Cocalico girls clinch league playoff berth
First the contest was for second place in the Section Two with the winner trying to get in position for a playoff spot.
Secondly, Cocalico senior Marissa Gingrich started the game needing only 24 points to go over the 1,000 point mark for her career.
And lastly, there is always the rivalry between the two schools.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Lady Eagles (9-6 section 14-7 overall) would win this version of the backyard battle by a 43-30 score and clinch second place in the section, but Gingrich would have to wait another day, at least, to score her 1000th point.
Ephrata, (7-8 section, 10-11 overall) scored the first two points of the game on a pair of free throws by Kelly Liebl with just 24 seconds gone.
But Cocalico came right back with a lay-up from Megan Gingrich, who drew the foul and converted to put the Eagles up 3-2.
Caroline Stauffer would hit a bucket with 5:30 remaining in the first period to give the Lady Mounts a 4-3 edge, but that was their last advantage as Cocalico slowly built their commanding lead.
Cocalico head coach Tony DiMatteo credited his defense for the victory.
“I think it was our defense that won the game for us,” DiMatteo said. “Marissa always guards the other team’s best scorer and tonight she held Stauffer to four points. Stauffer and Liebl make them go and we knew if we could contain one of them we had a shot.”
Little by little, the Eagles would widen the gap throughout the first half &tstr;at one point, leading 21-8 with three minutes to go before intermission. At the break, Cocalico had built a 24-11 margin.
Early in the second half, the Lady Mounts made a run at the Eagles, at one point scoring six unanswered points to close the gap to 25-17, before Cocalico got back on track.
Emily White lead all scorers with 15 points while Marissa Gingrich tossed in 13. For Ephrata, Liebl scored nine to lead the Lady Mounts.
With the 13 points scored in the contest, Marissa Gingrich needs just 11 to break the 1,000 point barrier. She will try to do so in the regular season finale against Solanco, scheduled Wednesday night &tstr; weather permitting.
DiMatteo was quick to point out that they have unfinished business.
“We have to come right back tomorrow night and play Solanco and then if we make the playoffs we’ll probably have to face Lancaster Catholic and that’s always a fun game.”
Ephrata, meanwhile, travels to play against first place Lebanon in its season finale Wednesday night.
In addition to Tuesday, both teams were locked in big contests Friday night as well.
In Ephrata, Caroline Stauffer led the Lady Mounts on a 26-9 fourth-quarter run to come-from-behind and earn a 57-47 victory over visiting Conestoga Valley.
Stauffer canned seven three-pointers on her way to a career-high 29 point effort as the Lady Mounts overcame a 38-31 CV lead after three quarters of play.
Kelly Liebl also chipped in with 12 points for Ephrata. Jada Dunsen led the Buckskins with 23 points on the night.
While Ephrata was downing the Bucks, Cocalico had its hands full with first-place Lebanon.
Leading 32-31 after three quarters of play, the host Cedars pulled away, out-scoring the Lady Eagles 16-10 down the stretch to earn a 48-41 victory.
The win clinched the Section Two title for the Cedars, who were led by Shaela Shellehamer’s 21-point effort. Brittany Ulrich chipped in with 14 points for the winners.
Emily White scored 18 points to lead Cocalico while Marissa Gingrich added 15 in the loss.
Last Wednesday evening, Ephrata also was in action at home vs. E-town in a key Section Two contest. Behind Stauffers’ game-high 20 points, Ephrata cruised to a 45-26 win. Kelly Liebl added 13 points in the victory as Ephrata sped out to a 41-14 lead after three quarters of play before coasting home.