Cocalico remains one game back after loss to McCaskey

By on January 15, 2014

Cocalico’s Carly Showalter (right) battles with the McCaskey player for the loose ball during Tuesday’s contest. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Cocalico’s Carly Showalter (right) battles with the McCaskey player for the loose ball during Tuesday’s contest. (Photo by Stan Hall)

The Section Two girls basketball title is seemingly there for the taking. Unfortunately, no team has yet to step to the forefront.

Tuesday night, Cocalico could have pulled into a first place tie with Conestoga Valley as the Buckskins fell to Hempfield in Section One-Two cross over action. Unfortunately, the Lady Eagles came up short to McCaskey in a 51-48 decision in Denver.

Tornados freshman Ahnera Parker scored a game-high 17 points while Paris Todd (13) and Ayanda McGill-Jefferson (11) also reached double digits in scoring for the winners. Marissa Gingrich was the lone player for the Lady Eagles in double figures, finishing with 16 points in the loss.

By virtue of Lebanon’s win vs. Penn Manor and Ephrata’s 34-24 loss at home to Cedar Crest Tuesday, CV (7-3) remains one game ahead of both Cocalico (6-4) and Lebanon (6-4) while Ephrata (5-5) is two games out.

In the Lady Mounts loss Tuesday, Ephrata was within striking distance for most of the way but could not overtake the Falcons. Crest’s Nikki Wagner led all scorers with 20 points. Ephrata was led by Kelly Liebl, who dropped in eight.

This past Friday, Cocalico’s position in the standings was temporarily aided, in addition to its 54-22 victory over Solanco Friday, by Ephrata’s 41-38 upset victory over visiting Lebanon this past Friday. That Lebanon loss helped the Lady Eagles leapfrog the Cedars (at the time) and may have kept Ephrata in the section race as well.

Ephrata trailed Lebanon by nine points (36-27) after three quarters of play before clawing all the way back to shock the Cedars Friday.

The Lady Mounts did it at both ends of the court. Lebanon went four corners through most of the period and Ephrata made the Cedars pay, forcing four key turnovers while holding the visitors without a field goal the entire quarter.

At the offensive end, the Lady Mounts scored either in transition or in the paint to key their biggest win of the season.

“It’s been a tough week for us,” Ephrata Coach Mike Garman said. “We blew a nine-point game against CV, and then we lost to Cocalico, so to win this tonight and not to go 0-3 in that stretch is huge. I can’t even tell you how important this game was to us. It was big.”

Guard Rebekah Pauley came off the bench to scored two big early buckets to cut into the Lebanon lead, making it 36-31 with 5:29 to go in the fourth. Kelly Liebl, who led the Lady Mounts with 16 points, then cashed in in transition off a Cedar miss to make it a three-point game with 4:40 to play.

After the Cedars took about two minutes off the clock, only to come up empty, Kenzie Horst’s driving lay-up made it a one-point game at 36-35 with 2:42 to go.

Freshman guard Caroline Stauffer then gave Ephrata its first lead of the half (37-36) off a driving lay-up with 2:15 to go, and Ephrata regained possession following a Horst steal and tried to work clock.

The Lady Mounts took more than a minute off the clock before Stauffer was tied up out front, resulting in a jump ball call and a change of possession. To make matters worse, a technical foul was called on Ephrata, giving the Cedars a golden opportunity with 20 seconds to go.

Lebanon’s Brittany Ulrich sank both ensuing foul shots to tie the game at 38-38, and the Cedars got the ball with a chance to win it. However, Stauffer atoned for her earlier mistake with a huge steal, and the Lady Mounts had another chance.

They came through in a big way when Irene Lascarides drove down an open lane and converted a lay-up with just five seconds to go put put the Lady Mounts back in the lead.

Following another miscue by Lebanon, Kelly Liebl went to the foul line where she sank one of two free throws with one second to play to close out the victory.

“It’s just a great team win,” Garman said. “And with a group that really battles and fights, it was nice to see. We don’t always play pretty, but they are learning.”

“It shows a lot of character,” he continued. “I challenged them late in the fourth quarter during a time-out. I said, ‘this is a point in the game where you really can do something about this.’ And they responded very well. They realized they could win this game.”

Horst had perhaps her best game of the season at both ends of the court. The sophomore center finished with 10 points and also had her share of big steals and rebounds defensively.

“Kenzie tonight was a force,” Garman said. “She owned the glass and went to every ball. Tonight every ball that went up on that glass she went to go get.”

Last Wednesday in Denver, Cocalico pulled a game ahead of Ephrata with a 39-27 victory over the Lady Mounts.

In a defensive struggle, the Lady Eagles opened up a one-point lead in the middle two quarters, out-scoring Ephrata 19-10 to lead 28-17 heading to the fourth. There were no comebacks for Ephrata on this night as the home team maintained the double-digit lead the rest of the way.

Marissa Gingrich scored 14 points to pace Cocalico while Emily White chipped in 12 for the winners.

Ephrata didn’t have anyone finish in double figures as Kelly Liebl led the way with eight points in the loss.

Marissa Gingrich was a huge factor in Friday win at Solanco as the senior tied her season high of 23 points to lead all scorers. Megan Gingrich added 10 for the Lady Eagles, who put this one away early, jumping out to a 30-8 half-time lead.

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