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IMG_5823BY JEFF FALK

PALMYRA – OK, so who deserves the credit?

The predecessor for what he left behind? Or the successor for what she’s been able to accomplish in a short time?

Both. But not for the reasons you may expect.

Mary Manlove for being flexible and adaptable and humble. Ron Berman for being open and accommodating and hospitable.

On Wednesday evening, the Palmyra girls’ basketball team’s transition from one era to the next became just a little smoother, thanks to a 45-41 home win over Hempfield. After the Cougars had squandered a nine-point fourth-quarter lead, it was Palmyra’s Amelia Baldo and Annabelle Copeland to the rescue, with a basket and a pair of free throws in the game’s final 57 seconds.

IMG_5779The non-league decision, Palmyra’s second victory in as many nights, lifted it to 3-1 overall. Hempfield is now 1-2.

“I’d say there’s been an adjustment with me learning all the new teams,” said Manlove, who took over for the highly successful Berman in the off-season. “It takes extra hours. It takes more time. But the kids trust us. They communicate well. Those kids are some of the finest kids to coach. It’s just new people.

“I’m always nervous about Hempfield,” continued Manlove. “Nothing about that game felt comfortable to me. I’m pleased, with coming off a game against Mechanicsburg last night and the Northern Lebanon tournament this weekend. Those are very difficult opponents. It’s hard playing for a new coaching staff. But I’m happy with how we’re responding and competing.”

IMG_5795When Lindsey Durkota stroked a pair of free throws with 1:23 remaining, Hempfield had erased a 39-30 deficit and tied the game at 41. But instead of panicking, the Cougars attacked.

Twenty-six seconds later, Baldo went hard to the bucket with her right hand to put Palmyra back on top, 43-41. With 25 seconds to go, Copeland made it a two-possession game by calmly sinking two charity tosses.

“We were forcing it so much, but then our spacing and timing went better,” said Manlove. “I think they (her players) were just tight in the fourth quarter. We don’t run a whole lot. There’s not much more to do than play fundamentals and move the ball.

“I thought we forced shots that were not there,” Manlove continued. “I thought we played tight in patches. I feel like we did not finish some possessions. But luckily we did some things well enough for three quarters.”

IMG_5792Protecting a 34-30 edge, the Cougars got an Olivia Richardson jumper and a Hayley Shultz three-pointer to push their lead to nine points. But Palmyra endured a 4:20 scoreless drought in the middle of the final stanza that allowed the Black Knights to claw back into it.

“I think their number two (Trinity Sumrall) and number eleven (Julianna Clark) were determined, and those kids are incredible basketball players,” said Manlove of the Black Knights. “It took five players to stop them. And even then we had a hard time. It wasn’t our mentality to milk the clock. They (the Black Knights) turned up the intensity.

“I don’t think their press hurt us as much as our shot selection wasn’t there,” added Manlove. “We took shots that were not high percentage shots, shots that weren’t needed.”

With 14 points, Richardson showed the way for Palmyra, while teammate Hanah McLucas recorded 11. Baldo dished out five assists.

The Cougar defense limited the Black Knights to 11 two-point field goals.

IMG_5839“It just is,” said Manlove, when asked about the importance of the contest. “Every game is an important game. I’m so new, I want to win one game at a time. We’re taking one task at a time.

“I thought we tackled the first three quarters really well,” Manlove added. “We can learn a lot from the fourth quarter. I thought we had good communication, but tonight was a grit game, a grind game.”

Hempfield tallied nine of the game’s first 13 points. But Palmyra got it going in the middle of the opening quarter, in the form of a 14-2 run that gave it an 18-11 margin.

During the burst, Richardson generated nine points, McLucas buried a trey and Schultz scored on a stick-back.

“That’s the reality of motion (offense),” said Manlove of her balanced scoring. “The system is in place. They (her players) move the ball well and they understand floor spacing. But that was true before I got here.

“Throughout the course of a game, opponents adjust to each other,” continued Manlove. “It took us a while too. They (the Black Knights) were getting to the basket at will. We had to talk about it at halftime.”

Back-to-back three-pointers from McLucas and Copeland early in the second quarter gave the Cougars a 27-19 margin. But Palmyra went the final 5:34 of the first half without a score of any kind.

IMG_5831“It’s early, and no one ever won a title in December,” said Manlove. “We’re vanilla. We’re trying to figure out our flavor. We’re just taking it one game at a time.”

 

 

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 To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

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 2016-17 Palmyra Girls’ Basketball Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/09 #
@Kennard-Dale
5:00 PM W 51-18
12/10 #
@Northern Lebanon
7:00 PM L 24-43
12/13 *
@Mechanicsburg
7:30 PM W 37-30
12/14
Hempfield
7:30 PM W 45-41
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
12/16 *
@Susquehanna Twp.
7:30 PM Susquehanna Twp. High School
12/19 *
Cedar Cliff
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
12/21 *
Bishop McDevitt
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
12/23
@Cocalico
7:30 PM Cocalico High School
12/27 #
@Manheim Twp.
2:00 PM Ephrata High School
01/03 *
Red Land
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
01/04
@Elco
7:30 PM Elco High School
01/06 *
@Hershey
7:30 PM Hershey High School
01/10 *
Lower Dauphin
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
01/13 *
Mechanicsburg
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
01/17 *
Susquehanna Twp.
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
01/20 *
@Cedar Cliff
7:30 PM Cedar Cliff High School
01/24 *
@Bishop McDevitt
7:30 PM Bishop McDevitt High School
01/24
Cedar Crest
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
01/27 *
@Red Land
7:30 PM Red Land High School
01/31 *
Hershey
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
02/03 *
@Lower Dauphin
7:30 PM Lower Dauphin High School
02/07
Milton Hershey
7:30 PM Palmyra High School

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IMG_5817LEBANON SPORTS BUZZ’S

 2016-17 Preseason All Lebanon County Girls’ Basketball Rankings

1. Cedar Crest

2. Northern Lebanon

3. Palmyra

4. Lebanon Catholic

5. Elco

6. Annville-Cleona

7. Lebanon

 

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Lebanon Sports Buzz’s

 2016-17 Preseason All-Lebanon County Girls’ Basketball Team

Ariel Jones of Cedar Crest; Alyssa Austin of Cedar Crest; Zoe Zerman of Northern Lebanon; Megan Brandt of Northern Lebanon; Alexis Hill of Lebanon Catholic

 

 

 

 

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