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The Beavers routed Christian School of York, 59-36, on Tuesday and will play for the program's 18th district title on Thursday vs. Halifax at Giant Center


MECHANICSBURG - The last couple of times Patti Hower walked off a gym floor, the veteran Lebanon Catholic girls’ basketball coach had a few questions about her team.

Could they defend for a full 32 minutes?

Would their collective intensity let up as it has done in spurts the last couple of outings, including the first-round victory over Greenwood?

Yes, and no.

Neesha Pierre and Allison Warren each poured in 18 points and everyone wearing navy and white chipped in defensively as Lebanon Catholic flew out to an early lead and never looked back in a 59-36 victory over Christian School of York in the District 3-A semifinals at Cumberland Valley High School.

Lebanon Catholic punched a return ticket to the 3-A title game Thursday afternoon opposite Halifax in a 4:30 tip-off at Giant Center. Halifax defeated Harrisburg Academy on Tuesday night 63-36 in other semifinal action.

Each time Christian School of York tried to peck away at the early Catholic lead, Hower’s squad had an answer. CSY would close to within 27-13 late in the second quarter, but could do no further damage after Kendis Butler’s 3-pointer.

“As a coach, you’re always looking at the board, and you never want it to go below ten,” Hower said. “They hit some shots in that first half but we were still up by double digits, and like I said we came out strong to start the [second] half, which is really…we wanted to do that. We didn’t just want to rest and see what they do. We wanted to attack.”

The Lady Crusaders had no answer for Pierre who was a step quicker all night long dropping 14 of her points in the first half as Catholic built a 32-19 lead.

“She has three strides and she’s at the basket,” Hower said. “She’s just so quick and she has improved because she can be quick with the ball. She’s finishing right-handed or left-handed, she’s just a tough, tough matchup for somebody in Class A.”

Pierre helped lead a defensive charge that forced 28 Lady Crusaders turnovers including 17 in the first half.

Now the attention turns to wrapping up District title No. 18.

“I don’t think people realize how hard it is to be consistently good and consistently playing for it,” Hower said.

Catholic and Halifax tangled in the semifinals a season ago. Halifax is in the final for the third time in four seasons, losing twice to Steel-High in recent years.

“Halifax has some nice players that played against us last year,” Hower said. “Years ago it was always us against Greenwood and they never beat us no matter when we played them in the finals, semifinals, whenever. The last couple of years it’s been pretty much us and Halifax so now we’ve got a nice rivalry going with Halifax.”

Celine Mars chipped in 11 points for Lebanon Catholic. Christian School of York was led by Butler’s 13 points.

Lebanon Catholic 59, Christian School of York 36

Christian School of York (36)

Kendis Butler 4 1-2 13, Mekenzie Smith 4 1-1 9, Alex Landis 1 0-0 2, Bailey Stauffer 1 0-0 2, Kaitlyn Hess 2 3-4 9, Kathryn Larson 0 1-2 1. Totals — 12 6-9 36.

Lebanon Catholic (59)

Neesha Pierre 7 4-4 18, Allison Warren 7 2-6 18, Jayden Shellenhamer 0 0-0 0, Celine Mars 5 1-1 11, Mariah Sholly 2 1-2 7, Hannah Callihan 0 1-2 1, Leah Pastal 1 2-2 4. . Totals—22 11-18 59.

Christian School of York _ 5 _14 _8 _ 9 _ — _ 36

Lebanon Catholic _19 _13 _15 _12 _ — _ 59

3-point goals— CSY 6 (Butler 4, Hess 2), LC 4 (Warren 2, Sholly 2).

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