BY JEFF FALK
ASSUMPTION HILL – It is the school’s most successful athletic program, and maybe its most powerful marketing tool. Because associating with a winner makes us all feel better about ourselves.
While every other sports team continues to founder – some even going as far as being disbanded – the girls’ basketball program at Lebanon Catholic continues to flourish. We present 18 District Three championships as evidence, proof that it is also one of the most successful sports endeavors in all of Lebanon County.
In many ways, the Beaver girls are holding the torch for the entire Lebanon Catholic School community. Something for Lebanon Catholic to hang its hat on. something for it to be proud of, a link to good old days gone by. The Beavers represent what is pure and right and attractive about the school.
But quite without purpose, the Lebanon Catholic girls’ basketball program has morphed into something much more important. Not only are the Beavers keeping Lebanon Catholic School on the athletic map, they are often what people think of first when they think of ‘The Holy House on the Hill’. The girls’ basketball team has the power to help attract new students to LCS.
“There was a year where we didn’t have enough players either,” said Patti Hower, Lebanon Catholic’s head coach and most influential ambassador. “I think our kids work hard because they want to live up to that tradition. One reason our other sports struggle is that they only have varsity teams. If we didn’t have a strong CYO program, we’d struggle too. But we do a lot of work during basketball season.
“It’s obviously very important to me,” continued Hower. “I’ve been coaching or teaching for 42 years here. My daughter went here. Now my grand-daughter goes here. I think it’s important to get that Catholic education. I always thought the success was because of the kids we have here. I’m proud of the tradition we built, and I think that’s the reason we do so well.”
After four decades of breeding home-grown success through its storied CYO program, the 2016-17 season will mark the third in-a-row in which transfers will contribute to Lebanon Catholic’s success. New juniors Alexis Hill and Jasmine Turner came to Lebanon Catholic for a number of reasons, one of which was to play basketball.
“We do talk about that people know who they are,” said Hower of the notoriety the program affords its members. “When they’re out in public, they have to behave themselves. People will say, ‘Oh, you play for Lebanon Catholic.’ I think they’re starting to realize that. The young kids here look up to them. ‘Hey, I saw Neesha (Pierre) in the bathroom’. That’s one good thing about having all the grades in the same school. That’s kind of neat.
“It’s good to keep the program at a high level,” Hower continued. “With the size of our school and what we accomplish, I think it’s pretty amazing. We have 40 girls from grades nine through twelve, and we can put out good teams. We compete with some big schools.”
Hill and Turner will be joined in this year’s starting lineup by junior Jayden Shellehamer, junior Neesha Pierre and junior Celina Mars. Pierre and Mars have already been integral parts of two District Three championships.
“They (her players) do goal sheets, and I like what I saw,” said Hower. “Individuals saw where they needed to improve. I hope we realize what it takes to reach those team goals. From what I witnessed in practice, we do have good team chemistry. It’s a matter of learning our system. Individually, we have all juniors. We only have one senior.
“She’s (Hill) very, very good,” added Hower. “Her learning the system will make her better. She might be a little hesitant because she’s not exactly sure where she’s going right now. We’ve never really had a post player as good as her.”
That lone senior is guard Leah Pastal. With her talents and those of junior guard Hannah Callihan and junior forward Alaina Kline, the Beavers have a little more depth than they’ve had in a while.
On the negative side, Lebanon Catholic will have to deal with the loss of point guard Mariah Sholly, who decided not to come out for the team for personal reasons.
“We groomed Mariah in that position,” said Hower of her point. “But the kind of person Neesha is, she’s doing what the team needs her to do. Mariah was an excellent point guard, but Neesha is going to be a good point guard. We’ll get there.
“I really like the group and how they’re working together,” Hower added. “We have a lot of potential to live up to. But we’ve got to work together to achieve those goals.”
