Lady Eagles breeze to fifth-straight win

By on December 23, 2014
Cocalico’s Emily White (33) splits Elco defenders Andria Harpold (3) and Paige Shaak (14) during Friday’s game in Denver.

Cocalico’s Emily White (33) splits Elco defenders Andria Harpold (3) and Paige Shaak (14) during Friday’s game in Denver.

The Cocalico girl’s basketball team finally had the opportunity to face a Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Three team on Friday night in Denver, leading from the opening tip and cruising to a 56-26 win over Elco.

The Emily’s (White, 24 points, nine of 10 from the foul line and Fassnacht, 15 points and three for six) led the Lady Eagles to their fifth-straight win to start the 2014-15 season. The move from Section Two must agree with Cocalico, averaging 30-point wins in the early going.

“Coming into Section Three is an unknown,” said Lady Eagles Coach Tony DiMatteo. “I did get a chance to scout each team in person, and at this point I am comfortable with our style.”

That style starts with the two shortest players on the court and the defensive pressure applied by 5-3 senior Natalie Sukanick and her backcourt mate, 5-1 junior Jasa Lorah. “I love to watch them play defense,” said DiMatteo. “They’re so full of energy and the back players feed off of them.”

“We like to let our bigs get back, then pressure the ball,” added Lorah. “We try to stop the ball to get transition baskets.” “It’s fun,” said Sukanick. “It’s good to see all the hard work paying off.”

The other part of that successful defense, according to DiMatteo, is the rebounding effort. “I need five people going to the boards. We want to transition to the first good shot.”

Cocalico jumped on the Raiders to start each half as White banked in a driving lay-up in the first, and then drained the team’s only three pointer in the second. Each basket was followed by a Sukanick steal and lay-up. Those were just two of 27 turnovers forced by the Lady Eagles.

Cocalico was consistent throughout, racing to a 14-4 lead after one quarter, 29-12 advantage at the half and a 44-19 lead after three periods. Both teams emptied their benches with four minutes to go, providing important development time for the younger players.

Before the game, the team’s three tri-captains talked about several elements that will hopefully result in continued success.

“The team is pretty young, which makes it easier for us to lead by example,” explained Sukanick. “It takes all five to make the team come together,” added White. “We’re coming together more and more each game.”

Junior Megan Gingrich talked about the importance of communication.

“When we’re talking it shows,” Gingrich said. “It can even intimidate the other team.”

Sukanick described what she sees as the team’s floor general.

“A lot of it is act and react,” she said. “Plus, we know where our teammates are going to be.”

One of those is Gingrich.

“My main goal is to get to the lower block, and then if I’m covered, I look to outlet,” Gingrich said.

White talked about general goals going into section play.

“We never want to give up and stay positive. Of course we want a winning record and to make the playoffs,” she said.

White, Fassnacht, Sukanick and Gingrich are all scoring consistently, with White leading the way at a 22-point per game clip.

Those four led the way last Wednesday in a 76-32 Section Four crossover win over Columbia. White (21), Sukanick (19), Gingrich (16) and Fassnacht (14) all reached double digits in the victory.

Up next for the Lady Eagles is Tuesday’s Section tilt at Northern Lebanon followed by Saturday’s non-league contest at Exeter.

Local publications are predicting a four-team race in Section Three, with returning champ Donegal, Northern Lebanon, and L-S in the mix with Cocalico.

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