FREDERICKSBURG - Undefeated Northern Lebanon celebrated girls hoops win No. 13 on Friday before a large crowd in the Vikings' gym that included a raucous student section.
As they have all season, juniors Zoe Zerman and Megan Brandt dictated play with their all-around court savvy in a 56-23 win over Manheim Central in L-L League Section 3 action.
For good measure, sophomore Liz Voight contributed 15 points, second only to Zerman's game-high 17.
At 3-9, the Barons were ultimately no match for the Vikes, who are ranked No. 2 in District 3 Class AAA behind Berks Catholic (9-2).
"Manheim Central came out and played hard, very physical," NL coach Ken Battistelli said. "They dictated the early tempo, but it ended up playing right into our hands. We got a few turnovers and started running with them, sometimes too fast. Some of our decision making wasn't the best."
Zerman hit two early hoops to open the game, including her first of two 3-pointers. Voight then scored six straight points as the Vikes opened a 13-3 lead with 1:43 left in the first quarter.
Brandt, who finished with 12 points and six steals, had three first-quarter baskets to help NL forge a 19-5 lead after eight minutes.
Voight opened the second quarter with a deuce to make it 21-5, with the Vikes eventually settling for a 27-9 halftime lead.
When Voight hit a trey at the 6:13 mark of the third, NL opened a commanding 32-9 advantage.
"I thought we played pretty well tonight," Voight said. "We came up with some steals that got our transition game going. When we got the big lead, it helped build confidence for everybody."
It could get tougher for NL next week when it visits Section 4 leader Lancaster Catholic on Wednesday, following a Monday game at home with Annville-Cleona. The Crusaders, who are averaging nearly 70 points a game, figure to be NL's toughest test to date.
Lancaster Catholic is 11-1 and ranked No. 9 in the district, following its blowout win recently over Mid Penn Keystone Division leader Bishop McDevitt, which was ranked No. 3 in the district at the time.
Battistelli said his team isn't looking past Annville-Cleona.
"We haven't really talked about Lancaster Catholic yet," he said. "Our next game is Annville-Cleona. I know Lancaster Catholic is going to be a big game that everybody is going to be talking about, but really, it's just another game for us. We're just looking to take care of our own business."
Voight said the team is looking forward to playing Lancaster Catholic.
"We haven't talked about it, but we've been thinking about it," she said. "We know it's going to be a hard game. We're looking forward to it."
With each win, the Vikes are going where no NL team has ever gone before.
"This team is for real," said retired NL athletic director Ed Ludwig, who has been monitoring Viking basketball teams since the early 1960s. "To the best of my knowledge, there's never been a team at Northern Lebanon that's been 13-0. What impresses me most about this team is its defense."
Northern Lebanon 56, Manheim Central 23
Manheim Central (23)
Sara Ober 2 0-0 4, Brooke Breinich 4 1-2 9, Elli Weaver 0 0-2 0, Emma Beamesderfer 1 1-2 3, Serena Conde 1 1-2 3, Jaya Pabon 1 0-0 2, Kate Greene 1 0-0 2. Totals — 10 3-8 23.
Northern Lebanon (56)
Megan Brandt 6 0-0 12, Zoe Zerman 6 3-7 17, Liz Voight 7 0-0 15, Amber Kintzer 1 1-2 3, Cassiah Ray 1 6-6 9, Jenna Wentling 0 0-0 0, Brianna Seip 0 0-0 0, Kaylee Mauser 0 0-0 0, Charis Gatoura 0 0-0 0, Emma Kelliher 0 0-1 0. Totals — 21 10-16 56.
Manheim Central _ 5 _ 4 _ 6 _ 8 _ — _ 23
Northern Lebanon_ 19 _ 8 _ 17 _ 12 _ — _ 56
3-point goals — NL 4 (Zerman 2, Voight, Ray).