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BY JEFF FALK

MYERSTOWN – During a little re-inventing and some moving around of new pieces, the Elco girls’ basketball team experienced its share of struggles early this season. But the Raiders have recently picked up momentum.

Now they’re headed into the holiday break wondering exactly where their ceiling is.

On Monday night at Elco High School, the improving Raiders registered another impressive triumph, a 53-36 non-league victory over York Catholic. Elco parlayed a hot start into a double-digit, second-quarter advantage, then played good defense and made good decisions with the ball to turn it into a win.

The victory was the Raiders’ fourth in their last five outings. Elco will head into Christmas with a 5-3 overall mark, while the Irish now stand at 2-5 on the season.

“I really hate these games when we don’t have school during the day,” said Elco head coach Ashli Shay. “This was an important game for us to see if we would be prepared. We talked a lot about starting fast. That says you’re ready. To me, if you can beat a team like York Catholic – I know they don’t have a great record – it’s certainly a nice Christmas present.

“Last week was big for us,” continued Shay. “Just seeing that we’re capable of playing with some of the heavy hitters in our league. It gave them (her players) confidence. Our goal is to get better everyday. We know we’re young. But by midseason hopefully we’ll have taken enough positive steps to be headed in the right direction.”

“I thought we did some things really well,” said Shay. “I thought we rebounded well. I was worried about their (the Irish’s) size.

Elco set the tone for the contest’s outcome early, by getting everyone involved and shooting the ball well. All five starters contributed points, as the Raiders raced out to a 13-4 advantage, five minutes in.

“Our goal was to keep them in the 30s, and then have a chance to win it in the end,” Shay continued. “Normally, they (the Irish) start very well. They did not shoot the ball well tonight. Hopefully that had something to do with our defense.”

Elco created a little distance between itself and York Catholic in the second stanza.

First, four free throws from sophomore Kailey Eckhart and a lay-in by junior Ashley Yoh jacked the Raider advantage to 23-12. Then Elco closed the first half on a 10-1 run – thanks to four points from Fox, four more charity tosses by Eckhart and a Yoh banker – and with a 33-17 cushion.

“The message at halftime was: ‘Let’s put it away,'” said Shay. “I thought if we could play a strong third quarter we had a good chance to maintain that lead. I thought we rebounded well. We did a nice job of shooting the ball. Overall, I’m very happy.”

Eckhart led all scorers with 21 points, a total which included an 11-for-12 performance at the foul line, and hauled down ten rebounds. Yoh pumped in 14 points and Fox contributed 11 and 11 caroms.

The Raiders outscored the Irish 38-20 on two-point buckets.

“Ashley has absolutely stepped her game up,” said Shay of Yoh. “Last year we would’ve liked to get her a little more varsity time. But she has dedicated herself to the weight room, and she hasn’t left. Tonight she did it inside and outside. She’s so quiet. She’s like a silent assassin, but her game talks for her. It’s neat to see her come into her own.

“We knew Kailey was going to be a force offensively,” added Shay. “She broke her hand early last year, but she played some significant minutes, and I think that’s really helped her. She can handle the ball a little bit for us.”

The Raiders did a good job of putting the outcome to rest in the third quarter, simply by maintaining their lead. Amanda Smith’s driving lay-up, a Yoh jumper and a Fox basket gave Elco a 41-21 advantage midway through the stanza.

Early in the final quarter, back-to-back jumpers from Eckhart and Yoh made the Raiders’ lead 49-29.

“We’ve scored anywhere from 28 points to 58 points,” said Shay of the Elco offense. “Tonight we scored 53, and that was with our leading scorer, Amanda Smith, on the bench with foul trouble.

“We did share the ball,” Shay added. “There were some really nice passes. I thought Katelyn Rueppel did a nice job distributing. We got some easy baskets. We made the extra passes. These kids are very, very unselfish.”

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

2019-20 Elco Girls’ Basketball Schedule

DateOpponentsOutcomes
12/06
6:00 pm
Susquehanna Township
Elco
at Middletown Tip-Off Tournament
51
38

Nonleague
12/07
6:00 pm
Elco
Boiling Springs
at Middletown Tip-Off Tournament
41
24

Nonleague
12/10
7:30 pm
Elco
at Fleetwood
30
32

Nonleague
12/13
7:30 pm
Elco
at Cocalico
37
32

League
12/16
7:30 pm
Manheim Central
at Elco
46
50

League
12/18
7:30 pm
Elco
at Solanco
28
34
League
12/20
7:30 pm
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Elco
53
58
League
12/23
7:30 pm
York Catholic
at Elco

Nonleague
12/27
2:00 pm
Blue Mountain
Elco
at Pine Grove Holiday Tournament

Nonleague
12/28
TBD
Elco
TBD
at Pine Grove Holiday Tournament

Nonleague
1/03
7:30 pm
Elco
at Octorara

League
1/07
7:30 pm
Donegal
at Elco

League
1/10
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco

League
1/11
1:30 pm
Lebanon
at Elco

Nonleague
1/17
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic

League
1/21
7:30 pm
Octorara
at Elco

League
1/24
7:30 pm
Elco
at Donegal

League
1/25
4:00 pm
Oley Valley
at Elco

Nonleague
1/28
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon

League
1/29
7:30 pm
Elco
at Conrad Weiser

Nonleague
1/31
7:30 pm
Elco
at Garden Spot

League
2/04
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Elco

League

Lancaster-Lebanon League

Section Four Standings

LeagueOverall
WLPCTWLPCTPFPA
Northern Lebanon401.000701.000282184
Lancaster Catholic401.000610.857407330
Elco310.750530.625335308
Donegal130.250350.375377425
Octorara130.250150.167175374

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