Cocalico drops Lebanon to set up Friday’s showdown

By on January 11, 2017

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After Tuesday night’s victories, Cocalico and Lampeter-Strasburg sit at 6-0 atop Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon League in girls’ basketball. The two teams go face-to-face for the first time Friday night in Denver for the first clear lead in the section.

The Lady Eagles took care of business at home against Lebanon with a wire to wire victory at 51-24 Tuesday while L-S was dispatching Ephrata 52-22 in Lampeter.

“They are very strong, they have a lot of people back and they like to drive,” described senior guard Emily Fassnacht, who is very familiar with the Lady Pioneers.

Fassnacht had three triples in the first half of Tuesday’s win, moving her within one of the all-time school record for three point shots. Marissa Gingrich, a 2014 graduate, is the current record holder with 73.

Fassnacht finished with 11 points to go along with fellow senior Lyndsay Engle (15) and junior point guard Sophie Benson (8) to lead the offense.

Her next crack at the record comes Friday in that showdown with L-S.

“I’m not really focusing on it,” added Fassnacht. “It’s going to be great if it happens, but I love the fact that my teammates are there to support me.”

The Lady Eagles were consistent throughout, winning all four quarters, 13-5, 12-3, 10-6 and 16-10 and were never in danger in the contest.

Cocalico out-shot Lebanon 41-17 percent with Benson at the control of the offense.

“We want to be patient when we run our motion offense, so we’re not looking to force anything,” Benson said. “We’re just looking to pass the ball around and make sure that everyone touches it.”

But there were also fast break opportunities, as Benson explained.

“We always try to get the ball to an outlet person to push the ball up court,” she said. “And we’re really comfortable with everyone on the team handling the ball.”

Those ball handlers did take care of the ball as the Lady Eagles only turned the ball over 13 times compared to 25 for the Lady Cedars.

The defense was the main focus of head coach Andrew Garrett.

“We know that we have the athleticism to be a really good defensive team,” said Garrett. “We always say pressure without fouling. We need to know when to be aggressive going for steals and when to play just fundamental defense.”

As to the first of two matchups Friday with L-S?

“I think a lot of our strengths are their strengths,” said Garrett. “On paper, I think we do match up well. We’ll make some extra adjustments, too.”

Cocalico will have no rest after taking on the Pioneers, traveling to Berks Catholic for a non-league game Monday and at Garden Spot on Tuesday. The Lady Eagles also host undefeated Section One leader Cedar Crest in a potential post-season preview on February 2.

In addition to Tuesday, the Lady Eagles earned a huge 48-44 victory on the road at Donegal Friday night.

Trailing 40-38 heading to the fourth, the Lady Eagles out-scored the Indians 10-4 down the stretch to earn arguably their biggest win of the season thus far.

Engle’s lay-up with 1:20 to go put Cocalico up by four. and the Lady Eagles were able to salt this one away with foul shots in the final minutes.

Fassnacht scored 14 points to lead Cocalico while Engle added 11 points in the win. Donegal, which fell two games behind the Lady Eagles in the standings, was led by Rachel Robinson, who scored 17 points in the loss. Carly Diffenderfer chipped in with 12 points for the Indians.

Cocalico also picked up a big 56-38 non-league victory over Northeastern last Wednesday in Denver.

In that one, the Lady Eagles jumped out to a big 36-20 half-time lead and cruised the rest of the way.

Engle took high scoring honors with 15 points while both Fassnacht and Maddie Bock each added 13 points apiece in the lopsided victory. Kendra Meyer led Northeastern (0-13) with 13 points.

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