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Portage separates itself from Crusaders

NEWVILLE >> For a brief moment, Michael Graybill could say his Christian School of York girls' basketball team had Portage right where it wanted them.

Then the flood gates opened.

Kacie Baker and Lexi Wozniak each dropped in 17 points leading three Portage players in double figures, and the relentless Portage defense forced 32 CSY turnovers as Portage won going away 72-37 in the second round of the PIAA Class A tournament at Big Spring High School on Wednesday night.

Portage will now face North Penn-Mansfield in Saturday's Elite Eight. CSY's season ends with a 21-8 overall record.

"They did a great job of pressing and when we made the turnovers, we hung our heads instead of getting back and getting after the next ball," Graybill said.

By the time Graybill's team settled down in the second quarter, Portage (23-4) had built a 14-point lead with a little over three minutes to play in the half.

It was a stark contrast to the way this one started.

At one point in the first quarter, the two teams combined to shoot 0-of-10 and CSY had a 3-1 lead. Portage built the early momentum going to a 3-1-1 full court trap, forcing 21 of the CSY turnovers in the first half.

Holding onto an 11-7 lead with 7:11 to go until the half, back-to-back 3-pointers by sharpshooter Katie Nolan broke the game open at 17-7.

"They forced a lot of those turnovers," Graybill said. "We had, using tennis terms, a lot of unforced errors. Threw the ball right to them, threw the ball without making any fakes. Just things that are uncharacteristic of what we've done in our last several games to get to this point. But they caused them and that's what basketball is all about, who takes advantage of those mistakes."

Portage held CSY to just 12 made field goals, and out-rebounded the Crusaders 41-21. The lead ballooned up to 22 late in the third quarter.

"We had never been this far, a lot of nerves. Coming in, the girls are going, maybe a step faster than they should be, releasing a little quicker than they should, putting it up there a little harder than they should, and we knew it would start falling. But what do you do? You keep playing defense," Portage head coach Lance Hudak said.

Hudak's team dominated nearly start to finish despite starting just 3-of-20 from the floor. Nolan and Wozniak combined to hit seven 3-pointers as the Lady Mustangs got into a flow offensively.

"Shots started to fall, which they always do, and we started separating," Hudak said. "We're not a big overall team, our backcourt, we have spark plugs. We have skilled guards that handle the ball, they can run and they can shoot it. We're going to play you baseline-to-baseline the entire game, get you to play our tempo and we'll take our chances."

Kendis Butler and Kaitlyn Hess led CSY with nine each, while Mekenzie Smith chipped in seven, all in the second half.

"We were blessed, first team ever in our conference to get to the Giant Center to make the district championship game, and then our first trip to the state playoffs and we got a victory out of it? This is a thrill of a lifetime for these girls and I'm just happy to be part of the team," Graybill said.

Portage 72, Christian School of York 37


Zatek 2 2-4 7, Kacie Baker 7 3-6 17, Katie Nolan 5 3-5 16, Lexi Wozinak 5 3-3 17, Chabony 1 0-0 2,McCabe 1 5-8 7, Caurvina 1 0-0 2, Papcun 1 2-2 4.

Totals — 23 18-28 72


Butler 2 5-7 9, Smith 3 1-2, Stauffer 1 1-4 3, Hess 3 2-4 9, Larson 1 2-4 4, Landis 0 1-2 1, Martin 2 1-1 4.

Totals — 12 14-25 37

Portage11201922—72Christian School of York4101311—37

3-point goals —Por 8 (Zatek, Nolan 3, Wozniak 4). CSY 2 (Hess, Martin).