With help from Cocalico, EHS girls have playoff shot

By on February 1, 2012

By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor truth.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

Ephrata's Kelly Liebl (right) drives to the hole vs. Lebanon Tuesday night. (Photo by Stan Hall)Ephrata's Kelly Liebl (right) drives to the hole vs. Lebanon Tuesday night. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Ephrata’s upcoming game Friday at Elizabethtown takes on a whole new meaning, thanks to Cocalico.

While the Lady Mounts were taking care of Lebanon, 52-33 at home Tuesday, a few miles to the north host Cocalico pulled off a major 36-30 upset win over second-place E-town.

What it all means is this– if Ephrata defeats the Bears, who have played the last few games without star center Sarah Fairbanks, the Lady Mounts would pull into a second-place tie with E-town with just two games to go.

The top two teams in each section qualify for the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs, which get underway Feb. 13.

"We just got a birthday gift," Ephrata Coach Mike Garman said after hearing the news from Denver. "Now we have to go up to E-town Friday and take advantage of it."

Tuesday in Ephrata, the Lady Mounts led 21-16 at the break before putting together a big effort at both ends of the court to finish off the Cedars.

Ephrata forced eight Lebanon turnovers in the third to out-score the Cedars 16-9 to up the lead to 37-25 heading to the fourth. Juniors Hannah Reimel (8 points) and Sarah Haddon, who led all scorers with 20 points, scored six each in the third while guard Joelisa Harvest (9 points) scored all four of her points in the quarter during an 8-0 run late in the period.

While the offense was productive, Garman said it all started at the defensive end.

"I thought we got a little tentative defensively in the first half," he said. "But I thought defensively we did a much better job in the second half. We were more aggressive, and I thought that was the case at both ends."

Haddon’s 10-footer to open the fourth quarter started a quick 7-2 mini-spurt which upped the Ephrata lead to 17. Her putback with 1:33 to go off a Kelly Liebl miss ended a 6-0 Ephrata run late and put this one out of reach.

"Sarah did a great job in the second half," Garman said. "She really looked to step up which was huge for us. She hit some big buckets and got us rolling. I thought (Harvest) did too. They both did. And that’s what you need."

There are several reasons Ephrata finds itself in position to lock down a possible playoff spot. Certainly the emergence of both Haddon and Harvest at the offensive end has been key, but so has the defense of Reimel, the overall play of the freshman Liebl at the point, and the dirty work provided by Sarah Hoffer, Ashley Mayer and Sue Hartlove.

It’s been a team effort according to Garman.

"They’ve come a long way," he said. "I look back on our season and we have been competitive in almost every game we’ve played. We are getting there. No matter what happens here at the end of the year, the fact of the matter is they have gotten better. Every kid on that team has gotten better, which is great to see."

In Cocalico’s big win Tuesday, E-town led 22-15 heading to the fourth before the Lady Eagles stormed back to steal the victory. Cocalico out-scored the Bears, 21-8 in the final eight minutes to pull off the stunning win.

Marissa Gingrich paced the Lady Eagles (5-8 Section Two, 7-12 overall) with 18 of her team’s 36 points.

In addition to Tuesday’s contest, Ephrata was on the losing end of a pair of games late last week.

Friday night at first-place Solanco, the Lady Mounts’ second-half comeback bid fell short as the Mares held on for a 66-52 victory.

Emily Allport paced Solanco with a game-high 20 points as the Mares led 39-21 at the half. Ephrata made a game of it in the second half, cutting the deficit to just six after three quarters before Solanco held off the Lady Mounts.

Liebl led the way for Ephrata with a solid 18-point effort. Haddon added 12 points in the Ephrata loss.

Last Wednesday at Warwick, Ephrata led for most of the way before Warwick tied it late and then won it in the final seconds.

With the score tied 37-37 in the final minute, the Lady Warriors held for the final shot and converted when Macaulay Soto found Bethany Zimmerman underneath for the game-winning basket in the 40-37 Warwick victory.

Zimmerman paced the Lady Warriors with 11 points. Liebl topped all scorers with a 14-point night for the Lady Mounts.

In addition to Tuesday, Cocalico was also in action last Wednesday and Friday where the Lady Eagles dropped a pair of contests.

Friday night at Lebanon, the host Cedars avenged a pair of early-season losses to Cocalico by pulling out a 47-42 victory over the Lady Eagles.

Lebanon jumped out to a 19-6 advantage after one quarter of play to key the eventual win. Sadie Eisenhour led the way for the Cedars, dropping in 13 points. Rebecca Grube scored 15 for Cocalico while Gingrich added 11.

Last Wednesday at home, visiting Penn Manor doubled up Cocalico. 30-15 in the first half and the Lady Eagles couldn’t recover in an eventual 54-34 PM victory.

Megan Schlegelmilch scored 14 to pace a balanced Comet attack. Gingrich scored 14 and Kristen Boyer 11 for the Lady Eagles. More EHS, page B3

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