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Up three at halftime, there was one thing that Red Lion coach Don Dimoff wanted his team to improve on after the break when the Lions hosted Cedar Cliff on Tuesday night.

“They scored 15 points the first half and, if I counted right, six or eight were off second- or third-chance opportunities,” Dimoff said of the Colts. “What we did is we cleaned that up, and because we cleaned that up, they had trouble scoring in the second half.”

Trouble might have been an understatement by the veteran coach. Red Lion not only clamped down the defense, but the Lions shut Cedar Cliff out during the third quarter, a blanking that propelled the Lions to a 49-28 victory in the District Class AAAA tournament first-round game.

Red Lion improved to 24-2 on the season and will face Cedar Crest in the quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Penn Manor. Cedar Cliff saw its season end with a 15-9 record.

The Colts ended the first half with a six-point run, cutting the Lions’ lead to 18-15 at the intermission.

The Lions opened the second half with three free throws, and Courtney Dimoff, who posted a game-high 17 points, drained a 3-pointer for a 24-15 lead less than two minutes in.

Moments later, junior Natalie Reba (12 points), grabbed an offensive rebound, put home a layup and was fouled. Her free throw put the Lions up by 12, which led to a 33-15 advantage after three.

“The third quarter, I thought we did a great job defensively,” coach Dimoff said. “The big thing was I don’t know if they got any second or third opportunities in the third quarter. And then we executed a little better offensively.”

“Their five starters are all seniors, and we knew they wouldn’t want it to be their last game,” Courtney Dimoff added. “We knew they were going to come out tough, so we just work hard.”

Of course, Red Lion’s three seniors, Dimoff, Kami Harvey and Taylor Funke weren’t ready for their high school careers to end, either. Harvey blocked six shots and had seven rebounds. Junior guard Amy Maciejewski grabbed a game-high 10 boards.

“This is my least favorite game of the year. I hate this game, and this year it has special meaning,” Don Dimoff said, referring to his daughter. “They really stepped up. They know what’s at stake.”

Harvey said she wasn’t concerned that it could have been her last game. She went out and did what she does best.

“My confidence doesn’t come from shooting the ball; it comes from blocking the ball because usually I have more blocks than points,” she said. “I was doing what I needed to do defensively, Courtney was knocking shots down and Natalie played wonderful for us. I knew we were OK.”

Cedar Cliff (28)
Esser 1 0-0 3, Dalby 1 0-0 3, Hoagland 0 0-0 0, Lexa Dugan 4 1-5 10, Hindermyer 0 0-0 0, B. Reilly 1 0-0 2, Sitler 0 1-2 1, Grausgruber 2 1-2 5, Robinson 1 2-2 4, R. Reilly 0 0-0 0. Totals — 10 5-11 28.
Red Lion (49)
Johnson 0 0-0 0, Wolf 2 1-3 5, Klunk 0 0-0 0, Shepherd 0 1-2 1, Natalie Reba 4 4-5 12, Maciejewski 2 3-4 7, Kocman 0 0-2 0, Courtney Dimoff 5 5-6 17, Funke 0 3-4 3, J. Shingler 0 0-0 0, Harvey 1 2-2 4. Totals — 14 19-28 49.
Cedar Cliff _ 4 _ 11 _ 0 _ 13 _ — _ 28  
Red Lion _ 12 _ 6 _ 15 _ 16 _ — _ 49  
3-point goals — CC 3 (Esser, Dalby, Dugan); RL 2 (Dimoff 2).

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