MONTGOMERY: Benz reaches top perch at MHS


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By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
Senior Night will always have a special meaning for Cameryn Benz.
As a junior a year ago, Benz scored her 1,000th career point for the Montgomery High girls basketball team on the Cougars’ Senior Night. Last Thursday, during her own Senior Night game, Benz became the school’s all-time leading scorer when she surpassed Nicole Delarato’s 1,439 career points in a loss to Bridgewater.
Benz came into the season on pace to become the school’s top scorer, but she took nothing for granted as the season went on.
“I wasn’t sure at first at beginning of the season if I would get there,” said Benz, who finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds in the loss to the Panthers. “I didn’t think about it too much. I didn’t want the pressure to start to build up.
“I was happy it happened on Senior Night. Being with my senior teammates I was trying not to think about the points and to just let it happen when it happens. I love the support I had. I had a lot of friends and family there. My brother and sister surprised me by being there. And the other seniors were also being honored that night which made it even more special.”
Benz came into last Thursday’s game needing four points to pass Delarato. She scored the historic basket on a layup just over two minutes into the game.
“It is an amazing accomplishment,” Montgomery coach Megan Pisani said. “She is a great kid and it has been an awesome experience for the whole team. She gets triple teamed and quadruple teamed. It is everyone’s game plan to try to shut her down. She has a great heart and fights to the end.
“A lot of times people force players to the left and it is funny because that is her strength. She actually scored her basket for the record against three defenders with a left-handed hook. She finds ways to score.”
This year in addition to scoring, Benz has been asked to play the point guard role for the Cougars. It has added an extra dimension to her game as she prepared to play next year at the Division I level at Lehigh University.
“This experience in total has been amazing,” Pisani said. “The underclassmen all look up to her. I am so proud of her. She doesn’t realize how much she impacts the younger players and kids as a role model.”
Two days after setting the record Benz was called on to help the Cougars in a different role. She was limited to just six points against Mount St. Mary’s in the opening round of the Somerset County Tournament, but helped the team earn a 43-34 win.
“We knew what they were going to try to do because we played them earlier and beat them,” said Benz, who will compete in track and field for the Cougars in the spring. “We knew we couldn’t slack off and it wouldn’t be the same game. Their main goal was to take me out of the game and my team knows how to deal with that. I was out most of the first half because foul situations. I didn’t have my best day but that is where my teammates stepped up. They realize we’re not just one-man show. Julia Loffredo has this amazing heart and it brushes off on the rest of the team.”
Added Pisani of the SCT win: “It was a battle. (Benz) had three fouls in the first quarter. We hung in as a team and kept up and fought and we were able to come through. Cameryn is our point guard, too, so it puts a lot of pressure on the rest of the team when she is out. But everyone came through.”
Benz will leave at the end of the season with her name now atop the all-time point list in the Montgomery gym. She had her name added to the list of 1,000-point scorers after last season and will now be at the top.
“I guess since I got (1,000) junior year they put my name up there,” Benz said. “I had not seen it until one of my friends said it was there. It was cool to see it up there.”
And now after 31 years, the list has a new name at the top. 

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