ELIZABETHTOWN — A trio of scorers on the court at the same time can make the game of basketball look easy.
But for Cedar Crest’s Alyssa Austin and Ariel Jones, steals, blocks, and buckets were all part of the Falcons’ 62-42, business-as-usual victory over the Elizabethtown Bears and their freshman standout Marena Lonardi in a Section One-Two crossover Wednesday night.
The three aforementioned players all topped 20 points, chipping in an array of extra effort plays in the process. But for Cedar Crest (13-1, 9-1 Section One), it was a first-half blitz that ultimately did-in the hometown Bears (8-7, 6-4 Section Two).
“I feel like if we have a good start it tends to keep our team going,” Jones said post-game. “When we work together we get excited together, we’ll play better and it will lead throughout the whole game.”
“We had a lot of scoring from girls that don’t normally come out from the start,” Austin said of what was a 38-15 halftime edge. “All of our shots were on tonight, it was just a really good start.”
Jones, in particular, led by example, taking the opening tip from Austin and dropping in an easy bucket. She followed that up with a quick steal and 3-pointer, grabbing her second steal in as many Etown possessions to fuel a 10-0 game-opening run.
“She’s our catalyst,” said Falcons’ head coach Jim Donmoyer of his junior point guard. “She sets the tempo for us, she’s just that kind of kid, that kind of player.”
Coupled with Austin, the Falcons have a one-two punch that most teams can’t account for. The duo entered Wednesday’s contest with identical scoring totals, and not surprisingly tied for the team-high total with 22 points against the Bears.
Lonardi (game-high 23 points) broke-up Cedar Crest’s score-fest with a triple in the first quarter, later gathering a few steals in the second to slow the Falcons. But Etown simply couldn’t drive inside no matter how often they tried.
“We don’t want to change the way we play and have (our guards) be timid,” Bears’ head coach John Myers said. “They go to the basket and we wanted to keep that up tonight even though (Austin) is in there blocking shots.”
Austin was credited for nine blocks to go along with a handful of steals. What with rebounds and points, it seemed a possibility early on that the junior center would come away with a quadruple-double.
“Just doing what I always do, that’s what I know to do, it’s how I play my game,” Austin said, conceding a passion for blocking shots.
“She does that every night,” Donmoyer said of the blocks. “She has to be averaging six or seven a game. We can get out and pressure kids knowing we have her back there.”
After the half, Lonardi’s twelve-point third quarter helped Etown right the ship. But Cedar Crest would expand its lead to 62-32 in the fourth before the Bears finished on a 10-0 run with Austin and Jones out of the game.
“I think (this game) shows we have a lot of confidence in our team,” Jones said, “and as long as we stick together and play like we’re playing, we can pretty much do a lot together.”
And make it look easy at the same time.
Cedar Crest 62, Elizabethtown 42
Cedar Crest (62)
A. Jones 8 3-4 22, A. Austin 11 0-1 22, S. Yancey 2 0-0 6, G. Donmoyer 1 2-2 5, C. Albright 1 1-2 3, S. Bartal 1 0-0 2, K. Guth 1 0-0 2, A. Merkey 0 0-2 0, J. Rolon 0 0-0 0, R. Witherite 0 0-0 0, R. Morgan 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 6-11 62.
M. Lonardi 7 5-6 23, S. Pierson 3 2-5 8, A. Orban 2 3-4 7, E. Forry 1 0-0 2, S. Arnold 0 2-2 2, S. Ortiz-Kreiner 0 0-0 0, B. Polites 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 12-17 42.
CC _ 23 _ 15 _ 11 _ 13 _ — _ 62
ET _ 10 _ 05 _ 14 _ 13 _ — _ 42
3-Point Goals — CC 6 (A. Jones 3, S. Yancey 2, G. Donmoyer 1); ET 4 (M. Lonardi 4)
JV Score — Cedar Crest 30, Elizabethtown 17