DENVER — Some teams are happy to have a one-point lead at halftime. For the Lancaster Catholic Lady Crusaders basketball team, however, it can be a bit unusual.
Monday night at Cocalico High School, the Lady Crusaders nonetheless expanded their one-point lead into a 67-43 throttling of the Cocalico Eagles to remain undefeated in league play heading into Wednesday’s home match versus unbeaten Northern Lebanon.
“We came in the (locker room) and we said it was a one-point game,” began Crusaders’ senior center Caroline Scarff. “We’re like we’re in this. So I think it was just all the emotion and all the determination, we went out there and were like, one more half.”
While veterans understand, it’s often the newbies who take it to heart.
Immediately out of the break Scarff found freshman forward Kiki Jefferson on a high-low combination for an easy bucket, sparking eight consecutive points from Jefferson and off-setting a game-tying three-ball from Eagles’ senior Emily White.
After four points from Scarff, Catholic suddenly had a 43-33 lead with 4:10 to play in the quarter.
“I remember last year we graduated senior Hannah Knowlton; we were always in a high-low. Subbing Kiki in there to take Hannah’s spot is just the perfect fit,” said Scarff, who finished with 13 points and contributed a cadre of assists to help Jefferson to a game-high 25 points. “The height and size, she’s just so athletic, so between her and I rotating, it’s the same thing we had as last year.”
Cocalico was held to just five points in the third as momentum swung the Crusaders’ way. Cocalico was paced by Emily Fassnacht’s eight points, including a personal 5-0 run in the second quarter to contribute to an ephemeral 24-19 lead.
“Defensively we just can’t give up,” Scarff said of the second-half effort. “We’re all tired of course, we’re face-guarding some people but we helped, we were in help inside. It’s one-hundred percent from everyone.”
“At halftime we had a one-point lead and we just told them look, we will impose our will and wear them down and I think that’s what happened,” said head coach Charlie Detz. “Defensively we just took them out of what they wanted to do and in the second half I think there was part exhaustion and part great plays by our defense.”
The loss snapped Cocalico’s five game-winning streak as they chase Northern Lebanon in Section Three.
“I don’t think their adjustments bothered us, I just think that we didn’t box-out,” said Cocalico head coach Tony DiMatteo, whose team was coming off a win Saturday versus previously undefeated Red Lion. “We made them come down and force some shots but they got second chance shots. Scarff and Jefferson are athletes, you don’t box them out, they’re big, and they made us pay.
“That changed the momentum and then they got a couple breaks going to the hoop and that was it.”
Jefferson had 12 points in the third quarter, and was credited with an incredible 22 rebounds for the game.
The fourth quarter was much of the same as the Lady Crusaders continued the scoring fest, Jefferson showing plenty of emotion as teammate Heather Mills (13 points) grabbed the offensive board and put it back for a traditional 3-point play for a 64-39 advantage.
“The fourth quarter was great because we could see it paying off,” Scarff said. “We were up by fifteen to sixteen points, just pouring it on, just you know, keep going. Coach kept saying don’t let up, don’t let up, so we just executed.”
Now the Lady Crusaders get set for their matchup with Northern Lebanon on Wednesday, another game that promises some back and forth moments.
“The Trinity loss was a tough loss,” Scarff said of Catholic’s lone blemish. “I think that just kind of shook us up, woke us up in the thinking. We can’t underestimate anybody.”
They probably won’t underestimate a one-point halftime lead, either.
Lancaster Catholic 67, Cocalico 43
Lancaster Catholic (67)
K. Jefferson 9 7-7 25, C. Scarff 4 5-8 13, L. Mills 4 5-5 13, J. Breit 4 0-0 8, A. Schreder 1 0-0 3, C. Ricci 1 0-0 3, C. Rivera 1 0-0 2, M. Hackman 0 0-0 0, L. Fritz 0 0-0 0, H. Ramos 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 17-20 67.
E. Fassnacht 3 1-2 8, L. Engle 3 1-1 7, M. Gingrich 3 0-2 6, M. Bock 2 0-0 6, E. White 1 3-6 6, J. Lorah 2 0-2 4, S. Klumpp 2 0-0 4, S. Benson 0 2-2 2, O. Fassnacht 0 0-0 0, K. DiCiano 0 0-0 0, A. Peters 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 7-15 43.
LC _ 17 _ 14 _ 18 _ 18 _ — _ 67
COC _ 19 _ 11 _ 05 _ 08 _ — _ 43
3-Point Goals — LC 2 (Schreder, Ricci); COC 4 (Bock 2, White, E. Fassnacht)
JV Score — Cocalico 27, Lancaster Catholic 17