Memorable 1st season for Hill, Turner at Catholic
GameTimePA.com's Matt Catrillo and Pat Huggins recap the Beavers' 55-43 win over Juniata Valley in the PIAA Class 1A Championship, winning the third state title in school history. Matt Catrillo/GameTimePA.com
HERSHEY – For a team that’s been as successful as the Lebanon Catholic girls basketball team, depth is usually one of the biggest keys.
But there are still one or two players that stick out from the rest that lead the way – in this case for the Beavers, it's juniors Alexis Hill and Jasmine Turner.
Both however, completed just their first seasons with Lebanon Catholic – and saying they accomplished a lot in that first year would be a huge understatement.
After helping lead their team to its third straight district title earlier in the month, Hill, Turner and their teammates can now call themselves state champs, after the Beavers’ 55-43 win over District 6 runner-up Juniata Valley in PIAA Class 1A Championship Friday at Giant Center.
“It feels good,” Hill said, who finished with a double-double of a game-high 20 points and 14 rebounds. “It hasn’t hit me yet fully, but it’s amazing.”
“It feels great. It’s better than I imagined it would be,” Turner said, who finished with five points. “It’s just amazing we got this far. I was kind of scared at the beginning of the game, but it feels great.”
And from the minute they stepped on the court for the first time in a Beavers’ uniform, both Hill and Turner though there could be a chance for something special right away.
“I was confident we would get here,” Hill said. “But to actually do it is great. I was confident from the beginning.”
What makes the moment even more surreal for both teammates is they weren’t even sure if they’d play together after their sophomore seasons ended at Lebanon.
Now, they both own a couple of gold medals.
“We both didn’t know we were coming here together,” Turner said. “Winning this was an amazing feeling. I’m glad we got to experience this together.”
“It was good and I’m sure she’s glad that we both made the decision,” Hill said. “Playing with her with Lebanon or here (with Lebanon Catholic) is no different. We’re all a little family. It’s great winning this with all of us together.”
Turner also couldn’t be happier playing for her coach.
“Patti Hower is a great coach,” Turner said. “She coaches well at practice, always telling us what we need to do, we all listen and work as a team…teamwork makes the dreamwork.”
Hill not only couldn’t be happier playing for Hower, but representing her new school, which has helped her improve both on the court and in the classroom.
“I love her. She coaches very well. I love my teammates,” Hill said. “I even love the school. I’ve gotten so much better in school grade-wise. I like everything about Lebanon Catholic and I’m glad I transferred. It just all worked out.”
Turner also says she wouldn’t have had her journey go any other way.
“It’s just amazing,” she said. “I miss my old school and old friends, but I’ve made a lot of new friends, a new family. It’s just amazing to be a part of this team.”
And their coach couldn’t be more thrilled to have Hill, Turner and the rest of their teammates back for another season, minus senior Leah Pastal.
“They’ve been great additions to not only our basketball team, but our school,” Hower said. “They’re great students and great people. But the returning players had to make it work, and they did. They all got along, and they knew they (Jasmine and Alexis) would make us a better team. It’ll be nice to have them all back.”