No one's laughing at Littlestown anymore.
The Thunderbolts have perennially struggled in girls' basketball, but they've already won more games than any 'Bolts team since Littlestown secured a 10-win season in 2004-05. On Friday night, they beat Bermudian Springs, 41-31, to move into a tie for third place with the Eagles (5-9, 4-3) in YAIAA Division III.
Littlestown (7-6, 4-3) never trailed despite playing much of the game without starters Jill Gauthier and Aley Abate, who struggled with foul trouble.
“Now we know other (teams) and coaches have respect for us,” said Littlestown guard Janelle Kress, who called the victory the team's biggest so far this season.
The Thunderbolts play with just nine players and do not field a junior varsity team. During the pregame introductions, however, young girls came out from the stands to help form a tunnel for the starters to run though after being introduced.
Littlestown is experiencing its best season in years, so much so that coach Chris Myers brought up the prospect of qualifying for districts to his team for the first time in the locker room after the game.
“They made a commitment over the summer," he said of his team's newfound success. "Let’s be honest, we haven’t been very good. They just finally decided they’re tired of losing and being laughed at all the time. They worked really hard this offseason and now they’re seeing some of the fruits of their labor.”
Guard Janelle Kress scored a game-high 11 points, while Michaela Yealy and Emily Lanahan — the team's lone senior — both added eight. Allexa Morgan, Lindsey Snyder and Kyara Chase-Padilla came off of Littlestown's bench and helped the team stay ahead while the starters rested to avoid more fouls. Snyder made a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to give her team an eight-point lead.
“The girls on bench don’t play as much as they would like," Myers said. "Which is a good thing. I want them to want to play. You can go one of two ways: You can throw in the towel because you’re not a starter or not playing as much as you would like, or you can say, 'hey, when it’s my turn I’m gonna be ready.' Tonight it was their turn and they were ready.”
Littlestown's defense frustrated Eagles guard Kenzie Farley, holding her to three points. Gabby Emeigh and Rachel Erdman, who missed time this season with injuries, led Bermudian Springs with nine points each.
“Defensively, they’re just fundamentally sound. Nothing fancy, not really quick, they know their assignments," Bermudian Springs coach Kari Cover said of the Thunderbolts. "Offensively, they work the ball, they don’t turn it over, they just keep passing the ball until they get a layup. It’s the fundamentals.”
Bermudian Springs (31)
Emeigh 4 1-1 9, Yacapsin 1 1-4 3, Yinger 2 0-2 4, Erdman 2 5-6 9, Wolf 0 2-2 2, Nace 0 1-2 1, Farley 1 0-2 3. Totals — 10 10-18 31.
Abate 2 2-4 6, Lanahan 1 6-11 8, Yealy 3 1-3 8, Morgan 1 1-3 3, Janelle Kress 4 2-4 11, Gauthier 1 0-0 2, Snyder 1 0-1 3. Totals — 13 12-26 41.
Bermudian Springs _ 6 _ 8 _ 6 _ 11 _ — _ 31
Littlestown _ 10 _ 7 _ 11 _ 13 _ — _ 41
3-point goals — Bermudian Springs 1 (Farley 1), Littlestown 4 (Kress 2, Yealy 1, Snyder 1).