Sweet Caroline: Stauffer eyes 1,000 after breaking three-point mark in win over GS

By on December 21, 2016
Caroline Stauffer broke a career basketball record.

Caroline Stauffer

As the final horn ended Monday night at the Ephrata Middle School, the strains of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” began over the public-address system in the gym.

The Ephrata girls’ basketball team had just held off a furious comeback attempt by Garden Spot to win 48-40. And Caroline Stauffer had just broken a career basketball record.

The senior guard, who entered the game with 128 three point baskets and 951 career points, nailed three of five treys in the first quarter. That tied the school record, not just for girls, but for any boy or girl at Ephrata in the history of either program. Her early nine points propelled the Lady Mounts (2-0 League, 2-4 overall) into a 14-7 lead over the Lady Spartans (0-2, 0-6) by the end of the first quarter.

Stauffer, who missed the first four games of the season due to off-season ankle surgery, drilled another three less than a minute into the second period, giving her sole possession of the record, formerly held by Megan Heck.

“It’s pretty important to me,” explained the four-year starter of now owning the record. “It’s better than 1,000 points. Not many people can break a record for their school.”

Stauffer’s 15 first-half points helped Ephrata extend the lead to 28-16 by the half-time break, but she wasn’t alone in the long-range assault. Freshman Gabi Gerola-Hill stroked the first three of the game and sophomore Kandice Liebl added two in the second stanza as the Lady Mounts cashed in seven triples by the break.

Ephrata first year head coach Todd Moyer laughed when asked about his team’s “bomb-squad” mentality in the first half.

“Partially yes,” chuckled Moyer. “We do have a number of people that can shoot threes. I’m not discouraging that except in certain situations. We’re hoping that if we hit a few threes, it opens up the inside.”

The third quarter started with much of the same as the Lady Mounts stretched the lead to 16 at 32-16. Then Garden Spot tightened the screws. A full court press with man-to-man trapping defense sparked the Lady Spartans to an 11-2 run that was not slowed by an Ephrata time-out.

“They wanted the ball more than we did,” answered Moyer. “They got the loose balls, they got the rebound on the offensive end.”

And Stauffer agreed.

“That’s something we really need to work on,” she said when asked about the Garden Spot pressure. “We knew they were going to come out strong. We just had to be mentally prepared.”

The Spartans closed to within 43-35 by the end of the third quarter and continued to apply the heat early in the fourth. Baskets by senior Abi Fricke and sophomore Megan Fisher (13 points each) brought Garden Spot to within five with less than four minutes to play.

It would be the last points for the visitors.

Stauffer banked in the last of her game-high 23 points and sophomore Madison Root made a final free throw to close out the offense as each team only scored five points in the final frame.

“Toward the end of the fourth, we decided that we wanted it more,” added Moyer. “I love the hustle. I love the fight and the scrap. If we can play hard for 32 minutes, who knows what can happen?”

Ephrata shot 16-for-47 from the field on the night while the Lady Spartans connected on one less at 15-of-47. Neither team was on the mark from the charity stripe as the Lady Mounts hit nine of 18 foul shots. Garden Spot also struggled, making seven of 17.

In addition to Stauffer’s 23 points, Gerola-Hill netted nine while Liebl and sophomore Katherine Sola had six apiece. Stauffer and Liebl also led the team with two assists each.

Defensively, Gerola-Hill snared 10 rebounds with board help from Sola (7) Stauffer (4) Liebl (3) and senior Eshkol Baykeda (3).

Back to the career scoring update.

With her 23 points Monday night, Stauffer is now 26 points away from the magic 1,000 mark. With the Section Two rivalry game Wednesday at Cocalico and a non-league contest Friday at Conrad Weiser, the four digit mark may be in her grasp before Christmas.

Nice present.

«««

The win was the Lady Mounts’ second straight after dropping the first four games of the season.

Friday night at home in the Section Two opener vs. Lebanon, Stauffer returned to the lineup and led her team to a big 41-14 victory over the Cedars (0-2, 0-6).

Stauffer led her team with 10 points while Gerola-Hill and Root both added seven points apiece in the win.

Ephrata was also in action last Wednesday at home vs. Warwick where the Lady Warriors out-scored Ephrata 31-9 in the second half en route to a 54-34 victory over the Lady Mounts.

Rylee Derr scored a game-high 27 points to pace Warwick. Liebl led Ephrata with 11 while Gerola-Hill added 10 in the loss.

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