Lebanon Catholic girls cruise into state quarters
HAMBURG - Lebanon Catholic senior Allie Warren knows about timing. And more pointedly, she knows her Beavers' time this season isn't over yet.
Sprung by their tough defense and Warren's trio of timely treys, the Beavers advanced to the PIAA Class A tournament quarterfinals through a 47-30 triumph Wednesday over District 11 runner-up Tri-Valley. Nessha Pierre and Celine Mars each notched a game-high 14 points, while Warren finished with 13. Lebanon Catholic (22-6) led for all but the opening five seconds of the game and kept the Bulldogs (14-13) at a safe distance even after allowing the occasional run.
For there was Warren, ready with an answering 3 to close the first and third quarters and then break the game open at the outset of the fourth.
Lebanon Catholic now awaits a showdown Saturday with District 4 runner-up Lourdes, which knocked the Beavers out of last year's state tournament. But that was a far different time, when Warren wasn't laced up in the blue and white and the majority of her teammates were just freshmen.
"They're all amazing and now we're building on what they accomplished last year," said Warren, Lebanon Catholic's lone senior. "They get overwhelmed sometimes, so all I do is just try to relax them a little. But they hold their own a lot from last year and all the pressure they faced."
Pierre and Mars applied most of the offensive pressure early in transition, even as the Beavers worked through a turnover-plagued first half. Pierre then paired her layups with a block at 90 seconds before intermission, later followed by Mariah Sholly's clean strip.
Ahead 20-11 at the break, Lebanon Catholic then carried its defensive intensity through the final two quarters, while Tri-Valley struggled to gain a grip.
"We got flustered there. We could never get a flow in our offense," Bulldogs coach Clark Bomberger said. "I don't know if it was nerves or we got behind, but we couldn't get set up."
The Beavers bumped their lead to double-digits permanently late in the third quarter on a Mars layup. Warren then canned two 3s around the end of the third quarter and put Tri-Valley to bed early. Even as the Bulldogs applied a late press, Lebanon Catholic kept a steady hand with some help from longtime coach Patti Hower.
"We had a 10-point lead, so we didn't need to make a thread-the-needle pass and we could run time off the clock," Hower said. "I said we have control of the game, so we don't have to panic."
Her focus now swings to Lourdes and how to put the Beavers in the best position to capture their revenge for last season's finish. And three things, she says, will be at the heart of that game plan.
"They play a really good zone. They can really shoot the 3s. They like to press," she said.
Lebanon Catholic 47, Tri-Valley 30
Emily Romberger 2 1-2 5, Paige Doyle 4 1-2 9, Maddison Maxwell 1 0-0 2, Alyssa Connell 1 0-2 2, Kelly Romberger 1 4-6 6, Brianne Pacenta 2 0-0 6. Totals — 11 6-12 30.
Lebanon Catholic (47)
Mariah Sholly 0 4-4 4, Neesha Pierre 6 2-4 14, Allie Warren 5 0-0 13, Jayden Shellehamer 0 0-0 0, Celine Mars 6 2-2 14, Hannah Callihan 1 0-0 2. Totals — 18 8-11 47.
Tri-Valley_ 5 _ 6 _ 10 _ 9 _ — _ 30
Lebanon Catholic _ 11 _ 9 _ 14 _ 16 _ — _ 47
3-point goals — T-V 2 (Pacenta 2), LC 3 (Warren 3).