Elco got back up to .500 both overall and in Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 3 girls' basketball on Tuesday night with a 49-40 win at Annville-Cleona.
The Raiders (5-5, 2-2) led the last 26 minutes of the game and had a 17-point advantage early in the fourth quarter before the Dutchmen (4-6, 0-5) were able to chip away in the final minutes.
“Tonight is a really good start (to 2017),” Elco coach Ashli Shay said. “We felt comfortable the whole game, and never really felt like we were back on our heels.”
Both teams had to play a long portion of the game without a starter. A-C was without Chloe Inman for most of the first half due to foul trouble, while Elco was without Julia Nelson the whole second half due to an unspecified injury.
Inman had blocked two Elco shots in the first two minutes, but picked up fouls on back-to-back possessions right after that. She was on the bench until the last minute of the second quarter.
“It's always our goal to get someone in foul trouble,” Shay said. “If you can cause trouble in their lineup, especially with their tallest player, that sparks us a bit.”
When Inman left the game, the score was 6-6, but Elco scored the the last six points of the first period to take a 15-10 lead. Taylor Bossert scored four of her team-high 13 points in that mini-run.
The Dutchmen got back to within a point with Harper Sellers' putback with 3:43 left in the second quarter, but Elco scored the last 10 points of the half for a 29-18 lead. Nelson scored a basket to start the run and a free throw to end it, but left the game with 9.7 seconds remaining in the period. She finished with eight points.
Jalissa Nolt was taking advantage of Inman's absence, grabbing nine of her game-high 16 rebounds in the first half. Nolt also scored 12 points and blocked two shots.
Elco maintained a double-digit lead throughout the third quarter, and back-to-back jumpers by Kayla Gerber and Bossert put the Raiders up 43-26 with 6:14 left on the clock.
A-C made it a little dramatic with a 12-2 run, including Michaela Singer's 3-point shot that made it 45-38 with 1:34 to go. After a timeout, Elco turned the ball over, one of the Raiders' 12 second-half giveaways. But A-C's missed shot was rebounded by Nolt, and the Raiders scored the next four points of the game from the free throw line to secure the win.
“Considering we lost (Nelson) for the half, and I had to throw some players in to positions that they aren't used to, I think we did just fine,” Shay said.
Elco was 10-for-15 from the free throw line, while A-C was 6-for-20. Singer led A-C with 17 points and 13 rebounds.