ANNVILLE - From this point forward, all of Lebanon Catholic's remaining regular-season games are merely tuneups for the Lancaster-Lebanon League and District Three basketball playoffs.
The Beavers put themselves in that rather nice position Tuesday night by clobbering Annville-Cleona 49-22 in a L-L League Section Four girls basketball clash in the A-C gym.
With the victory, the Beavers are a lock to finish second in Section Four, and the top two teams in each section make the L-L playoffs. The Beavers (8-4, 12-4) don't have a prayer of catching section front-runner Lancaster Catholic, which is 12-0. But, on the flip side, the other four clubs in the section have losing records and don't have a prayer of catching the Beavers.
Annville-Cleona (3-9, 4-13) stayed with Lebanon Catholic for one quarter -- and a strange opening quarter it was. There wasn't a single two-point bucket in the entire period; all of the scoring came from 3-pointers and free throws as the Beavers held an 11-9 lead.
Allison Warren nailed a pair of threes for the Beavers, sandwiched around one by point guard Mariah Sholly. Warren led all scorers with 17 points, and Sholly added 10.
For the Dutchmen, Michaela Singer drilled two 3-pointers, and Steph Inman hit one. Singer had a strong game and led the Dutchmen with 11 points.
In the second quarter, the Beavers' swarming 3-2 zone defense set the tone for the rest of the night, forcing numerous turnovers and cutting off the lane for the Dutchmen. That forced A-C to shoot from the outside and -- while they were getting good looks -- the shots weren't dropping.
"It was a good defensive effort," Lebanon Catholic coach Patti Hower said. "Our defense created offense."
Leading the defense was Sholly, who tormented the Dutchmen. When she wasn't making a steal or running down a loose ball, she was slapping down Dutchmen passes and disrupting the home team's offense.
"(Sholly) has a good sense of where the ball is headed, and she is physical," Hower said, "and Warren had a really good game offensively."
The Beavers were content to match the Dutchmen with 3-point shooting at the outset, before their defense wore down the Dutchmen in the second and third quarters.
"We give our girls the freedom to shoot the three," Hower said, "and they don't care who takes the shots and gets the points, because they're so unselfish.
"It's a really nice group to work with and we had some kids come off the bench and help us, and that's always a nice thing."
Two devastating runs by the Beavers put the game out of reach. The first was a 12-0 run in the second quarter that extended their lead to 26-11. Neesha Pierre had five points in that stretch, including a three-point play.
The second was a 13-0 burst in the third quarter as the Dutchmen failed to score in the first seven minutes. It was highlighted by a four-point play by Warren, and when the run was over, it was 39-13, Beavers.
Lebanon Catholic 49, Annville-Cleona 22
Lebanon Catholic (49)
Mariah Sholly 4 0-0 10, Hannah Callihan 0 0-0 0, Neesha Pierre 2 3-4 7, Allison Warren 5 3-3 17, Jayden Shellehamer 2 1-2 5, Celine Mars 2 0-0 4, Faith Kostow 1 0-0 2, Leah Pastal 2 0-0 4. Totals — 18 7-9 49.
Morgan Zimmerman 0 0-0 0, Hannah Fischer 0 0-0 0, Michaela Singer 4 0-0 11, Katie Shaak 0 0-0 0, Meredith Bachman 1 0-2 3, Destinee Loy 1 0-0 2, Addie Hayes 0 0-0 0, Chloe Inman 0 0-2 0, Stephanie Inman 2 0-0 5, Alyssa Felty 0 0-0 0, Madison Luciotti 0 1-2 1. Totals — 8 1-6 22.
Leb. Cath._ 11_ 15_ 13_ 10 _ — _ 49
A-Cleona_ 9_ 4 _ 3_ 6 — _ 22
3-point goals — LC 6 (Warren 4, Sholly 2); A-C 5 (Singer 3, Bachman, S.Inman).