LINGLESTOWN – A decade ago, a decision was made for New Covenant Christian School to become a member of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. The idea was designed to make the local private school more visible and allow it to compete in the PIAA’s District Three playoffs.
Certainly, the New Covenant girls’ basketball program had done its part.
On Tuesday night at Harrisburg Christian Academy, the Flames recorded their third straight opening-round victory in the District Three Class A tournament by outlasting the home-town Cougars, 37-32. New Covenant used a strong third quarter to establish an advantage, then held off Harrisburg Christian in crunch time.
With a fifth win over its last six outings, New Covenant, the tenth-seed and final entry in the Class A postseason, evened its overall record at 10-10. The Flames also assured themselves at least two more games in the District Three playoffs, one of which will be a quarterfinal date at second-seeded Christian School of York, on Friday at 7 p.m.
Harrisburg Christian, the seventh-seeded, concluded its campaign at 13-9. During the regular season, Harrisburg Christian had defeated New Covenant twice, 42-31 on January 3rd and 37-32 on January 28th.
“We’re a small Christian school,” said New Covenant head coach James Hubbard, who doubles as the school’s principal. “It’s nice to be relevant. It’s fun to compete against our neighbors. You can’t do that if you’re not a PIAA school. But just because we’re small doesn’t mean we can’t compete at this level.
“Once we knew we made it (to the district tournament), I felt like we could get through three games,” continued Hubbard. “At the start of the season, we were hoping to be .500 and just make it to districts. It was important to have realistic goals, but we overachieved. Now I think we have some momentum.”
The Flames started the final quarter with a nine-point lead, but went the first 4:42 of it without a point. A jumper from Renae Rohrer ended the dry spell and gave New Covenant a 32-24 lead.
The Flames’ final five points of the contest came courtesy of Lizzy Hubbard’s foul shooting, and served to short-circuit the Knights’ comeback bid. Harrisburg Christian did make it a one-possession game once, on a three-pointer that made it 34-32 with 17 seconds left.
“We talked about it,” said Hubbard. “When teams come back, my daughter (Lizzy) is usually the player they focus on. We had to get the ball to some of the other players. They just worked the ball and managed to hold on.
“I think it’s important for the team, because we’re young, just for the confidence,” continued Hubbard. “It’s good for the school, and for the players, to have a good win.”
New Covenant used a strong third quarter to build on a one-point halftime edge.
Rohrer started it with a three-pointer to open the third period. But it was a 7-0 run to end the quarter – on a Hubbard trey, a Katie Burns lay-in and a Rohrer jumper – which gave the Flames their 30-21 margin.
“We played well,” said Hubbard. “They had beaten us twice, so we knew it was going to be difficult for our kids. We prepared well for this game. They (his players) did what they had to do. My guards played well.
“We’ve had a good second half of the season,” added Hubbard. “We’ve been coming on strong at the right time, but we’re still a young team.”
Lizzy Hubbard poured in a game-high 18 points, while Rohrer contributed 11. New Covenant outscored Harrisburg Christian 12-3 from ‘distance’.
From down low, Merit Innocent tallied 15 Knight points. Harrisburg Christian made good on only five of 18 free throw attempts.
“We were concerned about playing man-to-man,” said Hubbard of the Flames’ defensive scheme. “They (the Knights) don’t have a lot of good shooters, so we wanted to collapse on her (Innocent) in the zone. We held their points down. Offensively, one of our problems has been turning the ball over.”
The Flames started the game on fire, shooting the ball well and netting the initial 12 points of the contest. Hubbard had eight of those points, while Rohrer added a jumper.
“It did have an effect,” said Hubbard of the two previous meetings with Harrisburg Christian. “We watched tape. We turned the ball over when we played them before. The goal was to be careful with the ball and run the offense patiently. We wanted to move the defense. It was one possession at a time. They (his players) did what we asked them to do.”
Harrisburg Christian scored the game’s next 11 points, before Katie Burns responded for the Flames. It was a bucket from Hubbard which gave New Covenant its 16-15 edge at intermission.
“We started the season 1-6, so it’s been a turnaround,” said Hubbard. “All of our first eight or nine games were away because our new recreation center wasn’t complete. We had freshmen who were new and scared. And then we won a ton at home. Some of it is confidence.”
|2019-12-06||A||vs||Conestoga Christian School(3)||W||31-13|
|2019-12-17||A||vs||Christian School Of York(3)||L||22-40|
|2019-12-20||A||vs||West Shore Christian Academy(3)||L||41-44|
|2020-01-03||A||vs||Harrisburg Christian School(3)||L||31-42|
|2020-01-04||A||vs||Mount Calvary Christian School(3)||L||23-61|
|2020-01-09||A||vs||High Point Baptist Academy(3)||W||44-41|
|2020-01-10||A||vs||Dayspring Christian Academy(3)||W||27-11|
|2020-01-17||H||vs||Lititz Christian School(3)||W||33-27|
|2020-01-23||A||vs||Covenant Christian Academy(3)||W||24-29|
|2020-01-24||H||vs||Christian School Of York(3)||L||43-26|
|2020-01-28||H||vs||Harrisburg Christian School(3)||L||37-32|
|2020-01-31||H||vs||Covenant Christian Academy(3)||W||41-20|
|2020-02-04||H||vs||Dayspring Christian Academy(3)||W||43-21|
|2020-02-06||H||vs||Mount Calvary Christian School(3)||L||35-25|
|2020-02-07||H||vs||West Shore Christian Academy(3)||W||47-27|
|1***||Lancaster Country Day School||18-||2-||0||0.676235||0.898876||0.404118||16.0||172.7||1.8||254.7|
|2***||Christian School Of York||21-||2-||0||0.626622||0.870801||0.328181||16.9||159.3||2.5||326.0|
|4***||Mount Calvary Christian School||16-||6-||0||0.509352||0.639594||0.350167||12.6||162.6||7.1||301.8|
|5***||Lebanon Catholic School||11-||11-||0||0.447658||0.428241||0.471390||9.3||210.9||12.4||236.5|
|7***||Harrisburg Christian School||13-||7-||0||0.444622||0.535326||0.333762||9.9||142.6||8.6||284.7|
|9***||Lititz Christian School||10-||8-||0||0.391360||0.449102||0.320786||7.5||116.8||9.2||247.2|
|10***||New Covenant Christian School||9-||10-||0||0.373253||0.350649||0.400880||6.8||154.9||12.5||231.5|
|11||West Shore Christian Academy||10-||12-||0||0.354015||0.336323||0.375638||7.5||169.3||14.8||281.4|
|12||High Point Baptist Academy||9-||8-||0||0.344040||0.405405||0.269038||6.8||96.5||9.9||262.1|
|14||Covenant Christian Academy||5-||17-||0||0.267213||0.174180||0.380920||4.3||169.7||20.2||275.8|
|15||Dayspring Christian Academy||3-||19-||0||0.236132||0.090361||0.414297||2.3||185.8||22.7||262.6|
|16||Conestoga Christian School||2-||15-||0||0.209471||0.074442||0.374506||1.5||128.0||18.7||213.7|
|17||Lancaster County Christian||1-||19-||0||0.171100||0.031513||0.341707||0.8||132.0||23.1||254.2|
|18||LINVILLE HILL CHRISTIAN||0-||0-||0||0.000000||0.000000||0.000000||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0|