And on Wednesday night, the Vikings rose to that challenge, shaking off Brandt's absence to upend Garden Spot, 36-34, in a key Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three clash in Fredericksburg.
Now 7-3 overall and 4-1 in the section, Northern Lebanon knocked the Spartans out of a share of first place behind a balanced attack led by nine points apiece from Kristen Lessing and Brandt's replacement, Morgan Hollis.
Mariah LiBrandi and Taylor Smith chipped in with eight points each for Northern Lebanon, which outscored the Spartans 15-7 in the third quarter on the way to the win.
Brandt's status for the remainder of the season is in question. She tore her ACL against Manheim Central on Dec. 21 and has been out since. However, she is planning to try to play again after she is fitted for a knee brace on Monday.
Elsewhere Wednesday night:
Now 5-5 overall and 3-2 in Section Two, Lebanon overcame dreadful 1-for-10 foul shooting and 19 points from Solanco center Gillian Glackin to pull off the win.
Brittany Ulrich chipped in with eight points for Lebanon, which found itself in a 20-20 tie at halftime.
Now 5-4 overall and 3-2 in Section Four, Annville-Cleona was led by 16 points from senior forward Elaina Wanamaker, but also received double-digit scoring from Gabby Battle (14), Alex Siebecker (12) and Meredith Bachman (11).
The outcome was never really in doubt after A-C raced out to an 18-6 first-quarter lead.
Elco (5-5, 2-3 Section Three) jumped out to a 21-16 halftime lead but lost its grip on the upset bid in the third quarter when it was outscored 18-5.
The county's leading scorer, junior guard Cheyenne Hassler, was a bright spot in defeat with 20 points, and Kady Yoder pitched in with eight for the Raiders.
Now 2-7 overall and 1-4 in Section One, Crest fell in a 27-15 halftime hole and couldn't crawl out of it. Sisters Emily and Nichole Wagner led the Falcons with eight points apiece.
Lebanon Catholic (6-4, 2-3 Section Four) trailed 34-16 at the half and fell in deeper trouble after the Crusaders exploded for 23 points in the third quarter.