All season long Gettysburg High's Cami Boehner has punished opponents from beyond the 3-point arc, connecting on 61 trifectas on the campaign, but that all changed when matched up with 6-foot-1 Blair Bitner from Big Spring.
Instead of trying to shoot over the much taller Bitner, the high-scoring junior employed a series of scoop shots around the basket, floaters in the lane and pull-up jumpers to compile a game-high 27 points and lead the Lady Warriors to a 48-39 victory in the quarterfinals of the District 3 Class AAA girls' basketball tournament on Saturday at Milton Hershey School.
"I had to change up the way that I played because I knew I couldn't just shoot over her,. She's too long," Boehner said. "I had to try to get past her and look to score closer to the basket."
Boehner, who started 2-of-8 from the field, finished 10-of-23 and made all seven of her free throw attempts. She also pulled down five boards.
Gettysburg advances to the district semifinals for the third time in the past six seasons and will take on top seed Palmyra (26-0), a 72-63 overtime winner against Eastern York, at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Giant Center in Hershey.
"It means a lot for these girls to reach this point in the tournament," Gettysburg head coach Casey Thurston said. "I don't think many people expected much from us this year considering how much we graduated from last year."
Gettysburg (20-5) graduated its top two scorers from a year ago, Brianna Thomas and Destinee Reid, and Boehner was the leading returning scorer, though she was used mainly as a spot-up shooter to stretch the floor for Thomas and Reid to operate.
This season, Boehner has taken well to being the top offensive option as she has topped 20 points in a game 13 times and is averaging 20.6 points per game on the year.
The win also earns the Lady Warriors their fifth trip to the PIAA Class AAA tournament in the past eight years and gives Thurston her fourth 20-win season in six years at the helm.
As for Saturday, the Mid-Penn Colonial co-champs were meeting for the fourth time, and both struggled out of the gate on offense as the first quarter ended at 6-6.
Big Spring (16-9) took an 8-6 lead on Kayla Dupert's short jumper to start the second quarter, but the Lady Warriors responded with a 12-3 run, keyed by Boehner's nine points, to take an 18-11 lead midway through the quarter.
Gettysburg went to the locker room in front, 22-18, with Boehner scoring 17 first-half points.
"I was a little nervous coming into this game," Thurston admitted. "Playing a team for a fourth time in one season is tough. You've pretty much emptied your playbook and both teams know each other very well."
The Lady Warriors opened a 32-23 lead late in the third quarter, but the Lady Bulldogs kept themselves alive with a strong finish to the third quarter and a strong start to the fourth, eventually cutting the lead to 36-31 with 7:07 left.
Big Spring got as close as 43-39 with 1:07 to go, but strong work from the charity stripe allowed the Lady Warriors to close out the victory.
Though she struggled on offense, Gettysburg junior Maddie Weikert supplied a big defensive effort on Big Spring's top scorer, Dalida Camdzi,c for the third straight matchup. Camdzic shot 2-of-10 and finished with six points. She has averaged 8.6 points and shot a combined 12-of-44 in the last three meetings after lighting up the Lady Warriors for 21 points in Big Spring's 46-40 win on Jan. 4.
"That's all Maddie Weikert right there," Thurston said. "She's done a great job on her the last three times we've played them. She (Camdzic) is a great player, but Maddie uses her speed and quickness very well."
Weikert added, "I know how she plays and knew that she would be tough. She's very strong and I have to try to work my way around her and try to bother her as much as possible."
Weikert scored just three points, but had seven rebounds and blocked four shots. As a team, Gettysburg blocked 10 shots.
Cami Boehner 10 7-7 27, Wood 2 0-0 4, Camel 3 2-2 8, Weikert 1 1-3 3, Felton 0 0-0 0, Bair 1 4-6 6. Totals 17-14-18 48.
BIG SPRING (39)
Thuemmel 2 4-4 9, Kepner 1 1-2 4, Bower 0 0-0 0, Stevens 0 0-0 0, Camdzic 2 2-4 6, Bitner 2 2-3 6, Kayla Dupert 4 3-5 12, Burkett 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 12-18 39.
Gettysburg 6 16 14 12 -- 48
Big Spring 6 12 11 10 -- 39
3-point goals -- Big Spring 3 (Thuemmel, Kepner, Dupert).