It’s shaping up to be a season of milestones for Camp Hill.
Coach Mark Clarke cracked 200 wins in December. Now his star pupil is quickly chasing down two of her own.
Senior Diamond Bragg is at 1,457 career points, just 43 off 1,500 total. At her pace of 23.7 points per game, which leads the Sentinel area, she should crack it this weekend in Philadelphia against Class 6A Central Bucks South. (More on two intriguing matchups for the Lions this weekend against 2016-17 PIAA playoff teams below.)
And she likely won’t stop there — Bragg is just 259 points, or about 11 games at her current pace, from supplanting former teammate Leah Springer, now at Messiah, near the top of the program's list of leading scorers. Springer graduated two years ago with 1,716 career points for the Lions. Clarke corrected an earlier version of this notebook, stating that he believed Terry Bischoff in the 1980s had scored more than 1,800 points in her career.
“[Bragg’s] so unselfish, she’s really going after assists more than points,” Clarke said over the phone Wednesday before practice. “It’s a testament that she’s come that far.”
The Wisconsin commit already has about a half dozen triple-doubles, Clarke said. Not an uncommon feat for an electrifying talent that did so in the District 3 Class 2A championship a year ago.
And she’s added to her game with an improved jumper. While she’s not the area’s biggest 3-point threat (eight this season), Clarke said Bragg worked on a flaw in her J — using her non-shooting thumb too much — this offseason. It has helped, with the expert slasher putting up what looks to be her best season of high school ball.
“She’s still incredibly explosive,” Clarke said. “She’s just doing everything better — rebounding, defense, making better decisions with the ball.”
She’s also one of the Mid-Penn’s best leaders, something that was obvious last year and even early in her career. Clarke said during Bragg’s freshman year the senior class then even gravitated to her. That hasn’t changed since, with the precocious and energetic Bragg being the one to set the “one day at a time” tone during preseason training, not the coaches. The Lions (8-1, 4-1 Capital) have fallen right in line.
The rest of her teammates, almost entirely the same crew that made a PIAA Class 2A run last year and won a second District 3 title in a row, have also stepped up their game. Younger sister Passion Bragg is a consistent double-double threat that is “more athletic, more explosive,” Clarke said and averaging 11 points per game.
Sheridan Reid (11.3 ppg) is her usual sharp-shooting self with 16 made 3-pointers. And Clarke can now go deeper than six players, he said, with Lexi Whitman (2.3 ppg) and freshmen Kendal McCall (1.6) and Jocelyn Dorsey (2.8) seeing consistent action now.
The Lions’ lone loss was against division rival and fellow all-star-team-look-alike Trinity earlier this season. It was a credit to the Shamrocks (7-1, 4-0) that it was the only game Camp Hill largely didn’t play well.
“We definitely have to get better defensively. We have some defensive lapses that are frustrating to see,” said Clarke of what his state-contending club still has to work on. “We have to get better, certainly, in the half-court offense, with better movement and movement off the ball.”
Mechanicsburg and Cumberland Valley have already been victimized by season-ending injuries.
The Wildcats lost expected starting point guard Rylee Everett with a torn meniscus just days before the season started. She had averaged 7.8 points per game the prior year as a sophomore. It forced an already young roster to restructure on the fly, with coach Clay McAllister inserting a freshman into the role. Mechanicsburg has managed to go 5-4 (2-3 Keystone) so far this season.
The Eagles also got bit when Kennedy Kuffa broke her finger before Christmas, costing her the rest of her junior year. The guard was averaging 8.2 points in the first five games of the year before the injury, second on the team at the time. It further hampers a back court that was already young, with Allison Hinish the only senior (and only one on the roster).
“Just when we’re kinda turning the corner, we lose Kennedy,” CV coach Bill Wolf said shortly after the injury about having to reshuffle the lineup a bit. “All in all, I really like this team. They’re hard workers, they’re very coachable.”
The Eagles are 1-2 since Kuffa’s last game, and 3-5 (2-3 Commonwealth) overall.
Upcoming games to watch
Camp Hill has the toughest weekend of any local team by far. The Lions face a pair of PIAA playoff teams from a year ago, including currently unbeaten Central Bucks South in the Blue Star High School Invitational on Sunday at Thomas Jefferson University (formerly Philadelphia University). CB South was a Class 6A second-round squad that boasts point guard Alexa Brodie, who is fielding Division I offers.
Saturday’s matchup against 3A Holy Redeemer is far from a walk in the park as well. The Royals made the state quarterfinals last year and recently got senior Sam Rajza back after she tore her ACL in the summer.
Other matchups to check out soon: Middletown at Trinity (Friday), Carlisle at Cumberland Valley (Jan. 9), Big Spring at Boiling Springs (Jan. 12), Harrisburg at Cumberland Valley (Jan. 12), Mechanicsburg vs. Shippensburg, at Chambersburg’s Dunks for Drew (Jan. 13).
Leaders and notes
- Top scorers: Diamond Bragg (Camp Hill), 213 points, 23.7 ppg; Sydney Hemler (Boiling Springs), 116 points, 12.9 ppg; Kyra Gerber (Northern), 110 points, 13.8 ppg; Kassidy Ingram (Trinity), 107 points, 13.4 ppg; Sheridan Reid (CH), 102 points, 11.3 ppg.
- Top 3-point shooters: Haylee Reisinger (West Perry), 22; Sheridan Reid, 16; Madison Bishop (Big Spring), 15; Julianna Askins (Carlisle) and Emily Esser (Cedar Cliff), 14.
- Most points in a game: Diamond Bragg, 31 vs. Bermudian Springs; Mariah Martin (Shippensburg), 26 vs. Northern; Cailey Joyce (East Pennsboro), 25 vs. Boiling Springs; Rachael Reilly (CC), 22 vs. Bishop McDevitt; Sunshine McCrae (Tri), 22 vs. Selma.
- There are two local teams with perfect division records so far: Trinity (7-1, 4-0 Capital), Big Spring (6-2, 5-0 Colonial).
- District 3 power rankings No. 1s: Trinity (Class 3A), Camp Hill (Class 2A).