Cocalico falls short of L-Ls but will make Districts

By on February 6, 2019
Cocalico’s Corrie Lescoe goes up strong for two Tuesday night at Manheim Central. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Cocalico’s Corrie Lescoe goes up strong for two Tuesday night at Manheim Central. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Cocalico weathered an early storm Monday night against Section Three champ Solanco. Unfortunately, when a second one rolled in midway through the third period of a tight game, this time the Lady Eagles couldn’t overcome it.

Leading 34-33 at the half, Solanco went on a key 16-5 run through the first five minutes of the third, behind a stifling Mare press that produced six turnovers and a relentless offensive attack at the other end during that stretch.

The end result was a 61-51 Solanco victory that not only snapped the Lady Eagles’ six-game winning streak, but eliminated Cocalico from L-L playoff contention.

With the Cocalico loss, Lampeter-Strasburg clinched second place (behind Solanco) and the final L-L playoff spot allotted to Section Three.

“(Offensively) the girls are doing a real nice job of making the right cut, the right read, but sometimes we almost get a little too excited,” Cocalico Coach Andrew Garrett said when asked about his team’s difficult third quarter. “Solanco is a solid team and they are in some of those passing lanes. We just needed to use some ball fakes and just have a little better judgment in those situations. But, we are moving our bodies to the right spots…it’s just a matter of executing a little better.”

Despite the loss, Cocalico (7-5 Section Three, 14-7 overall) will no doubt qualify for the District Three Class 5A playoffs, which get underway Tuesday, Feb. 19. The Lady Eagles were sitting in 12th place Tuesday, and the top 16 teams advance.

Cocalico closed out the regular season Tuesday night on the road at Manheim Central, where the Lady Eagles needed a strong finish to overtake the Barons, 45-38.

Hannah Custer led the way with 12 points for the Lady Eagles, who out-scored MC 18-11 in the pivotal fourth quarter.

Shelby White chipped in with nine points for Cocalico while Greenly added seven in the win.

Laura Good scored 16 points to pace the Barons.

Back to Monday where the Lady Eagles gave Solanco quite a battle, especially early on. The Mares, though, came out on fire, and jumped to a quick 7-0 lead in the first minute and a half as Aleksa Burger converted both a lay-up and a three-point play before a bucket by Jess Cabrera completed that spurt.

But after a Cocalico time-out, Custer got the Lady Eagles on the board and that led to a run of their own. Following a Grace Kreider three which upped the Solanco advantage to 10-2, Cocalico ran off 12-unanswered points to come all the way back and grab a 14-12 lead of its own.

Hanah Greenly, who nailed five three-pointers on the night on her way to a team-leading 19 points, started the run with a trey and ended it from beyond the arc with 1:18 to go in the first. Cabrera’s bucket in the final five seconds of the period then tied it at 14-14.

The second period featured a slew of three-point makes as each team sank four in the period as the Mares out-scored the Lady Eagles 20-19 in the frame to take a 34-33 lead into the locker room.

However, Solanco came out with an abundance of energy in the third, and it began to takes its toll. The Mares scored on seven of their first 10 possessions of the second half to take command. Cabrera did her part with five points during that stretch while Burger and Cabrera came up with two buckets each as Solanco went up 50-38 with 3:28 to go in the third.

“A lot of times when we are game planning we’ll focus on a certain player, trying to cut down a couple of those girls,” Garrett said. “I think we have two real solid defenders, especially with Katie Heck and Hannah Custer, but playing this team, we couldn’t do that. We needed to play solid team defense. It needs to be individually stopping your girl so that we don’t need as much help and we don’t need to rotate as much. It’s tough because they are just so well-balanced.”

Cocalico did get the lead back down to single digits on a Greenly jumper and a Corrie Lescoe three in the final minute to cut it to 50-43 heading to the fourth. Custer, who scored nine points on the night, turned a fastbreak into a lay-up to make it 55-49 with 2:54 to go. But that was as close as Cocalico could get as Custer would foul out of the contest less than a minute later, and the Mares would eventually go 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final minute to salt this one away.

Kreider led that balanced Solanco attack with a team-high 15 points. Cabrera chipped in with 12 while Burger had 10 and Jade Eshelman nine for the winners.

And while this one stung Cocalico, it did not take away from the fact that this team fought to get back into the race after a 7-7 start to the season and will now make the District playoffs.

“I think the first thing is just the girls’ attitudes,” Garrett said. “They enjoy playing together, they are extremely coachable…they are just hard-working girls. That was kind of what we were envisioning happening with us…just getting better throughout the season. It’s really to the girls’ credit the fact that they are so coachable and work so hard that they just keep getting better. They are not satisfied.”

Which is why some feel Cocalico could be a tough out in Districts.

“We are going to have some time between our last game and the first round of Districts, and I anticipate the girls keeping that mindset of wanting to get better and being coachable, and so I think that will be huge for us,” Garrett said. “The last couple days we played two of the best teams in the District in Solanco and L-S, and I think we showed other people but also ourselves that we can play with these teams. I think that confidence will go a long way.”

Last Thursday, Cocalico handed L-S just its fourth section loss of the season with a 49-43 win at home.

Lescoe was the difference offensively scoring a season-high 19 points to lead the way. Greenly added 11 and Katie Heck chipped in with eight points as Cocalico pulled away to stay in the third, out-scoring the Pioneers 13-5 during that stretch.

The Lady Eagles also picked up a 46-38 non-league win Saturday at Dover where Heck led a balanced attack, scoring a team-high 10 points in the victory.

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