Patti Hower knows what it takes to win girls basketball championships.
After all, she’s done that quite a few times in her tenure as coach at Lebanon Catholic. So when the defending District 3 Class 1A champs played on “The Hill” for the first time this season against Trinity, a night after losing at Mahanoy Area, spectators were hoping to see the Beavers rebound.
Lebanon Catholic didn’t disappoint, riding a huge 28-point second half en route to a 56-33 victory over the Shamrocks to improve to 1-1 on the season, showing just how good Hower’s team can be.
For moments in the game Wednesday night, they showed flashes of brilliance, but there were also a few moments that reminded everyone that this young team is still learning Hower’s system and each other’s tendencies on the court.
“We have the two new girls from Lebanon and Neesha (Pierre) is getting used to a new position,” said Hower, noting that Pierre had not played point guard for three years. “We will be good by the end of the year if we keep focusing on what we need to do.”
They did just that right from the start, opening with 9-0 run that started with Jayden Shellehamer’s opening trey. Alexis Hill then had back-to-back steals that led to buckets for Jasmine Turner and Pierre.
But there were times when the Beavers missed the “easy” shot or did not give a team effort on defense. Those things will come, and when they do put together an entire 32-minute game, it definitely will be something worth seeing.
Hower said, “They bounced back because we were up by 12 and they cut it to six by halftime. We came out and played the second half like it was 0-0.”
Hill, who led all players with 21 points, absolutely sparkled in her home debut for Lebanon Catholic, forcing numerous turnovers and the rest of the team seemed to feed off of that.
“She took it to them. There was nobody out there who could stay with her,” Hower said. “She’s a post player who can take it coast-to-coast, which makes teams double down on her to open up our outside shots.”
Additionally, the Beavers got a huge defensive game from Jasmine Turner. She had the task of guarding Trinity’s Ashley Dean, who has already committed to the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. Turner held Dean to 10 points.
“Jasmine played great defense on her because she’s a Division II player," Hower said. "I thought she frustrated her a little bit, and she just played great D."
The road from ahead doesn’t get any easier for the Beavers. Lebanon Catholic is one of 20 teams in District 3 in the 1A classification for girls’ basketball. The Beavers have four of those teams on their schedule, including the Christian School of York this Saturday. That game will be the fourth game the Beavers play this week, and their first against a 1A team.