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Lady Eagles fall short, drop to third place with loss to L-S
Lampeter-Strasburg may have celebrated a section championship by cutting down the net on their home court Tuesday night after holding off Cocalico 54-50, but the Lady Pioneers knew that they had survived a war.
The loss dropped the Lady Eagles into third place at the completion of Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two play. Cocalico will now face Section Three third-place finisher Lebanon Catholic Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Warwick High School in an L-L League Tournament play-in game. The winner of that game will advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinal round at Section One champion Cedar Crest.
Tuesday, Cocalico struck early, repeatedly finding openings to the basket and open players underneath for an 18-7 lead late in the first period. L-S responded, scoring the last five points of the first quarter and carried that momentum into the second frame, bucketing ten straight for a 22-18 lead.
The Lady Eagles stopped the bleeding on a hard fought drive by senior Maddy Bock (nine points). Cocalico scored nine of the last 11 points before half-time and carried a 27-24 lead into the break.
“That was one of the things we stressed before the game,” explained Cocalico Coach Andrew Garrett. “Coming out ready to play. They (L-S) hit a three pointer at the end of the first quarter, where I was hoping to hold for one shot. They also got a three on an offensive rebound off a free throw. There were some things like that it would have been nice if we executed a little better.”
The Lady Pioneers closed to within one at 40-39 by the end of the third period, but Cocalico never relinquished the lead and even stretched the half-time advantage to eight when senior Emily Fassnacht (11 points) scored the first five points of the quarter. This would set up the mad dash to the finish.
L-S junior Laura Horner, who led the Lady Pioneers with 14 points, canned a three to give L-S a two-point lead early in the fourth. The Lady Eagles leading scorer Lyndsay Engle (13 points) hit a two from up close, tying the score at 42. That was the last time Cocalico would be even or ahead as an L-S bucket with 4:13 left gave them the lead for good.
The Lady Eagles did hold the Lady Pioneer’s top two scorers, Nevin Hoenninger (16 ppg) and Emma Gochnauer (14 ppg) to 14 points below their collective averages.
Garrett talked about the defensive game plan.
“Their offense is kind of a weave offense,” he said. “We stressed trying to keep the offensive players to one side of the court. Not let them get middle.”
That man to man defense had a fluid look at the top of the key.
“We were switching on the ball screens,” said Garrett. “When we were out of position, we would switch. Keep it on one side of the court. We did try to make some adjustments for them. They did a lot of things that we expected them to do. In the end, LS just made more plays than we did.”
Cocalico did make three more shots from the field, but L-S canned three more from long distance and the Lady Pioneers converted seven more free throws as both teams only missed three at the charity stripe. The Lady Eagles out-rebounded L-S by four but did turn the ball over five more times as we look at the game end stats.
Garrett had no complaints about the Cocalico girls’ effort on this night in Lampeter.
“The girls played really hard,” he said. “I told them they had nothing to be ashamed of. I thought the girls did a really nice job of being tough, both physically and mentally. In the end, L-S just made more plays than we did. After the game, I told them that I had asked that they come out and play hard. They came out and played hard. We’re just going to have to live with the result.”
Looking ahead to Lebanon Catholic, Garrett was asked what his team can expect from the Beavers?
“I know some,” admitted Garrett. “They have Alexis Hill. We’ll have to prepare for her.”
The Lady Eagles did face Hill in the LL’s before, when she played as a freshman for the Lebanon Cedars. Earlier this year, the Catholic junior transferred from Lebanon.
This past Friday on the road at Lebanon, Cocalico jumped out to a 31-14 lead at the half and coasted to a convincing 57-23 victory over the Cedars.
Engle scored a game-high 15 points while Samantha Klumpp added 10 in the victory. Destiny Infante paced the Cedars with 13 points.
In addition to Friday, the Lady Eagles hosted undefeated Cedar Crest last Thursday in a non-league contest.
In that one, the Falcons raced out to a 19-3 lead after one period of play and went on to capture a 57-37 victory.
Ariel Jones led a trio of double figure scorers for the Falcons, dropping in a game-high 20 points. Alyssa Austin added 15 points while Rachel Witherite chipped in with 12 for the winners.
Engle scored 13 points while Fassnacht added 12 for Cocalico in the loss.