It was the Red Lion girls' basketball team's first real test of the season.
The Lions, who enter practically every season with a bull's-eye on their backs, were pushed to the limit and then some on Saturday night. And the squad, mixed with veterans and youngsters, delivered in a big way.
Red Lion notched its second victory of the season with a 41-39 victory over a tough Manheim Township team to win the Red Lion Tip-Off Tournament. Meanwhile, Boiling Springs defeated J.P. McCaskey, 52-34, in the consolation game.
Red Lion was paced by junior Morgan Kuehne, who scored a team-high 11 points and landed on the all-tournament team.
Lions coach Don Dimoff called the game "a classic battle between two really good teams."
And it was every bit of his assessment.
Red Lion looked sharp early in the first quarter. It came out to a 14-7 lead late in the quarter when Courtney Dimoff hit senior Kasey Seitz with a beautiful entry pass to go up by 7.
The Blue Streaks came charging back, scoring eight unanswered points to take a one-point lead on slick post move from Olivia Braswell at 4:17 in the second quarter.
After his team got into foul trouble early in the game, Dimoff looked to his bench to finish the first half.
"We had a lot of kids in there that haven't really played valuable minutes just yet," said Dimoff. "I thought they did a nice job of hanging in there. We helped one time
The squads pushed back and forth through the first half, with Manheim Township taking a 22-20 lead into the intermission.
A solid Manheim Township defense held Red Lion's Courtney Dimoff and Jen Horvatinovic (19 and 18 points, respectively, in Friday's win over McCaskey) to just two points in the first half.
The second half featured much of the same, but also saw the emergence of Dimoff and Horvatinovic on the scoring end.
Horvatinovic took control in the third quarter, scoring six of the Lions' 10 points.
"I think once we started to calm down a little bit and make the right rotations defensively, then the offense started to fall into place," said Horvatinovic.
Red Lion took another seven-point lead with 6:46 left in the game behind Dimoff, who scored eight of her 10 points in the final quarter, including two 3-pointers.
The visitors applied a late-game surge and went on an 8-2 run to make it a one-point game, 40-39, with 1:30 left to play.
Horvatinovic hit a clutch free-throw to give Red Lion a two-point lead and Red Lion held on for the victory after two missed shots from the visitors in the last 30 seconds of the contest.
Horvatinovic was named tournament MVP.
"Her contributions aren't always going to be on the scoreboard," Dimoff said.RED LION (49)
Workinger 0 0-0 0, Seitz 3 0-0 6, Dengler 0 0-0 0, Funke 0 0-0 0, Morgan Kuehne 4 3-4 11, Horka 1 0-0 2, Clever 0 0-0 0, Ness 1 0-0 3, Courtney Dimoff 4 0-0 10, Jenny Horvatinovic 3 3-4 9. Totals 16 6-8 49.
Manheim 11 11 5 12 -- 39
Red Lion 14 6 10 11 -- 41
3-point goals -- Manheim Township 1 (Molly Hendrick); Red Lion 4 (Dimoff 2, Marissa Ness).
BISHOP MCDEVITT (80)
Daquan Phillips 4 0-0 8, Donte Vaughn 1 2-2 4, Justin McCarthur 7 2-2 20, Thomas Denniston 0 0-0 0, Caleb Barwin 4 3-4 13, Will Pierce 2 0-0 4, Quinton Sinclair 1 0-0 2, Malik Gantz 8 0-0 17, Mark Ray 1 1-1 3, Ashoka Jangdhari 0 0-0 0, Dylion Hudson-Emory 4 0-0 9 Totals 32 8-9 80.