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IMG_5759 BY JEFF FALK

LITITZ – First it was the District Three Class AAAAAA top seed and the Section One champion. Now it’s the District Three Class AAAAA fourth seed and the Section Two champion.

Up next is the the District Three Class AAAA number-one seed and Section Three champion.

What else you got?

Lebanon Catholic’s brand of girls basketball plays well across all classifications.

On a Fat Tuesday night at Warwick High School, little Lebanon Catholic advanced to the Lancaster-Lebanon League championship game by taking down yet another much larger school – this time Lampeter-Strasburg – 38-29 in a semifinal tilt. Constantly switching their defenses, the Beavers held the mighty Pioneer offense in check, and led by senior Taylor Bossert, converted key free throws down the stretch.

IMG_5636The triumph moved Lebanon Catholic, the third-place finisher from Section Three, to 19-5 overall and into Thursday’s 7 p.m. L-L championship game at Manheim Township, against old nemesis Lancaster Catholic. It will be Lebanon Catholic’s first appearance in the L-L League title tilt since 2000. The Beavers wore their only league crown in 1981.

The undefeated Crusaders advanced with a 53-35 victory over Elizabethtown in the second game of last night’s semifinal doubleheader at Warwick. During the regular season, the Crusaders bested the Beavers twice – 53-35 in Lancaster on January 9th and 65-52 on Assumption Hill on February 2nd.

The setback dropped Lampeter-Strasburg to 21-3.

“We’re just excited to be there,” said Lebanon Catholic head coach Patti Hower. “We’ll give it our best shot. Both times against Lancaster Catholic we got off to poor starts. We’re going to do our best to give it a go.

IMG_5722“We’re a small school, but we’re a pretty good team,” continued Hower. “I’m proud of all my kids.”

“This was important because we want to get that league championship,” said Beaver senior point guard Neesha Pierre. “We want people to respect us. People say, ‘You’re only good because you’re single A. You only won the state championship because you’re a small school’.

“We can earn a lot of respect,” added Pierre. “I think we have definitely earned the respect we deserve, but people don’t say it. We played very good schools.”

There were more than a few tense moments in crunch time for the Beavers, but they never relinquished a lead they gained in the second period.

With Lebanon Catholic’s defense holding the cold-shooting Pioneers to just a single point over the first six minutes of the final quarter, the Beavers opened a 29-22 margin on an inside hoop by Alexis Hill. But the Pioneers netted the next five points, including a three-pointer from Emma Gochnauer, to pull within 29-27.

But in stepped Bosssert, who drained six straight foul shots in the final 48 seconds to ice the victory.

“Defensively, they (her players) executed,” said Hower, whose club has made 51 percent of its foul shots this season. “Taylor did a great job at the foul line. It was a great team win.

“I was glad Taylor was at the free throw line because she’s our best shooter,” Hower continued. “Some people don’t believe it, but we do practice our foul shots. And no, we weren’t better last year.”

IMG_5803“We definitely need to get better with our foul shots,” said Pierre. “But today we did better. We made them at the end. We practice our fouls shots all the time.”

With Lebanon Catholic forcing turnovers and controlling the defensive boards, the Beavers held Lampeter-Strasburg without a point over the final 3:58 of the third period. Buckets from Celine Mars and Jayden Shellehamer gave Catholic a 25-21 margin.

“We changed defenses three times,” said Hower. “One we got a five- or six-point lead, we went man-to-man. That’s why you do it, to keep the other team off-balance. But what happens is we end up confusing ourselves. And for the most part we rebounded well.

“We played all of them (the defenses) all year,” added Hower. “Which one we use depends on the opponent. They’re (her players) seniors now, they understand the game.”

“We like playing man, because that’s what we do best,” said Pierre. “It keeps us active. But when we went zone, we started doing better.”

Hill tallied 14 points to pace the Beavers’ scoring. On nine-of-13 shooting, Lebanon Catholic outscored Lampeter-Strasburg by eight points at the charity stripe.

The Pioneers were two-for-27 from ‘distance’.

IMG_5670“That was really ugly,” said Hower. “It wasn’t pretty, but we got the job done. They (the Pioneers) didn’t shoot well, but maybe some of that was our defense. I thought our kids did a great job of identifying where their shooters were.

“No, I wouldn’t have thought 38 (points) was going to be enough, because we’re usually in the 50s,” Hower added. “We looked a little tired, a little sluggish at times. We don’t play on a lot of big courts.”

“I see my role as the glue,” said Pierre. “The one that keeps everyone together. When I’m not on the court it gets frantic. I keep everything in check.

“I know what Mrs. Hower wants out of me and the team,” Pierre continued. “That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m scoring. I know what my teammates do best and I try to bring it out of them.”

Lampeter-Strasburg assumed an early 8-5 lead, and when Gochnauer threw in a first-quarter-buzzer-beating three-pointer from just inside the half-court line, the Pioneers carried an 11-7 advantage to the second stanza.

IMG_5734“They run a good man, half-court offense,” said Hower of the Pioneers. “They do their weave and hand-off. That tires us out. When we sit in a zone that rests us.

“Some of them (Pioneers) yes, we’re going to let them shoot,” added Hower. “But you’ve got to know where other people are. I think they’re a better team than they showed tonight.”

“Overall, I don’t think we played our best,” said Pierre. “We started slow and picked it up. Mrs. Hower had to yell at us to get us going. Personally, I don’t think I played well, but everybody else picked it up.”

Momentum began to swing Lebanon Catholic’s way in the second quarter.

IMG_5835The Beavers registered the last eight points of the second to take a 19-15 edge to the locker room. Hill netted five of those points, while Bossert canned a three-pointer.

