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LITITZ — Sure, there were moments in the second quarter that the Ephrata girls’ basketball team would like have back.

But a fast start in the opening stanza coupled with a stout defensive effort all game long was more than enough to give the visiting Lady Mounts a 52-33 victory Friday night over Warwick in the final Section One-Two crossover contest of the season—and following next year’s realignment, ever.

The win improves Ephrata’s record to 7-9 overall, but more importantly improves their league record to 6-5 as they try to chase down an L-L League playoff spot.

“At the beginning of the game we just decided we’re going on a winning streak and it’s time to start playing together and get this big win,” said junior guard Caroline Stauffer, who tied a season-high with 20 points.

Stauffer helped Ephrata to a 17-8 first quarter lead on the strength of three 3-pointers. From there the Lady Mounts dished inside to senior center Kenzie Horst who contributed 17 points and 7 rebounds.

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Afast start in the opening stanza coupled with a stout defensive effort all game long was more than enough to give the visiting Lady Mounts a 52-33 victory Friday night John Buffone

“I was pretty excited for this game and I just made up my mind that I’m going to shoot and start to score tonight,” Stauffer said. “I think (Horst) did really well. I feel like we had a connection tonight and it just went really well as a team.”

Each team had six turnovers in the second quarter, including a span of three each to open the frame. But Warwick’s offense could never quite get on track as the Mounts held the Warriors (7-10, 5-6 Section One) to just two first half field goals.

Both teams were buoyed by impressive nights at the free-throw stripe as Janelle Garber’s Warriors were 10-of-12 at the break. But Warwick junior guard Rylee Derr was limited to a just 10 points, barely half of her season average, thanks to some one-on-one defense by Ephrata’s senior Lauren Shuke.

“Rylee is a tremendous player, she’s phenomenal, I just have so much respect for her,” said Ephrata coach Mike Garman, questioning himself for not using Shuke against the opponents’ best scorer more often. “For Lauren to do what she did, if (Derr) was going to score, (Shuke) was going make it hard for her.”

Derr fared slightly better in the second half as Warwick gained brief momentum with Kate Martin’s third-quarter three and a fourth-quarter trey from Rene Ross (8 points).

But Ephrata sank 11-of-14 second-half free-throws, finishing the game 17-of-20 overall.

“I think we’re definitely taking a step forward,” Garman said of his team’s offensive consistency. “I think we’re starting to get there. We’re not there yet.”

“You see what happens, when Caroline scores 20, Kenzie scores 17. Against Township, Caroline only scored 2, and we lose by ten points or whatever. But it was a good win to come up here and play a good Warwick team.”

Incidentally, Elizabethtown’s loss to Manheim Township leaves Ephrata and Etown (8-8, 6-5) tied atop Section Two with five league games to play.

And as Garman notes, being “tied going into Section Two play … is a great place to be.”

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Ephrata 52, Warwick 33

Ephrata (52)

C. Stauffer 6 5-6 20, K. Horst 5 7-8 17, K. Liebl 1 5-6 7, B. Ritter 2 0-0 4, L. Shuke 1 0-0 2, K. Umana 1 0-0 2, P. Sola 0 0-0 0, L. Moyer 0 0 0-0 0, K. McKim 0 0-0 0, M. Mendenhall 0 0-0 0, S. Klemka 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 17-20 52.

Warwick (33)

R. Derr 2 6-9 10, R. Ross 2 2-2 8, K. Martin 1 3-4 6, S. Earle 0 5-6 5, J. Kolp 1 0-0 2, K. Sheaffer 1 0-0 2, K. Hipple 0 0-0 0, C. Armstrong 0 0-0 0, E. Williamson 0 0-0 0, L. Snader 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 16-20 33.

EPH _ 17 _ 12 _ 13 _ 10 _ — _ 52

WW _ 08 _ 07 _ 10 _ 08 _ — _ 33

3-Point Goals — Ephrata 3 (Stauffer 3), Warwick 3 (Ross 2, Martin)

JV Score — Warwick 28, Ephrata 27

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