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Ford City, Fox Chapel connect at Classic skills event

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Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Ford City's Ally Cujas lines up a shot during the Cager Classic skills competition at Highlands High School on Friday, March 21, 2014.
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Saturday, March 22, 2014, 1:09 a.m.

An FC connection was a winning combination to end the Cager Classic's skills competition.

Ford City's Ally Cujas and Fox Chapel's Brian Papich combined for a first-round score of 65 and a finals score of 62 to win the Co-ed Team Hot Shot competition, the last event on the eve of the annual all-star games at Highlands.

Cujas and Papich knocked off another local player in the final round, West Shamokin's Kelly Clowser, who teamed with Knoch's David Gallagher to reach the final with a 43 before posting a 38 in the last round.

The winning team stayed in a good rhythm during both rounds of the alternate-shot competition, and after progressing through the required stations had success with a commonly used strategy — Papich knocked down shots from the long-range 8-point spot, and Cujas rebounded and scored from the close-range spots.

“We started out with a strategy, but we were the last team to go. When we saw the other teams doing well, we said we'll just do what they're doing,” Cujas said.

Papich's win capped off a busy day. The Fox Chapel senior competed in a track meet at Pine-Richland earlier in the afternoon before hustling to Highlands, where he also shot with two teammates in the final competition because of an uneven number of boys and girls.

Winning an event at the skills competition capped off a fun night for Cujas, who will be joining the team at Allegheny when she heads to college in the fall.

“Today was really nice. You get to meet all the girls from all these different schools and have all these different talents come together for the Cager Classic,” Cujas said.

Though she didn't come away with a win, Clowser was a two-event finalist in the skills competition.

The West Shamokin senior reached the final of the first event of the night, the girls 3-point contest, after knocking down her first five shots to score a 12. She was topped in the final by Burrell's Kelsey Oddis, 10-8.

Clowser's brother, Zane, just missed the Individual Hot Shot final for the boys as his first-round 50 was topped only by a 56 from Hampton's Hayden Seserko, who claimed the West team's spot in the final.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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