Either Cedar Crest girls basketball coach Jim Donmoyer gave a Knute Rockne-like halftime speech on Tuesday night, or the Falcons are a mighty big problem when they put it all together.
Probably a little of both.
After mixing flashes of brilliance with stretches of lethargy in a first half that ended with a 27-24 lead, Cedar Crest exploded for 29 points in the third quarter on the way to a 66-48 non-league triumph over Wilson at the Falcon Cage.
Now 3-0 heading into Friday night's Section One opener with perennial rival McCaskey, the Falcons have played some pretty good basketball over the last few seasons but you'd be hard-pressed to find better than the first eight minutes they put together after halftime on Tuesday night.
"That was probably the best I saw them play," said Donmoyer of the third quarter clinic. "They put together a good third quarter. You don't realize it when you're coaching, but it was like 'We got a lot of points really quick. How many did we have at halftime?'"
Cedar Crest, which placed four players in double figures led by senior center Alyssa Austin's 17 points, also scored points in bunches early, needing just 2:44 into the opening quarter to grab a 13-3 lead. Ariel Jones, who checked in with 13 points while Raven Morgan and Rachel Witherite chipped in 11 apiece, capped the early flurry with an old-school 3-point play with 5:16 still to play in the first.
But from there, Wilson (0-2), led by Zakiyah Winfield's 16 points, borderline outplayed the Falcons while pulling to within 3 at the break.
"I don't know if we thought the game was over after the first five minutes or what," Donmoyer said. "We just stood around. So basically at halftime, it was, 'You know, we can't pick and choose when we play. We gotta play hard all the time. The first five minutes shows me how hard we can play, the rest of the half not so much.'"
The Falcons clearly took those words to the heart, as evidenced by the 29-point romp through the third, which began with a Witherite '3' and ended with one from Austin. In between, Jones, Morgan and Jade Rolon also got into the act as the lead grew to 56-36 heading into the fourth.
"A lot of kids scored tonight," said Donmoyer, who ended up getting points from seven different players. "That's a great team effort. We have a lot of kids who can do a lot of different things. Do I think we can play better than that third quarter? I would hope to think, because if we can that's very scary."
Cedar Crest 66, Wilson 48
Zakiynh Winfield 7 2-2 16, Kaya Burkhart 3 0-2 8, Jordan Hulman 3 0-0 9, Haley Myer 1 0-0 2, Erin Doyle 2 0-0 5, Rachel Owens 2 0-2 4, Jen Wallace 1 2-2 4. Totals — 19 4-8 48.
Cedar Crest (66)
Ariel Jones 4 5-5 13, Jade Rolon 2 2-2 6, Gracen Donmoyer 2 0-0 4, Madison Rambler 1 2-2 4, Rachel Witherite 4 0-0 11, Raven Morgan 4 3-4 11, Alyssa Austin 4 6-8 17, Guth 0 0-0 0, Bucher 0 0-0 0, Woelfling 0 0-0 0 Totals — 21 18-21 66
Cedar Crest 19 8 29 10 — 66
Wilson 13 11 12 12 — 48
3-point field goals: W - Hulman 3, Burkhart 2, Doyle. CC - Austin 3, Witherite 3.