The Beavers may very well be better than last year’s team which went 22-7 overall and made it to the eastern semifinals of the PIAA Class A tournament. There was also of course the matter of an 18th District Three title.
“We had an excellent season,” said Hower of 2015-16. “We beat some really good teams. We had a couple of disappointing games, but we won most of the games we should’ve won. We got contributions from everyone. But last year was last year. This year is new. We have a new look. We kind’ve put last year behind us.
“They’re (her players) ready to play a game,” continued Hower. “But we’re not ready, ready. Because we have new players and players playing new positions, we made changes that were best for us. We weren’t together in the summer. I think we’re going to be much better by the end of the season.”
Because its level of play is not proportional to its size, Lebanon Catholic has encountered scheduling difficulties in the past. This season, the Beavers beefed up their non-league slate in preparation for competing in the Lancaaster-Lebanon League’s revamped Section Three.
Lebanon Catholic will begin its quest on Monday, December 12th at Mahanoy Area.
“They’ve been receptive to everything we’re trying to do,” said Hower of her charges. “I think they’re learning the game. They’re working hard. We have a tremendous amount of potential. We have more size than we’ve had. We have more depth than we’ve had. We’ll probably press a little more and have more of an inside game.
“An area of concern might be conditioning, because from the beginning we had to do a lot of teaching,” added Hower. “Remembering the system. We will by the end of the year. We don’t want to panic. But a lot of our tough games are early in the season. That’s a concern.”
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2015-16 Lebanon Catholic Girls’ Basketball Results
|12/09||Harrisburg Academy||6:00 PM||W 55-33|
|12/11 *||Elco||7:30 PM||L 42-45|
|12/14 *||@Northern Lebanon||7:30 PM||L 36-47|
|12/16 *||Lampeter-Strasburg||7:30 PM||W 58-42|
|12/18 *||Annville-Cleona||7:30 PM||W 46-27|
|12/21 *||@Lancaster Catholic||7:30 PM||L 32-74|
|12/23 *||@Lancaster Mennonite||7:30 PM||W 58-28|
|12/28 #||@Lebanon||7:30 PM||W 51-45|
|12/29 #||Manheim Twp.||7:30 PM||W 58-52|
|01/04||Veritas Academy||6:00 PM||W 68-21|
|01/05 *||Pequea Valley||7:30 PM||W 55-30|
|01/08 *||@Columbia||7:30 PM||W 64-52|
|01/11 *||@Donegal||7:30 PM||W 63-47|
|01/13 *||Manheim Central||7:30 PM||W 60-48|
|01/15 *||@Cocalico||7:30 PM||L 42-49|
|01/19 *||@Annville-Cleona||7:30 PM||W 49-22|
|01/21 *||Lancaster Catholic||7:30 PM||L 37-62|
|01/27 *||Lancaster Mennonite||7:30 PM||W 70-37|
|01/28 *||@Pequea Valley||7:30 PM||W 51-42|
|02/02 *||Columbia||7:30 PM||W 64-54|
|02/05||@West Shore Christian||6:00 PM||W 64-28|
|02/08 #||@Ephrata||7:00 PM||W 41-38|
|02/10 #||Northern Lebanon||7:00 PM||L 21-40|
|02/20 #||Greenwood||7:00 PM||W 44-32|
|02/23 #||Christian School of York||6:00 PM||W 57-36|
|02/25 #||Halifax||4:30 PM||W 67-43|
|Lebanon Catholic Girls’ Basketball: A History of Champions|
|PIAA Class A Championships|
Lebanon Catholic Girls’ Basketball
SINGLE GAME RECORDS
