Lebanon races past Solanco, 50-34
Fueled by their transition game, the Cedars jumped to a 23-3 lead on the way to a 50-34 victory that halted a three-game losing streak.
If its half-court offense ever catches up to its transition game, the Lebanon High girls basketball team will be trouble.
As it stands now, the Cedars can still be a handful.
They certainly were Wednesday night, when they outran a three-game losing skid, using some lethal fast-breaking to overwhelm Solanco 50-34 in a Section Two matchup at LHS that wasn't even that close.
With long-armed sophomore forward Alexis Hill setting the tone at the top of the Cedars' zone defense, the home team was at its turnover-forcing, getting-out-and-running best, sprinting to a 23-3 lead early in the second quarter and not looking back until it evened its record at 4-4 and restored some-much needed confidence to its collective psyche.
"We needed a win, and we needed a solid win," said Lebanon coach Ben Brewer, whose squad was led by Hill's 22 points, 15 of which came in the first half. "I thought we did a good job tonight of keeping the pressure on and playing smart. We still have our moments when we turn the ball over, and start playing too fast. But that was a great win for us."
And it took a little over a quarter to unofficially secure, via the 23-3 burst that culminated with a Hill steal and layup with 6:11 still to play in the second quarter. The bucket had a lot in common with the majority of the Cedars' field goals Wednesday, coming on a hard drive to the hoop and via a turnover.
"That's our best offense, getting stops and pushing the ball in transition," Brewer said. "The last couple of games we haven't done that and the other teams have been able to pack it in (on defense), and we just haven't knocked down the shots we can knock down. Tonight we got the tempo rolling and forced them to take some shots maybe they don't want to take and now we can push it out (on the fast break). That's where we're at our best."
And though Hill was unquestionably the catalyst for what went down, the win was made all the more heartening by the fact that the Cedars' leading scorer didn't have to do it all.
Point guard Maddy Hartman also excelled in transition, tallying 12 points, while forward Ary'Anna Ortolazo had a nice game inside with nine points.
"That's what we need," Brewer said. "We have someone that can produce points, but one person doesn't make a team. We keep preaching that. We know they're gonna show up, but we have to get other people in the scoring column."
If that happens on a consistent basis and the Cedars can defend like they did Wednesday night - Jessica Cabrera's nine points was the most a Solanco player could muster - a run at a third straight Section Two title can certainly be made.
"We're not totally where we want to be, but we're not in horrible shape right now," said Brewer, whose troops are now off until Monday's meeting with Lebanon Catholic in the opening round of the Lebanon Holiday Tournament. "We're in the mix. We're still in the thick of things and we have the ability to win any game we play. This momentum we built tonight we gotta keep going, and I think we'll be in good shape."
Lebanon 50, Solanco 34
Gabriela Rossi 1 0-0 2, Grace Kreider 3 0-0 7, Jenevieve Eberly 1 0-0 2, Elaina Daily 0 0-0 0, Jessica Cabrera 3 1-2 9, Aleksa Burger 1 1-2 3, Kara McClune 1 0-0 3, Nicole Boultinghouse 2 2-4 6, Elizabeth Mowrer 1 0-0 2 Totals — 13 4-8 34.
Maddy Hartman 6 0-1 12, Morgan Truax 1 3-4 5, Alexis Hill 9 4-6 22, Ary'Anna Ortolazo 3 3-5 9, Jasmine Turner 0 1-2 1, Alicia Houser 0 0-0 0, Annabelle Duefel 0 0-0 0, Azelyn Arenas 0 0-0 0, Kate Roth 0 0-0 0, Carly Sanders 0 1-2 1 Totals — 19 12-20 50.
Solanco_ 1 _ 10 _ 8 _ 15 _ — _ 34
Lebanon _ 16 _ 11 _ 8 _ 15 _ — _ 50
3-point goals — Sol: Kreider, Cabrera 2, McClune.
JV score — Solanco 42, Lebanon 25.