MYERSTOWN – There is certainly something to be said for showing up, taking care of business and winning games you’re supposed to win. From it comes this accumulative effect that not only leaves you wanting more, but that also provides you with the ability to get more.
That’s kind of where the Elco girls’ basketball team is right now.
On Wednesday night at Elco High School, the Raiders took care of their business in pretty much the same way they have all season, disposing of their visitors from Garden Spot 48-34. Employing multiple lineups and combinations, Elco used some stifling defense and fast-break points to take control of the game late in the first period.
The non-league triumph was the Raiders’ fifth in their last six outings and pushed them to 9-4 on the year. Elco was situated eighth in the latest power rankings for a District Three AAAA classification that takes ten teams for its postseason.
With the setback, Garden Spot fell to 0-10 on the season.
“Honestly, I think we’re still building to that,” said Elco head coach Ashli Shay. “Of our four losses, there are two or three we’d like to get back. We have a really tough schedule. I think beating Northern Lebanon twice is an accomplishment, if you want a signature win. That’s a big deal for anyone, but especially if you’re Elco. We’re going to have opportunities in the next few weeks, and if we continue to get better, I think things will go our way.
“I think we’re getting there,” added Shay. “Over these last two weeks, we’ve evolved a little bit with our transition game. It’s something we’ve been doing so much better. We’ve been working harder to get the ball inside. Considering we’ve only had two practices in two weeks, we’re getting better.”
The Raiders spotted ‘The Spot’ an early 4-0 head start, before using an 11-0 burst to take an early lead they would never relinquish. While they were holding the Spartans without a point for an 8:29 stretch, the Raiders were getting five points from Amanda Smith, four points from Ashley Yoh and a steal and lay-in by Katelyn Rueppel.
“I talked to them (her players) during a timeout and told them they were a little lethargic,” said Shay, whose club was coming off a convincing road win at Wyomissing a night prior. “I told them, ‘we’re not stepping to the ball.’ But I don’t generally get concerned with this group when we get down a couple of buckets.
“I thought we got the transition game going and pushed the issue,” continued Shay. “I knew we’d find our legs at some point. I thought the run-outs led to swinging the momentum.”
Once it got the momentum, Elco never let it go.
In the middle of the second stanza, the Raiders pieced together a 13-2 tear that extended their six-point advantage to 26-9. Smith tallied eight of those points, while Yoh contributed a deuce, Kailey Eckhart converted a pair of charity tosses and Allie Nolt made a free throw.
“I thought we battled hard, especially for it being the second game in-a-row,” said Shay. “We got everybody a lot of minutes. We’ll come to practice tomorrow and prepare for Friday.
“Every game is important from this point of the season,” Shay continued. “Every single game. We’re getting down to the last couple games of the season. What you do from now to February 23rd (regular-season deadline for District Three playoffs) is important. We’ve got to stay strong and stay focused.”
With 15 points, Smith showed the way for the Raiders, and Yoh tossed in 14. Elco made ten of its 17 foul shots, and outscored Garden Spot 32-24 on field goals originating from inside the arc.
“Our game goals are to win the turnover battle, out rebound our opponent and hold our opponent to less than ten points in two quarters,” said Shay. “Tonight, we got two of those three. When we do that, we feel like we have a really good chance. If you take care of the ball, rebound and play good defense, you’re going to be in the game at the end.
“I thought we did a nice job when they came out in that 3-2 trap,” Shay added. “We got a couple of nice looks out of that. I thought we did fine with the lead. It was nice to rotate a lot of kids in tonight.”
The Raiders continued to build on their lead in the third quarter.
This time, it came in the form of a 10-2 run, which gave Elco a 40-15 bulge late in the quarter. Yoh had three of those baskets, Eckhart scored on a drive and Smith converted a lay-in.
Then, the Raiders opened the final stanza with four straight points by Claudia Huey to extend their advantage to 46-19.
“Even when we’ve been in really close games, we’ve gone nine or ten deep,” said Shay. “We have experience on the bench, and in the starting group. When you have a kid like Emma Fox, she gives you a great spark off the bench. We’ve really been able to roll with nine or ten deep.
“At the end of the day, you’ve still got to take care of business,” added Shay. “We don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we have to rely on other teams. We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. We’re just taking it one game at a time.”
at Northern Lebanon
at Conrad Weiser
|6||Bishop McDevitt (3)||6-||2-||0||0.662383||0.761905||0.540746||6.40||74.65||2.00||63.40|
|8||Eastern Lebanon County||8-||4-||0||0.626766||0.690476||0.548898||8.70||102.15||3.90||83.95|