Juggernaut Manheim Township defended its home court, pounding the short-handed Little Dutchmen 62-21 in the opening round of the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs on Tuesday.
The Section One champion Blue Streaks secured their 49th straight league - and 14th overall victory -with ease, rolling to a 41-point decision. Township dominated the paint on both ends of the court, spreading the wealth as 11 different players scored at least a basket.
Kaitlyn VanTash, Alexandra Leslie and Alex Ross all reached double digits for the hosts, who advance to Thursday's semifinal opposite Lampeter-Strasburg. The Pioneers grounded Cocalico 53-42 on Tuesday.
"I give their kids credit," Blue Streak boss Sean Burkhart said. "That's pretty darn close to the best we played all season. We had a whole week of practice to work on stuff and didn't have to worry about the game-in and game-out. You could definitely see a difference, and some rested legs made a difference, too."
Township (20-2) jumped out to a 21-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, extending the advantage to 33-9 by halftime.
"We were letting them catch it in the paint. We didn't box out; giving them second shots," said Annville-Cleona head coach Jamie Walborn. "Yeah, they just took it to us in the paint."
Section Four runner-up A-C (14-9) took the court without its top scorer Alex Siebecker. Dressed in street clothes, the Dutchmen's junior sparkplug (13.8 points per game) missed the contest after injuring her left ankle in practice.
"They're a different team when Alex is playing. I found out 20 minutes before the game she wasn't playing, and I felt a little better about our chances," added Burkhart. "She's a great player. You take a great player off a team and it's going to have an impact."
Junior Kayla Parks paced the Dutchmen's offense, dropping a team-high nine points.
"This is no pressure. We're here and it means something that we finished second at the top of our section," Walborn said referring to the Dutchmen's preseason goals. "We accomplished (it). We're here. It was nice to make it, it was good for the program."
Leading by 24 at the break, Township extended its lead to 50-13 by the end of the third quarter. In the fourth, A-C generated eight points, including four free throws form Parks. The Dutchmen, making their first league playoff appearance since 2005-06, finished 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.
"We haven't played a team as big as that," added Walborn. "We played Lancaster Catholic, which is quick, but not with that size. They're quick, they're big, they're strong. We haven't seen anything quite like that."
VanTash (14 points), Leslie (13), Ross (13) fronted a balanced-attack. The only drawback for Township happened in the fourth when Caitlin Shultz appeared to injure her left knee and had to be helped off the court.
"I told them in the locker room, this could be a learning experience for us," Walborn said. "Regardless of the score, it made us better. It pointed out what we need to work on."
The Dutchmen rest until Friday, Feb. 22, when they host Camp Hill in the first round of the PIAA District Three Class AA Championships at A-C High School at 7 p.m.
MANHEIM TOWNSHIP 62, ANNVILLE-CLEONA 21
Brown 0 0-0 0, B. Inman 0 0-0 0, Wanamaker 1 4-4 6, Reigle 0 0-0 0, Fischer 0 0-0 0, Bachman 1 0-0 2, Parks 2 4-4 9, Winters 1 0-0 2, Hayes 0 0-0 0, S. Inman 0 0-0 0, Battle 1 0-0 2. Totals 6 8-8 21.
MANHEIM TOWNSHIP (62)
Hendrick 1 0-0 2, Files 1 2-2 5, Shultz 0 0-0 0, Cotter 1 0-0 2, Braswell 0 0-0 0, Relin 1 1-2 3, VanTash 7 0-0 14, Kaplan 1 0-0 2, Pompey 1 0-0 2, Leslie 6 1-1 13, Ross 6 1-2 13, Ridley 1 0-0 2, Hickey 0 0-0 0, Kuntz 2 0-1 4, Beitzel 2 0-1 4. Totals 28 5-8 62.
Annville-Cleona 6 3 4 8 - 21
Manheim Township 21 12 17 12 - 62
3-point goals - Annville-Cleona 1 (Parks), Manheim Township 1 (Files).
Total Fouls - Annville-Cleona 7, Manheim Township 6
Fouled Out - None
Other L-L Scores
Lancaster Catholic 43, Hempfield 39
Lampeter-Strasburg 53, Cocalico 42
Elco 35, Ephrata 26