Remingtyn Smith had 10 points and six rebounds, and Paige Debias had six points and eight boards for the Rangers.

“It feels really amazing,” Jordyn Smith said. “I just want to thank my coaches, Dave Roman, McConnell Hoops, and anyone who’s helped coach me along the way, and obviously my teammates for helping me get this milestone.”

Smith had a quick start with a 3-pointer and field goal to give the Rangers a 5-0 lead in the opening minutes.

She netted 12 second-quarter points and surpassed 1,000 with 1:43 remaining before halftime. 

The Rangers outscored the Trojans 22-2 in the second quarter to lead 41-6 at halftime and put a running clock into motion.

“A great night for Jordyn to do it in our last home game, especially with the cut-short season,” Coach Cecere said. “I could say so many things about her. I’m really proud of her effort and her always working to get better.This is an accolade for all of that work.”

Madeline Cecere reached the rebounding mark on an defensive board with 3:13 left in the third quarter.

“500 rebounds. Pretty good,” Coach Cecere said. “It was a really great night.”

Greater Johnstown didn’t score its first field goal until only 1:34 remained in the first quarter and Forest Hills led 16-4.

“Playing against a top-class team that’s dominated district championship after district championship for a decade now, they’re tough,” Greater Johnstown coach Kurt Hoffman said. “They’re well-coached. Carol has a standard of excellence and it’s obvious.

“They made shots early. We didn’t. We got too down on ourselves and beat ourselves up.”

Andra’Nae McCray led Greater Johnstown with eight points, including two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Daijah Hall had seven points for the 1-9 Trojans.

“We turned it around in the second half and found some of ourselves,” Hoffman said. “We started shooting the ball a little more, letting it fly. Our girls are tough. They’ve been through a lot and play well together.

“I enjoy coaching this group. We have some very talented individuals both on and off the court.”

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.

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