After a solid first half, Red Lion led the championship game of its own girls’ basketball tip-off tournament against Manheim Township.
However, one thing was clear in the second half: There was too much Megan Baldassarre for the Lions to handle.
The 6-foot Blue Streaks’ junior scored 11 of her 17 points after the intermission, and Manheim Township took the tournament trophy after a 53-48 victory.
“We had trouble guarding the one post, Baldassarre. She’s a heck of a player,” said first-year Lions head coach Bill Novak. “We got in some foul trouble and that didn’t help matters. When we got in foul trouble they were able to run some of their stuff a little more freely.”
Red Lion led 33-26 at the break, but Baldassarre scored five points during the Streaks’ seven-point run that tied the game early in the second half.
“They ran some nice things. We can’t have that lapse time on defense, and that is on me,” Novak said. “The players do what they do, I need to get better, and as a staff do a better job communicating to the players.”
The teams traded points into the fourth quarter until Red Lion’s Hannah Wolf followed up her own miss with an offensive rebound, made a terrific spin move, hit the basket and was fouled.
The senior’s three-point play put the Lions up three. Amy Maciejewski drove for two more, and Red Lion opened a 46-41 lead less than two minutes into the fourth.
Unfortunately for the Lions, the offense dried up and a short while later, a Baldassarre drive cut the deficit to one. Streaks’ junior Eden Miller stole the ball on the next Red Lion possession and her only bucket of the game put Township ahead for good, 47-46.
Taylor Evans stretched the Streaks’ lead to three, and after a Page Shingler jumper cut it to one with 42 seconds left, Baldassarre scored and Evans clinched the game with a pair of free throws.
The Lions out-rebounded the taller Township squad in the first half, 14-9. Wolf had 10 of her 13 points in the first half, which is also when Kynslee Shepherd notched each of her 11 points. Maciejewski finished with 13 for the game.
“I think we held our own in the first half,” said Novak. “We had some good defensive stands in the second half, but we had a couple of lapses. We have to clean that part of it up.
Olivia Matto led all scorers with 18 points for Manheim Township.
In the consolation game, Red Land beat Lebanon, 35-18, despite no players scoring in double figures. The Patriots held the Cedars without a point in the second quarter and fed off their 19-9 halftime lead.