“No, I don’t think so,” said Hower, when asked if Lancaster Catholic was in the Beavers’ head. “I don’t think we go in there thinking they’re going to beat us. They’re probably better than us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t beat them.”

“We’re never cocky, but we’re confident,” said Pierre. “We think we can compete with anyone in the L-L League.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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 2017-18 Lebanon Catholic Girls’ Basketball Results

Date Opponents Results
12/11
7:30 pm
Mahanoy Area
at Lebanon Catholic
61
51
12/13
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Trinity
66
69
12/15
7:00 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Pequea Valley
71
53
12/16
6:00 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Christian School of York
62
41
12/18
6:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon Catholic
57
52
12/20
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lebanon Catholic
53
66
12/22
6:00 pm
High Point Baptist
at Lebanon Catholic
16
77
12/27
6:30 pm
Marian Catholic
at Lebanon Catholic
37
57
12/29
7:30 pm
Mount Calvary
Lebanon Catholic
at Lebanon Catholic Tournament
26
76
12/30
7:30 pm
Linden Hall
Lebanon Catholic
at Lebanon Catholic Tournament
24
56
1/02
7:30 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Lebanon Catholic
55
81
1/05
7:30 pm
Columbia
at Lebanon Catholic
43
73
1/09
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Lancaster Catholic
35
53
1/11
6:00 pm
Veritas Academy
at Lebanon Catholic
26
76
1/12
6:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lebanon Catholic
21
53
1/18
6:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Lebanon Catholic
62
82
1/19
8:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon Catholic
35
43
1/23
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Elco
49
38
1/26
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Lancaster Mennonite
67
40
1/30
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Columbia
66
37
2/02
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Lebanon Catholic
65
52
2/06
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Annville-Cleona
68
30
2/10
6:00 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Manheim Township
61
59
2/13
6:00 pm
Lampeter-Strasburg
Lebanon Catholic
at Warwick
2/23
7:00 pm
TBD
at Lebanon Catholic
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PIAA District Three
 Class A Power Rankings
A School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP  TWPW  TWPL  OWPW  OWPL
1 Lebanon Catholic School 17- 5- 0  0.661840  0.752451  15.4  0.551093  248.4  5.1  202.3
2 Linden Hall 15- 4- 0  0.630287  0.753501  13.5  0.479691  161.2  4.4  174.9
3 Harrisburg Christian School 12- 2- 0  0.585393  0.796460  9.0  0.327423  93.3  2.3  191.6
4 Christian School Of York 18- 4- 0  0.575611  0.731183  13.6  0.385467  154.9  5.0  247.0
5 Veritas Academy 15- 3- 0  0.547350  0.750000  11.3  0.299667  108.2  3.8  252.8
6 Lancaster Country Day School 16- 6- 0  0.519027  0.656410  12.8  0.351113  159.3  6.7  294.4
7 New Covenant Christian School 13- 6- 0  0.484930  0.594203  10.3  0.351375  121.4  7.0  224.1
8 Greenwood 11- 11- 0  0.469047  0.451691  9.4  0.490260  225.3  11.4  234.2
9 LINVILLE HILL CHRISTIAN 8- 5- 0  0.435780  0.514768  6.1  0.339240  86.2  5.8  167.8
10 Lititz Christian School 12- 9- 0  0.398152  0.469974  9.0  0.310370  126.6  10.2  281.3
11 Conestoga Christian School 10- 9- 0  0.357849  0.400000  7.5  0.306330  109.9  11.3  248.8
12 Mount Calvary Christian School 7- 14- 0  0.319104  0.238095  5.3  0.418115  166.0  16.8  231.0
13 Covenant Christian Academy 6- 11- 0  0.303577  0.246575  4.5  0.373246  119.7  13.8  201.0
14 Harrisburg Academy 4- 13- 0  0.288640  0.156658  3.0  0.449951  136.7  16.2  167.1
15 Dayspring Christian Academy 8- 14- 0  0.285948  0.258621  6.0  0.319347  125.2  17.2  266.9
16 Halifax 4- 18- 0  0.273337  0.142241  3.3  0.433564  203.5  19.9  265.8
17 High Point Baptist Academy 4- 12- 0  0.256897  0.171429  3.0  0.361358  111.8  14.5  197.5
18 West Shore Christian Academy 4- 16- 0  0.248383  0.131579  3.0  0.391144  148.9  19.8  231.7
19 Lancaster County Christian 4- 16- 0  0.221005  0.134529  3.0  0.326697  122.3  19.3  252.0
20 Lancaster Mennonite School-Hershey Campus 3- 15- 0  0.218092  0.109756  2.3  0.350503  118.4  18.3  219.4
21 Millersburg 2- 20- 0  0.217969  0.067460  1.7  0.401924  179.7  23.5  267.4
22 Berks Christian 0- 17- 0  0.175100  0.000000  0.0  0.389111  126.5  21.3  198.6
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IMG_5703Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Semifinal Playoff

 (at Warwick High School)

Lebanon Catholic 38, Lampeter-Strasburg 29

Lampeter-Strasburg (29)

Gochnauer 7 1-3 16, Garber 2 0-0 4, Gawne 2 0-0 4, Horner 1 0-0 3, Zameroski 1 0-0 2, Holmes 0 0-0 0, Vranich 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 1-3 29/

Lebanon Catholic (38)

Hill 6 2-5 14, Bossert 1 6-6 9, Mars 3 1-2 7, Turner 2 0-0 4, Pierre 1 0-0 2, Shellehamer 1 0-0 2. Totals: 14 9-14 38.

Lampeter-Strasburg 11 4 6 8 – 29

Lebanon Catholic 7 12 6 13 – 38

3-pointers: LS – Gochnauer, Horner, LC – Bossert.

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