To call the first half of Saturday's District 3 Class A girls' basketball quarterfinal between Lancaster Country Day and Christian School of York low scoring might be an understatement.
The two teams equally combined for 16 first-half points.
Christian School of York finally began to find the basket in the second half as it pulled away for a 34-12 win against the Cougars at the Christian School of York gym on Saturday afternoon.
"We had some good looks," said Christian School of York coach Michael Graybill. "At halftime, the coaching staff was joking that maybe it was the ball. Like deflate-gate or something all over again. We had different kids square up, shoot and shots rattled out. We just told them at halftime that it wasn't going to be like that the whole game."
The third-seeded Crusaders (19-6) next meet 10th-seeded Greenwood (8-16) in the Class A semifinals at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Northern High School. The win by Christian School of York on Saturday assures the team of at least three more games. The Crusaders have now qualified for what Graybill believes might be their first PIAA state tournament, and they will either play in the championship game or third-place game of the District 3 tourney beyond Tuesday.
"This is big," said junior guard Kaitlyn Hess, who scored a game-high 10 points for the Crusaders. "Everybody has worked so hard. This is the first time our school has gone to states, so it's nice for us."
A year ago, Christian School of York was in an almost identical position. The Crusaders came into districts seeded fourth and had a home court game against No. 5 seed Steel-High, which was much better than its 7-16 record indicated. Steel-High ended the Crusaders season with a 51-28 win, and the Rollers went on to win the District 3 Class A title.
"We definitely thought about that and had that in the back of our heads," Hess said. "We didn't focus on it, though. We were focused just on this game and getting the win."
Both teams used zone defenses in Saturday's game, and Christian School of York added some three-quarter court pressure to harass the Lancaster Country Day ball handlers.
"We played them before (at Lancaster Country Day on Dec. 16) and won by four," Graybill said. "We also scouted them last week, and we felt like we could pressure them a bit. We pressed them after halftime the first time we played them. We knew that could be to our advantage."
That resulted in just three field goals and 24 turnovers by Lancaster Country Day in the game. The Cougars missed their first 14 field goal attempts until junior guard Emily Quan sank a jump shot from the left wing with 4:19 before halftime.
"We knew Quan was probably their top scoring threat, so we focused our two best defenders on her to try and shut her down," Hess said. "We held her to two points, so that was big for us."
Lancaster Country Day finished the day shooting 3-of-34 from the field (8.8 percent). Christian School of York was 3-of-18 in the opening half (16.7 percent), but made 10-of-23 second-half shots (43.5 percent), with seven of those being layups.
The third quarter was when the Crusaders pulled away. Hess broke a 10-10 tie on a fast-break layup with 4:25 remaining. That spurred a nine-point run to end the quarter, with freshman guard Kendis Butler's buzzer-beating 3-pointer capping the run. Christian School of York then used a 15-2 fourth quarter to seal the win.
One area Lancaster Country Day did excel in was rebounding, where six-foot senior center Catherine Oxholm, 5-9 sophomore Victoria Gardner and 5-9 freshman Maya McDougall (off the bench) helped the Cougars to a 35-25 advantage. The tallest starters for Christian School of York were 5-7 freshman guard Mekenzie Smith and the 5-7 Hess.
Christian School of York 34, Lancaster Country Day 12
Lancaster Country Day (12)
Wynne 0 0-0 0, Schlageter 0 2-2 2, V. Gardner 0 1-4 1, Quan 1 0-0 2, Oxholm 1 0-1 2, McDougall 1 3-6 5, C. Gardner 0 0-2 0, Proulx 0 0-0 0, Mangas 0 0-0 0.
Totals — 3 6-15 12.
Christian School of York (34)
Shelton 1 0-0 2, Butler 3 0-0 8, Smith 1 0-1 2, Stauffer 2 0-0 4, Kaitlyn Hess 4 2-4 10, Martin 0 3-4 3, Larson 2 1-1 5, Landis 0 0-0 0, Tschopp 0 0-1 1, Hofer 0 0-0 0.
Totals — 13 6-11 34.
Lancaster Country Day2622—12Christian School of York531115—34
3-point goals — LCD 0. CSY 2 (Butler 2.)