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 BY JEFF FALK

SPRING GROVE – Life can flash before our very eyes.

 An eye can blink.

 An outcome can change.

 So what can happen in 0.6 of a second?

 A girl can accept an inbounds pass, take two steps, lay a ball in off the rim with her left hand, and score a game-winning basket.

 On Friday night at Spring Grove High School, during the quarterfinal round of the District Three Class AAAAA tournament, the Palmyra girls’ basketball team won a tense playoff game in incredible fashion. Senior Amelia Baldo’s driving lay-up along the baseline gave the Cougars a remarkable 43-41 road triumph over Spring Grove.

 It was a bizarre ending that went Palmyra’s way and began with an inadvertent whistle and no-call on a Baldo drive down the lane as regulation time was ticking away. After the game officials huddled and conferred, they put 2.0 seconds back on the clock, then changed their minds to 0.6 of a second.

 It was just enough time for Baldo to work her magic, out of the timeout, sliding along the baseline from right to left. With 19 seconds remaining, Haley Wagman had tied the game at 41 for the Rockets, with a tough move under the basket.

 It was the most dramatic victory of the year for a Cougar crew which may have underachieved during the regular season because of injuries, before claiming Class AAAAA’s 12th and final playoff seed. Now healthy, Palmyra’s second district win in five days propelled them to 14-10 overall and into Monday’s semifinal round at 7 p.m. at top-seeded Solanco.

 Spring Grove, the number-four seed, slipped to 19-8 overall.

 “In 0.4 of a second, you can catch. In 0.6 of a second, you can catch and shoot,” said Palmyra head coach Mary Manlove. “We just wanted to get a look and take it to overtime if we didn’t score. But Amelia scored it.

 “We got a really good look with under two seconds left.” continued Manlove. “I heard a whistle and everybody stopped. They said it was an inadvertent whistle and the lead official talked to his partners and they put .6 seconds back on the clock. We ran a play and won. Baldo came up big again.”

 “I couldn’t tell you,” said Baldo, when asked if she thought .6 of a second would be enough time to score. “Coach said we had to catch and shoot. She knows more about that stuff than I do.

  “We were going to run a play to Jess (St. Clair),” added Baldo. “I saw she couldn’t get open, so I just cut to the basket.”

 Baldo’s heroics resulted from a chess match that was the fourth quarter. Protecting a six-point lead, the Cougars’ possessions were deliberate and time-consuming – some of which were prolonged by a Spring Grove team desperately trying to get to the foul bonus and some of which were shortened by Palmyra turnovers.

 A lay-in from St.Clair two minutes into the final period pushed the Cougar lead to 39-33, and an inside move by Olivia Richardson made Palmyra’s advantage 41-35, with 2:42 to go. But Wagman notched six Spring Grove points over the next 2:23 to tie it.

  “We ran our offense purposefully,” said Manlove. “Spring Grove is known for its chaotic trapping. We were working to get a good shot. They’re (the Rockets) quick. They’re very aggressive. It was two evenly-matched teams.

 “It was just game execution,” Manlove continued. “We played pretty solid. They’re (the Rockets) a very good basketball team.”

  Spring Grove notched the first two baskets of the second half to erase the Cougars’ 28-24 locker room advantage. But a subsequent 7-2 run, fueled by five points from Baldo and a stick-back from Katelyn Becker, jacked Palmyra’s lead back to 37-32.

 “I think when two teams are absolutely battling to get to a final four, anything can happen,” said Manlove. “That game could’ve gone either way. It was a very competitive game. At this point of the season, everybody’s good. It was a game that could’ve gone the other way for us.

 “But we weren’t making it bigger, or a huge game,” added Manlove. “We were just keeping focused on one quarter at a time. We focused on the game plan.”

  Richardson pumped in 15 Palmyra points, while Baldo contributed 13. The Cougars outscored the Rockets 15-6 from three-point land.

  “You always want to win and advance, and see how far you can get,” said Manlove, whose troops qualified for the PIAA Class AAAAA playoffs a win earlier. “We had some injuries during the regular season and we snuck into districts. Anybody can win at this time of the year. Why not us?

 “We were injury-filled for most of the season,” Manlove added. “Now at the end of the season, everybody’s healthy. We just want to take it one game at a time. We want to take advantage of the opportunities we get.”

 Palmyra got off to a great start.

 Behind five points from Richardson, three points from Baldo and a driving lay-in from Zoe Smith, the Cougars raced out to a 10-2 advantage, 4:05 into the contest. But Spring Grove notched the final nine points of the opening stanza to establish an 11-10 edge.

  “I thought we came hot,” said Manlove. “Over our first few possessions we were able to make a few shots. But it was pretty even. We were up four at halftime. But they (the Rockets) tied it up, and it was dead even.

 “Once we got to the fourth quarter, they (the Rockets) really battled on the glass,” continued Manlove. “They made big, big baskets. It was a single possession most of the way. It’s very tough to win on the road. But I thought our kids really handled themselves well.”

 Twenty-three seconds before the break, Richardson drained a three-pointer that gave the Cougars a 28-23 advantage. It was a Richardson triple earlier in the second quarter which had staked Palmyra to a 21-17 lead.

 “We needed to make one adjustment at halftime, to control their guards,” said Manlove. “I thought we did a very good job of that in the third quarter. We also wanted to make Spring Grove defend.

