Despite going to the half down by a point, Gettysburg head coach Casey Thurston made no adjustments for her team. She simply asked them for more effort and sold them on not wanting to see their season end on their home floor.
The Warriors responded with a big third quarter and rode that to a 46-37 victory over ELCO in the first round of the District 3 Class AAA girls' basketball tournament Wednesday night at Gettysburg.
The win gives Thurston 100 for her career and puts the Warriors into the quarterfinals, where they will take on fellow Mid-Penn Colonial Division foe Big Spring, a 46-28 winner against West Perry, at 3 p.m. Saturday at Milton Hershey School.
"This is a tribute to the players that have been here for the past six years," Thurston said of the milestone. "They've put in a lot of work, day in and day out at practice to get this program where it is."
Gettysburg (19-5) played Big Spring (16-8) three times during the regular season, with the Warriors taking the last two meetings, including a Mid-Penn ournament play-in game on Feb. 8. A win would guarantee Gettysburg its fourth trip to the PIAA Class AAA tournament in the past seven years.
ELCO (15-10) took a 20-19 lead to the locker room following a banked 3-pointer by Cheyenne Hassler with six seconds to go in the half.
A fierce defensive effort that forced eight third-quarter turnovers, along with balanced scoring, pushed Gettysburg to a 36-28 advantage going to the final stanza.
Gettysburg scored 12 of the first 13 points of the third quarter before the Raiders sliced the deficit to 33-28 when Hassler drained a triple and converted a layup late in the quarter.
Cami Boehner answered for Gettysburg with a 3-pointer from the right wing with 21 seconds left in the frame.
"We lost sight of No. 3 (Boehner) for a while, and that hurt," ELCO head coach Ashli Shay said. "The third quarter was the difference in the game. Other than that, it was even."
ELCO made a push in the fourth quarter as the Raiders kept Gettysburg off the scoreboard for the first 4:34 of the frame, and cut the lead to 36-33.
Boehner broke the Warriors' drought when she split a pair of charity tosses with 3:26 left, then followed with a hoop with 2:46 to go.
A bucket by Ellen Bair, two free throws from Caitlin Wood and Maddie Weikert's hoop put the game away for Gettysburg as the Warriors kept ELCO scoreless for just less than four minutes down the stretch to put the game away.
A four-year starter and playing in her final home game, Bair delivered 12 points and six assists and was very happy to help her coach reach a milestone.
"I love Coach so much, and I'm so proud to be a part of a milestone win for her," Bair said. "She has worked with me so much and pushed me to become the player that I have become. I'm very happy for her."
ELCO claimed a 37-29 advantage on the glass, but 13-of-52 (25 percent) shooting proved to be too much for the Raiders to overcome.
"We had looks around the basket that we just didn't finish," Shay said. "and you can't afford that at this point in the season and expect to win."
Boehner once again paced the Warriors with 18 points, the 22nd time this season that the junior has reached double figures. Senior Arianna Camel slapped together an excellent all-around game with eight points, on 4-of-5 shooting, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots.
"Ari started slow and I took her out after she picked up her first foul," Thurston said. "Just told her to keep playing hard, and when I put her back in the game, she played very well."