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Despite injury, Plum senior Majocha claims Cager Classic 3-point contest title

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Friday, March 18, 2016, 10:36 p.m.
Team West’s Alex Pane lines up a shot for the 3-point contest during the Cager Classic skills competition at Highlands High School on Friday, March 18, 2016.
Erica Dietz | For the Tribune Review
Team West’s Alex Pane lines up a shot for the 3-point contest during the Cager Classic skills competition at Highlands High School on Friday, March 18, 2016.
Team West’s Jessica Philistine lines up a shot during the Cager Classic skills competition Friday, March 18, 2016 at Highlands High School.
Erica Dietz | For the Tribune Review
Team West’s Jessica Philistine lines up a shot during the Cager Classic skills competition Friday, March 18, 2016 at Highlands High School.
Mandy Majocha scored 11 points in a win over Penn-Trafford on Dec. 4, 2015, and added 10 points in a loss to Norwin the next night.
Gary Bills | Trib Total Media
Mandy Majocha scored 11 points in a win over Penn-Trafford on Dec. 4, 2015, and added 10 points in a loss to Norwin the next night.
Knoch's Aiden Albert (3) dribbles up court, during the game against Burrell, at Knoch High School, on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Knoch's Aiden Albert (3) dribbles up court, during the game against Burrell, at Knoch High School, on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.

Mandy Majocha knows how to hide an injury well.

The Plum senior, playing on a torn ACL in her right knee and not wearing a brace, won the girls' 3-point contest Friday at the Cager Classic skills competition at Highlands.

Majocha injured the knee on senior night and said she has not played competitive basketball in weeks. She plans to have surgery on April 1.

“I haven't been able to get a lot of shots up; I haven't played in about a month,” said Majocha, who is playing for the East this weekend. “I was glad to go out and win, but I wasn't sure what to expect tonight.”

Majocha could be a game-time decision at Saturday's all-star game. She plans to attend Kent State but isn't playing sports, so the Cager could be her final game.

After scoring 11 points in the first round and getting around the arc just fine time-wise, Majocha added seven points in the finals to get past Deer Lakes' Jess Philistine.

“It doesn't feel too bad right now, so we'll have to see,” she said. “Something tells me I should suck it up and play.”

Knoch's Aiden Albert pulled a surprise after his final shot in the 3-point contest. He grabbed a pre-painted basketball out of a bag and handed it to a girl in the front row. Turns out, it was a prom invitation.

She said yes.

Albert went on to win the boys' individual hot shot contest, outscoring Plum standout James Edwards, 42-33, in the finals. In the hot shot, players shoot from numbered circles on the floor and get the corresponding point totals, 1 through 8, for makes.

“It was great to play with a bunch of guys we played against all season,” Albert said.

Albert's father is Highlands coach Sam Albert, so he has spent plenty of time in the Highlands gym over the years.

“Ever since I was like 6,” Aiden said. “I think I shoot more at Highlands than I do at Knoch.”

In the boys' 3-point contest, Fox Chapel's Brendan Urso of the West team led all first-round shooters with 14 points before getting past Springdale's Alex Pane in the finals, 10-7.

“This was a fun event,” Pane said. “Hopefully, I can go out and do something in the game tomorrow.”

Urso didn't miss from the final rack in the finals and hit three, two-point money balls. Urso was a double winner as he also teamed with Plum's Lexi Dudding to win the co-ed hot shot contest. Knoch's Alyssa Logan won the girls' individual hot shot.

The two players from Mars were missing — John Castello and Christian Schmitt — because they were playing in the PIAA Class AAA championship game in Hershey. They are expected to be at Saturday night's all-star game.

At Thursday's Cager practice, Highlands' Ryan Boda filled in to help even out roster numbers.

Doors will close at 5:45 Saturday for girls' player introductions, and the first all-star game tips at 6. The boys game follows at 8.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch edition of the Tribune-Review. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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