Behind a fierce half-court trap, Annville-Cleona stole a 48-43 victory from Elco on Monday night in a Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three-Four girls' basketball crossover.
The Dutchmen ended the game on a 22-5 run, outscoring the Raiders 15-3 over the final eight minutes. Elco led by as many as 12 in the final minute of the third before the visitors implemented and repeatedly tightened a half-court noose to perfection.
"I think our offense started to feed off of our defense," A-C coach Jamie Walborn said of the comeback. "We were getting steals and easier shots verses coming down in the half-court and working the ball. We haven't been shooting well in the past couple games. We needed that."
Annville-Cleona entered the contest coming off a season-low 21-point performance in a dismal loss to Northern Lebanon last Friday. Monday's win lifts the Dutchmen to .500 (2-2 overall and 1-1 in the league).
"We lost last week and we weren't going out with another loss," said A-C's Elaina Wanamaker, who joined steady shooter Alex Siebecker with a team-high 17 points. "Sometimes we hang our heads, but this time we kept them up and fought through it."
Wanamaker exploded for a dozen in the fourth quarter. The 5-foot-8 forward also controlled the boards, wreaked havoc at mid-court and mastered the charity stripe. Plus, she never doubted the outcome even when trailing 38-26 with 1:02 left in the third quarter.
"I was like, 'We got this.' I was pumped," Wanamaker smiled. "Every time coach called a timeout, I was like, 'Let's go black,' trying to get people pumped up and to stay in it."
Leading 25-20 at halftime, Elco extended the advantage to 12 twice in the third quarter before the wheels came off. Siebecker started the surge with a steal, layup and 3-pointer.
"With Alex's speed at the top, and where we were trying to trap, it really helps 'cause she gets there fast," explained Wanamaker. "She's a great player."
Kayla Parks continued the run with a short jumper, and Gabrielle Battle (eight points) sank two free throws to end the third down seven, 40-33.
Raider sniper Cheyenne Hassler dropped 20 points in the first 24 minutes but was held without a bucket in the fourth. Elco's starting five did not register a point in the final stanza as reserves Andria Harpold and Hayley Witmer accounted for all three points. Victoria Sweatlock and Kady Yoders both ended with six points.
"They came out with an intense defense, and they were really working the ball and making smart passes into the post," Walborn said of the Raiders. "Their guards were aggressive going to the basket and it kind of took us by surprise.
"But we made our adjustments, and our girls never hung our heads. We just kept doing what we knew we could do. ... We wanted to go out and trap hard, and take away that pass, and it just kept working for us."
Wanamaker opened the fourth with five straight points to pull within a basket at 40-38. On Elco's next possession, she created a turnover and found Siebecker for the equalizer at 5:10. A few moments later, Elco's fading momentum took another hit when Yoders turned her left ankle and had to be helped off the court.
Head coach Ashli Shay's club's final lead and score of the night came with 2:01 left in regulation when Witmer made it 42-41. From there, Siebecker sank a long deuce from the corner to give A-C its first lead since 8-7 in the first quarter. Wanamaker iced the contest with an offensive rebound and putback on a missed free throw with 23 seconds to go.
"She's a hustler, she's always been a hustler, and she can shoot," Walborn said of Wanamaker. "We only have two seniors and she's one of them (along with Barbara Inman). She's a really good leader on the floor."
Wanamaker finished the night 9-for-9 from the line. A-C ended 11-for-12 as a team. The Dutchmen host Manheim Central on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
"At practice, I normally get eight out of 10," Wanamaker said. "But the past couple of games, I've been struggling at the foul line. I'm glad I came around this time. I think I took my time tonight and put them in."
Elco falls to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the league. The Raiders travel to Lancaster Mennonite for a 7:30 p.m. clash on Wednesday.