It was tough sledding for the Annville-Cleona girls’ basketball team in the opening game of the Annville-Cleona High School Holiday Tournament. Taking on a senior-laden Littlestown squad, the Lady Dutchmen struggled offensively out of the gate and fell to the Lady Bolts 34-16.

Littlestown made it very difficult for A-C to get many good looks, and the shots the Little Dutchmen did manage to get off in the first half were rushed, which resulted in a 23-2 halftime lead for the Lady Bolts.

Littlestown head coach Chris Myers was pleased with his team’s first half, which included a 8-0 lead after the first quarter.

He said, “The first half we got back to playing defense the way we’re capable of and Annville missed some shots, but they had a tough time getting shots because our fundamentals on defense were as good as they could be in the first half.”

In the second half, Annville-Cleona coach Roger Hayes turned to his bench for a spark, and the Lady Dutchmen outscored the Lady Bolts 14-1, including a 12-5 run that started at the end of the third period with a jumper from Malin Hermanson.

But in the end it wasn’t enough to overcome Littlestown’s eight-member team.

“We have a very short bench. It is (difficult), but our boosters have done a great job of raising money for us and we’ve been able to get them a strength and conditioning coach that we have all year round,” said Myers. “Although we’re short on numbers, we’re in as good of shape as anybody we play. It’s awesome.”

Annville-Cleona was led by Michaela Singer’s five points.

With the loss, Annville-Cleona dropped to 3-4 after an impressive start that included winning the Hamburg Tip-Off Tournament.

Littlestown’s Aley Abate led all scorers with 12 points. Her teammates, Janelle Kress and Jill Gauthier, each tacked on eight points to help Littlestown improve to 3-5.

“We share the ball so well; they truly don’t care who scores,” said Myers. “A program like ours hasn’t had a whole lot of success so hopefully we learned from tonight and can build on that.”

Annville-Cleona will take on Schuylkill Valley in Thursday’s consolation game which is set to tip at 2 p.m. Littlestown will face Halifax in the championship at 5 p.m. Halifax defeated Schuylkill Valley 55-34 earlier Wednesday.

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