HAGERSTOWN, MD. >> Shalom Christian girls basketball coach Brad Eby told his players before the game Monday evening that if they could hold their opponent, Grace Academy, to a score in the 20s, then good things would happen.
The team listened, and the one really good thing that happened was a second consecutive Mason-Dixon Christian Conference championship for the Flames, who defeated Grace 41-27 on the Knights' home court.
"I felt that if we played good defense, it would create offense for us, and I was very pleased with how we did," Eby said. "We were able to win every quarter."
It was change in positioning of two starters that made a huge difference.
Eby said, "When we lost Brooke Kuhn earlier (to an injury), we put Lauren Stains in the middle of our 2-3 zone. We decided tonight it might be a good idea to put Lauren on the wing and move Lexy Poe into the middle. And it really worked.
"Our 2-3 zone worked really well. They weren't able to penetrate and Lexy had a great night inside. It was amazing how well we played on defense."
Tori Yoder led the Flames (16-4) with 11 points and she added nine rebounds and nine steals to nearly achieve a triple-double.
Poe also had eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks, Lydia Harris had eight points, while Kara Lehman contributed 10 points and six boards.
Eby said, "Kara Lehman really brought her best game tonight. She is a senior and she really left everything on the court for her final home game. Tori was a little off tonight with her shooting, but others stepped up."
For Grace, Tyler Morgan led with 10 points and Lindsay Bendregal had seven.
"Bendregal is a really great point guard and if you let her get it going, she'll make you pay," Eby said. "If you can control her and Morgan, you can control the rest and we did that tonight."
The other factor was that Shalom did not let the Knights' press affect the game much.
Eby said, "We didn't want their press to hurt us, so we decided to press them in the second quarter (when the Flames outscored Grace 13-6). We kept them from making any good runs against us. Grace plays with a lot of emotion and the game was on their home court, so we felt playing good defense would keep the crowd out of it."
Shalom will play in the KCEA National Tournament in Erie starting March 5.
GRACE ACADEMY (27)
Lindsay Bendregal 2 3-4 7, Tyler Morgan 4 2-2 10, Jocelyn Quirple 2 0-2 4, Amanda Eby 1 0-0 2, Mary Hykes 2 0-2 4.
Totals — 10 8-17 27.
SHALOM CHRISTIAN (41)
Tori Yoder 5 1-6 11, Kara Lehman 4 2-2 10, Lexy Poe 2 2-2 8, Lydia Harris 3 2-2 8, Brooke Emge 1 0-0 2, Kylie Eby 1 0-0 2, Lauren Stains 0 0-0 0, Paige Hoover 0 0-0 0.
Totals — 15 7-10 41.
Grace Acad.66510—27Shalom Chr.913811—41
3-point goals — SC 2 (Poe 2).