 “We held them to 41 points,” Manlove continued. “They average 57 or 58 points. There were probably two or three possessions where we had breakdowns. That was a pretty solid game. We did what we needed to do. They’re (the Rockets) huge three-point shooters and we challenged them to make two-pointers

 

 

 To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 2018-19 Palmyra Girls’ Baskeball Results

Date Opponents Outcome
12/75:00p (W) 52 – 29
12/86:45p (W) 43 – 25
12/117:30p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 44 – 37
12/147:30p
Location: Palmyra High School
(L) 47 – 44
12/177:30p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 46 – 24
12/217:30p
Location: Hershey High School
(L) 34 – 26
12/227:30p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 43 – 26
12/27TBA (L) 45 – 36
12/28TBA (W) 47 – 29
1/512:30a
Location: Palmyra High School
(L) 45 – 43
1/8TBA (W) 40 – 37
1/11TBA (L) 45 – 30
1/157:30p
Location: Cedar Cliff High School
(L) 37 – 30
1/187:30p
Location: Bishop McDevitt High School
(L) 52 – 34
1/216:00p
Location: Wilson High School
(L) 43 – 40
1/217:30p
Game Details: WILSON HIGH SCHOOL, Gym
 
1/227:30p
Location: Red Land High School
(W) 31 – 26
1/257:30p
Location: Palmyra High School
(L) 40 – 39
2/1TBA (L) 46 – 33
2/2TBA (W) 40 – 19
2/3TBA
Location: Susquehannock High School
 
2/8TBA (W) 46 – 15
2/19TBA (W) 41 – 35
2/227:00p
Location: Spring Grove High School
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PIAA District Three

 Final Class AAAAA Power Rankings

AAAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP  TWPW  OWPW  TWPL  OWPL
1 Solanco 18- 4- 0  0.736200  0.857143  0.588381  21.0  284.1  3.5  198.8
2 Twin Valley 15- 4- 0  0.732127  0.846154  0.592761  17.1  240.8  3.1  165.4
3 Gettysburg Area 18- 4- 0  0.705815  0.846473  0.533900  20.4  254.4  3.7  222.1
4 Spring Grove Area 16- 6- 0  0.702875  0.795745  0.589367  18.7  286.6  4.8  199.7
5 Lampeter Strasburg 16- 6- 0  0.702409  0.773109  0.615998  18.4  297.3  5.4  185.3
6 South Western 15- 5- 0  0.701836  0.800448  0.581311  17.9  255.1  4.5  183.7
7 Lower Dauphin 16- 6- 0  0.701542  0.783898  0.600884  18.5  292.3  5.1  194.2
8 Mechanicsburg Area Senior 18- 4- 0  0.700118  0.857741  0.507469  20.5  242.9  3.4  235.8
9 Susquehannock 14- 7- 0  0.684251  0.720554  0.639881  15.6  301.8  6.1  169.9
10 Berks Catholic School 12- 6- 0  0.659913  0.708108  0.601008  13.1  232.5  5.4  154.4
11 Elizabethtown Area 16- 6- 0  0.656474  0.805785  0.473982  19.5  218.2  4.7  242.1
12 Palmyra Area 12- 10- 0  0.634676  0.620536  0.651958  13.9  321.4  8.5  171.6
13 Cocalico 14- 8- 0  0.626395  0.693617  0.544236  16.3  257.8  7.2  215.9
14 Greencastle Antrim 14- 6- 0  0.609293  0.727273  0.465097  15.2  192.6  5.7  221.5
15 West York Area 11- 11- 0  0.575481  0.570485  0.581587  13.0  278.9  9.8  200.7
16 New Oxford 9- 13- 0  0.541281  0.490521  0.603320  10.4  292.6  10.8  192.4
17 Donegal 10- 12- 0  0.537614  0.509009  0.572575  11.3  274.8  10.9  205.1
18 Hershey 9- 13- 0  0.536501  0.481395  0.603853  10.4  294.7  11.2  193.3
19 Shippensburg 10- 12- 0  0.531699  0.513636  0.553775  11.3  264.4  10.7  213.1
20 York Suburban 8- 14- 0  0.495091  0.408451  0.600985  8.7  286.7  12.6  190.4
21 Conrad Weiser 8- 14- 0  0.477684  0.423810  0.543530  8.9  250.4  12.1  210.3
22 Northeastern 6- 16- 0  0.453320  0.321951  0.613882  6.6  301.6  13.9  189.7
23 Muhlenberg 6- 16- 0  0.438012  0.334951  0.563975  6.9  260.5  13.7  201.4
24 Garden Spot 6- 16- 0  0.430695  0.331731  0.551652  6.9  263.8  13.9  214.4
25 Daniel Boone 7- 15- 0  0.396122  0.345238  0.458313  7.3  191.9  13.8  226.8
26 Manheim Central 3- 18- 0  0.388059  0.179221  0.643305  3.5  302.5  15.8  167.7
27 Northern York 6- 16- 0  0.382436  0.316038  0.463590  6.7  215.5  14.5  249.4
28 Red Land 2- 20- 0  0.371486  0.125000  0.672748  2.5  331.9  17.5  161.5
29 Dover 2- 19- 0  0.337989  0.121372  0.602744  2.3  281.2  16.7  185.3
30 Waynesboro Area 1- 21- 0  0.307650  0.057789  0.613035  1.2  292.1  18.8  184.4
31 Milton Hershey 1- 18- 0  0.296188  0.063361  0.580754  1.2  240.2  17.0  173.4
32 East Pennsboro Area 2- 20- 0  0.291158  0.106977  0.516268  2.3  240.4  19.2  225.3

 

 

 

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