PALMYRA - The run, or runs, is going to come. It's almost inevitable. It's just a question of when and for how long.
Of course it is. The Cedar Crest girls basketball team didn't get to be undefeated with January winding down for no reason.
Continuing a season-long trend of turning games that are close early into eventual routs, the Falcons improved to 16-0 Saturday night with a 51-28 non-league drubbing of an up-and-coming Palmyra squad on the Cougars' home floor.
Locked in a 13-13 tie early in the second quarter, Cedar Crest, led by 17 points and 5 3-pointers from Rachel Witherite, closed the half with a 12-2 spurt capped by Ariel Jones' halfcourt heave at the buzzer, then used a game-ending 15-2 run after the Cougars had closed to within 36-26 early in the fourth quarter.
Cedar Crest coach Jim Donmoyer admitted he'd like to see a little more consistency from his team, but it's hard to complain about a group that can go off at a moment's notice.
"I'll be honest with you, we haven't gotten off to a good start in too many games this year," Donmoyer said. "It seems like it takes us a little bit to settle in. I don't know why, but it does. It does seem like every game we have that quarter or five or six-minute stretch where we're putting everything in. Everything's falling, we're getting defensive stops, everything is coming together. We need to be more consistent, but it's nice to know you have that ability."
To its credit, Palmyra (10-7) forced the Falcons to come up with the goods, playing aggressively at both ends of the floor behind an inspired effort from sophomore point guard Amelia Baldo, who tallied a team-high 11 points.
And after Olivia Richardson scored in the post 35 seconds into the second quarter to knot the score at 13, it appeared Cedar Crest just might have a four-quarter fight on its hand.
And then, suddenly the Falcons were up 25-15 at the half with the help of the aforementioned spurt that culminated with Jones' bomb from halfcourt off a Kelsey Guth steal.
"They have weapons everywhere," Palmyra coach Mary Manlove said of Cedar Crest. "I think we competed with them, and I'm thrilled with that. I felt like we kept it (close) and then they'd just throw a dagger. Number 30 (Witherite) would just hit a '3'. They just have so many weapons, so we were just perpetually crawling back. But I'm happy, I'm happy with the tenacity they showed."
Indeed, Witherite was the difference, particularly in the second half when she dropped in 12 of her 17 points and four of her five 3-pointers, Two of those treys came in the third quarter as Cedar Crest stretched its lead to 35-21.
"The last four or five games she hasn't shot the ball well, not at all," Donmoyer said of Witherite. "Here and there, but nothing consistent. Tonight, she didn't think about it, just caught it, and ripped it. That comes back to that streaky thing again. When she's streaky, she's very good. If she makes her first one or two, she gets in a rhythm. She had five 3s and they were all big."
Appropriately enough, Witherite also started Crest on its game-ending 15-2 run, burying her fourth '3' after Hanna McLucas had brought Palmyra to within 36-26 with 6:00 left.
"Those mini-streaks help," Donmoyer said. "But as you continue on (with the season) you don't want to depend on that. You just want to be consistent throughout the game."
Cedar Crest 51, Palmyra 28
Cedar Crest (51)
Jones 5 0-0 12, Donmoyer 0 0-0 0, Witherite 6 0-0 17, Morgan 4 0-0 8, Austin 3 1-3 7, Guth 0 0-0 0, Rolon 0 5-7 5, Thompson 0 2-2 2, Rambler 0 0-0 0, Bucher 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 8-12 51.
Baldo 4 2-4 11, Schultz 2 0-0 5, Copeland 0 0-0 0, McLucas 2 2-2 7, Richardson 2 0-0 5, Garcia 0 0-0 0, Wadas 0 0-0 0. Totals: 10 4-6 28.
Cedar Crest 13 12 10 16 - 51
Palmyra 11 4 6 7 - 28
3-point field goals: P - Baldo, Schultz, McLucas, Richardson CC - Witherite 5, Jones 2