Lancaster Catholic freshman Kiki Jefferson scored 20 points and hauled in 14 rebounds to help the Crusaders defeat E-Town, 61-32 and advance to the L-L semifinals. John Buffone
LANCASTER — Then again, sometimes a postseason matchup goes exactly as expected.
Shaking off a pesky second-quarter effort from Elizabethtown, the Lancaster Catholic Crusaders took care of business in the
second half, dispatching the visiting Lady Bears 61-32 to advance to Wednesday’s L-L League semifinals.
Coming in with just one loss, the Section Four champion Crusaders (22-1) forced 10 first-quarter turnovers and burst out to a 23-7 lead before the Lady Bears (12-11, Section Two runner-up) rallied, closing to within 28-16 at halftime.
“We were preaching to the girls all week that Etown is going to come out hard,” said head coach Charlie Detz, now in his second year at the helm of the Crusaders. “I think it came to fruition that first half, we were up eleven at the end of the first quarter and usually that’s when we are able to extend the lead.
“They kept fighting and at the half we’re only up twelve, we were only able to extend our lead a point. We talked about that at halftime, I got their attention, we came out and played a much better half.”
Etown’s senior captain Rachel Sweger (eight points) drilled a 3-pointer to open the second quarter for John Myers’ Bears, who were playing for their playoff lives after barely missing out on the district tournament.
A pair of buckets from Caroline Scarff (14 points), a reverse lay-up from Lauren Mills (eight points), and a driving layup from freshman Kiki Jefferson (game-high 20 points) helped build the lead to 23-7 before Etown closed the half on a 9-2 run.
“We had to come out knowing that we really wanted to win,” said Jefferson, who as a freshman was in her first postseason rodeo. “I was a little nervous but my team helped me. We wanted to send them home and we did.”
Jefferson, who grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, tallied seven points in the third quarter when the Crusaders righted the ship.
“We didn’t want to hear that after the game,” Jefferson said after Detz’ halftime speech. “We knew we had to come out. It wasn’t going to come easy, so we had to work harder.”
Senior Annaliese Schreder (eight points) opened the third quarter with a steal and easy layup. While Etown closed to within 43-24 at the end of the quarter, aided by four of Marena Lonardi’s team-high nine points, the Crusaders easily pulled away in the fourth quarter with a 16-2 run.
“Annaliese and Scarff, it just touched me when they said, ‘it’s our last time,’” Jefferson said of what the league tournament means to the players. “I said, ‘it’s my first time, so we’re going to ball-out and we did.’”
Wednesday’s semifinal is slated for 7 p.m. at Warwick high school, opposite Section One Champion and defending L-L Champion Cedar Crest (21-2), a 51-35 winner over Cocalico Monday.
“My sister played (against) them and I’m ready,” Jefferson said, referring to her older sister, Ayanda, who played for Section One stalwart McCaskey last season.
“I think our girls will be ready for it,” Detz said of the possible matchup versus Cedar Crest. “They’re a great team, we’re going to have to play better than we did tonight and make some adjustments. We have another day to get ready for them, so we’ll be ready.”
Lancaster Catholic 61, Elizabethtown 32
M. Lonardi 3 3-4 9, R. Sweger 3 1-2 8, A. Orban 0 5-6 5, B. Polites 2 0-0 4, S. Arnold 2 0-0 4, E. Forry 0 2-2 2, S. Ortiz-Kreiner 0 0-1 0, Totals 10 11-15 32.
Lancaster Catholic (61)
K. Jefferson 7 5-5 20, C. Scarff 7 0-0 14, A. Schreder 4 0-0 8, L. Mills 4 0-0 8, J. Breit 3 0-2 6, C. Rivera 1 1-2 3, C. Ricci 1 0-1 2, M. Hackman 0 0-0 0, L. Fritz 0 0-0 0, H. Jones 0 0-0 0, P. Jaquis 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 6-10 61.
ET _ 04 _ 12 _ 08 _ 08 _ — _ 32
LC _ 15 _ 13 _ 15 _ 18 _ — _ 61
3-Point Goals — ET 1 (R. Sweger); LC 1 (K. Jefferson)