Most points scored in a game by L.C. – 106 vs. PequeaValley (2000-2001)
Most points scored in a game by Opp. – 94 Allentown Central Catholic (1990-1991)
Fewest points scored in a game by L.C. – 9 vs. Columbia (1985-1986)
Fewest points scored in a game by Opp. – 11 Pequea Valley (1982-1983)
Most points in a game – Becky Hower 45 vs Donegal (2000-2001)
Most foul shots made in a game – Joni Brown 15 for 20 vs. McDevitt (1990-1991)
Lauren Boyer 15 for 19 vs. Lancaster Catholic (2004- 2005)
Most offensive rebounds in a game – Myra Kline 14 (1980-1981)
Most defensive rebounds in a game – Lisa Simpson 19 (1985-1986)
Most total rebounds in a game – Hailey Carangelo 22 (2007 – 2010)
Most assists in a game – Marie Schlegel 15 vs. Columbia (1994-1995)
Most steals in a game – Becky Hower 14 vs. Lancaster Christian (1998-1999)
Most 3 point shots made in a game – Becky Hower 7 (1999-2000)
Lebanon Catholic Girls’ Basketball
SINGLE SEASON RECORDS
Offensive Rebounds – Myra Kline 191 (1980-1981)
Defensive Rebounds – Alicia Barlet 240 (1980-1981)
Total Rebounds – Myra Kline 402 (1980-1981)
Steals – Becky Hower 153 (1998-1999)
Assists – Marie Schlegel 221 (1994-1995)
Field Goals Made – Joni Brown 292 (1990-1991)
Free Throws Made – Joni Brown 125 (1990-1991)
Total Points – Becky Hower 731 (1999-2000)
Average – Joni Brown 24.6ppg. (1990-1991)
Free Throw % – Sam Carangelo 89% (2005-2006)
Field Goal % – Meghan Orr 57% (2007-2008)
3 Point Shots Made – Becky Hower 82 (2000-2001)
Lebanon Catholic Girls’ Basketball
Offensive Rebounds – Myra Kline 362
Defensive Rebounds – Becky Hower 709
Total Rebounds – Becky Hower 1017
Steals – Becky Hower 519
Assists – Marie Schlegel 766
Field Goals Made – Becky Hower 712
Free Throws Made – Abby Minder 343
Becky Hower – 343
Total Points – Becky Hower 2445
Free Throw % – Sam Carangelo 77%
Field Goal % – Sarah Wade 50%
Becky Hower 50%
Average – Becky Hower 20.6
3 Point Shots Made – Becky Hower 226
Lebanon Catholic Girls’ Basketball
TEAM RECORD SEASON TOTALS
L.C. highest average points per game – 66.2 (2000-2001)
Opp. highest average points per game – 58.0 (2005-2006)
L.C. lowest average points per game – 35.0 (2013-2014)
Opp. lowest aveage points per game – 37.5 (2009-2010)
Offensive Rebounds – 603 (1980-1981)
Defensive Rebounds – 825 (1980-1981)
Total Rebounds – 1428 (1980-1981)
Steals – 584 (2001-2002)
Assists – 596 (1980-1981)
Field Goals Made – 780 (1980-1981)
Free Throws Made – 384 (2001-2002)
Total Points – 2101 (1999-2000)
3 Point Shots Made – 118 (2000-2001)
Free Throw % – 69% (1993-1994)
Field Goal % – 46% (1990-1991) (2000-2001)
Consecutive Lanc.-Leb. League Section 3 Wins – 44 1/20/92 to 1/27/95
Consecutive Home Wins – 46 12/27/90 to 12/7/95
Longest Winning Streak – 29 2/20/92 to 2/25/93
Most Wins in a Season – 28-2 (l994-1995)
Fewest Wins in a Season – 3 (1975-1976)
Most Losses in a Season – 18 (2013-2014)
Fewest Losses in a Season – 2 (1992-1993, 1994-1995)
Farthest Advancement in PIAA/State Tournament –
Eastern Semi-Finals (1980-1981, 1984-1985, 1988-1989, 1995-1996, 2000-2001, 2001-2002)
Eastern Finals (1993-1994, 1999-2000, 2002-2003)
State Champion (1991-1992, 1994-1995)