The Beavers were held to 11 second-half points in a tough loss to Lancaster Catholic
By using its quickness, the Lebanon Catholic girls basketball team avoided a hounding press Thursday. With their persistence in attacking the basket, the Beavers maintained a manageable deficit, too.
But laced up for four quarters against a taller, deeper Lancaster Catholic squad, there was only so much they could do to overcome those physical disadvantages, which affected and hurt them in nearly every other area.
Sprung by a 13-1 run to open the second half, the Crusaders cruised past Lebanon Catholic, 62-37, Thursday on Assumption Hill and swept the regular-season series between the two programs. Kiki Jefferson led Lancaster Catholic with 19 points, while Neesha Pierre's 13 topped all Beaver scoring totals.
Lebanon Catholic (12-5, 8-5 Lancaster-Lebanon) netted only 11 points after halftime.
"Well, their height hurts us on the boards, and their depth hurts us because we play five people," Beavers coach Patti Hower said. "They throw so many people at you and then there's not much of a drop-off since they have a lot of nice players coming right off the bench."
Lancaster Catholic (16-1, 13-0) managed to hold Lebanon Catholic point guard Mariah Sholly to a single point, leaving Pierre and others to guide the direction of the offense. Nevertheless, the Beavers traded baskets with their visitors early by outrunning the Crusaders' patented press defense after makes and misses. That is, until they began surrendering consecutive offensive rebounds, which led to a 21-14 Lancaster Catholic lead after the first, punctuated by a Jefferson put-back.
An even second quarter then followed, highlighted by the game of size versus speed and five points apiece from Pierre and Allie Warren (10 points). Entering intermission, Crusaders coach Charlie Detz had a simple message for his team.
"At halftime, I told them we have two choices. Either impose our will or let them hang in the game," Detz said. "To the kids' credit, they made shots and then we got the freshmen rolling."
Lauren Mills (16 points) knocked down the first Lancaster Catholic jumper of the half, a right-wing trey that initiated a double-digit lead her team never relinquished. Despite a later 19-point edge at the 2:35 mark of the third quarter, Detz ordered his group to hold the ball near mid-court in an effort to draw Lebanon Catholic out of its zone. The loitering lasted until the clock ran down to 10 seconds, when the Crusaders returned to executing offense, as they did for the remainder of the game.
"I was pleased with the way we executed some things. I thought if we could handle that press then we could be in the game. And we were for a while," Hower said. "At that point, we weren't likely going to make up 20 points anyways, so we figured we would take a rest and then try and cut into that a little bit."
While the Beavers only saw the margin grow in the fourth, Warren did can her second 3-pointer of the night and Leah Pastal drained a trio of free throws.
Lebanon Catholic closes out league play at home on Monday with a 7:30 p.m. tip against Lancaster Mennonite.
Lancaster Catholic 62, Lebanon Catholic 37
Lancaster Catholic (62)
Crista Ricci 1 0-0 3, Lauren Mills 7 0-0 16, Annaliese Schreder 3 0-0 6, Lily Fritz 1 0-0 3, Kiki Jefferson 7 5-5 19, Julia Breit 3 0-1 6, Caroline Scarff 3 2-2 8, Corina Rivera 0 1-2 1. Totals — 25 8-10 62
Lebanon Catholic (37)
Mariah Sholly 0 1-2 1, Neesha Pierre 4 5-8 13, Allie Warren 2 4-4 10, Jayden Shllenhammer 1 0-0 2, Celine Mars 3 2-2 8, Leah Pastal 0 3-4 3 Totals — 10 15-20 37
Lancaster Cath. _ 21 _ 14 _ 15 _ 12 _ — _62
Lebanon Cath. _ 14 _ 12 _ 5 _ 6 _— _37
3-point goals — Lanc. C 5 (Mills 2, Ricci, Fritz). Leb. C 2 (Warren 2).