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IMG_6028BY JEFF FALK

NEFFSVILLE – You don’t win championships in March.

You win them in the summer months, when all your friends are off together doing something else.

You win them in the early morning hours of December, when you’d give anything to stay in bed.

You win them in the late evening hours of January, when you still have the next-day’s homework to do.

You win them on rainy February nights, playing against tough competition from bigger schools.

IMG_5884On Thursday night at Manheim Township High School, the Lebanon Catholic girls’ basketball team fell to Lancaster Catholic 59-49, in a Lancaster-Lebanon League championship game that can only serve the Beavers well going forward. After Lebanon Catholic played one of its most inspired first halves of the season, in opening a double-digit advantage, the Crusaders stole the momentum away from it and outscored the Beavers 19-5 in the third quarter.

Not only did the result concluded a spirited run in the L-L League postseason for the Beavers, it served as their final preparation for what they hope will be an extended push in the District Three and PIAA Class A postseasons. Lebanon Catholic’s last appearance in the L-L League championship game came in 2000 and its last circuit crown came in 1981.

As the top-seed and defending champions, the now 19-6 Beavers will open District Three play on Friday, February 23rd at home, against either Greenwood or Linville Hill Christian.

For now 24-0 Lancaster Catholic, the number-one seeded District Three Class AAAA club, it was its league-record 13th L-L title.

IMG_5988The Crusaders were also the champions of Section Three, thanks in part to two previous victories over Lebanon Catholic – 53-35 in Lancaster on January 9th and 65-52 on Assumption Hill on February 2nd.

“I’d rather win a state championship, absolutely,” said Lebanon Catholic head coach Patti Hower, who has three of the former and one of the latter. “I’ts (the league playoffs) important to them (her players). But I can move on a little quicker. To us, this is a bonus. If this is a district championship and we lost, I wouldn’t be in this mood. We came into this with nothing to lose. That’s (defending their state championship) kind of on the back-burner. We’re focused on the district championship first.

“This experience can not be replaced,” continued Hower. “That has to help. They’ve (the Crusaders) got a really nice team. Now we’re getting ready for what we’ve waited for. That’s our focus right now.”

Following a bit of a chess match in the first half – one in which Lancaster Catholic star Kiki Jefferson was confined to the bench for the entire second quarter by two personal fouls, and Lebanon Catholic franchise Alexis Hill played almost the entire period with three fouls – the Crusaders asserted themselves right after the break.

With a fresh Jefferson leading the way. the Crusaders overwhelmed the Beavers with a 17-2 run that turned Lebanon Catholic’s four-point halftime lead into a 45-34 deficit. Lebanon Catholic would get a Hill inside move and a Jasmine Turner free throw to stop the bleeding, but the damage had been done.

“I could see their (the Cruaders’) confidence growing and we were timid,” said Hower. “They finished the job. They got us out of our rhythm. We were just happy to be here.

“We had three possessions where we didn’t get a shot off,” added Hower. “They (the Crusaders) picked up their intensity. Once they got the lead, they were a different team.  But we battled to the end.”

Lancaster Catholic spent the entire fourth quarter holding the Beavers at bay.

Lebanon Catholic pulled to within 53-45, with 4:39 remaining, on a Taylor Bossert lay-in, but Hill fouled out a minute later. The Beavers managed just a Neesha Pierre free throw over the final 2:44.

IMG_6099“We’ve got to take our chances,” said Hower of Hill, who was whistled for three first-quarter fouls. “We didn’t back down at all. We attacked and we finished. Then we started to go a little too fast, and took some bad shots.

“It was too hard to make adjustments with foul trouble,” Hower continued, “so we went zone. Then we went back to man- (to-man).”

Despite her limited playing time, Jefferson finished with a game-high 17 points, but Lancaster Catholic also got 16 from Cassie Peris. Hill recorded 16 points for Lebanon Catholic.

The Crusaders outscored the Beavers 42-32 on two-point field goals. Lebanon Catholic made only eight of its 17 foul shots.

“They both are the best players in the league,” said Hower of Hill and Jefferson. “They both do different things well. Jefferson has a little more around her. I wouldn’t want to pick which one is better, but if I had to pick one, I’d pick mine.

IMG_5954“We told them (her players), ‘Let’s be smiling out there,” Hower added. ” ‘Let’s play hard’. We were in the game because we are the second-best team in the league. But they’re a notch above us.”

The Beavers had the Crusaders on their heels at the start.

Lebanon Catholic notched the first five points of the game – on a lay-up from Pierre and a three-pointer by Jayden Shellehamer – and led 17-8 near the end of the opening stanza, on a stick-back by Hill. That lead reached 24-14 early in the second period, courtesy of a coast-to-coast drive by Hill.

“We gave them our best shot,” said Hower. “We let that ten-point lead slip away too quickly. Lancaster Catholic’s confidence grew when they took the lead.

“We ran out of gas a little bit,” continued Hower. “We beat the Section One champs, we beat the Section Two champs and we gave the Section Three champs a good battle. We just couldn’t finish the job.”

IMG_6039The Beavers led by nine, at 30-21, with 2:28 left in the second stanza, thanks to a lay-in from Taylor Bossert. But Lancaster Catholic ended the first half on an 7-2 flurry.

“No it wasn’t,” said Hower, when asked if the contest was similar to the first two with Lancaster Catholic. “Because the first two we dug a hole in the first quarter. This was probably our best performance against them. I said, ‘We can not get off to a bad start’. And we got off to a really good start.”

 

 

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IMG_6126To 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 Schedule

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
29
38
2/15
7:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
Lebanon Catholic
at Manheim Township
2/23
7:00 pm
TBD
at Lebanon Catholic
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IMG_5928PIAA 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_6075Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Three Standings

League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT PF PA
Lancaster Catholic 14 0 100.00 24 0 100.00 1486 854
Northern Lebanon 11 3 78.57 18 5 78.26 1073 877
Lebanon Catholic 11 3 78.57 19 6 76.00 1527 1089
Pequea Valley 7 7 50.00 12 10 54.55 1320 1161
Elco 6 8 42.86 11 11 50.00 1023 984
Columbia 3 11 21.43 7 15 31.82 924 1189
Lancaster Mennonite 3 11 21.43 7 15 31.82 996 1240
Annville-Cleona 1 13 7.14 4 18 18.18 639 972

 

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Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Championship Game

 (at Manheim Township High School)

Lancaster Catholic 59, Lebanon Catholic 49

Lebanon Catholic (49)

Hill 8 0-0 16, Pierre 2 4-7 8, Turner 3 1-4 9, Mars 3 1-4 7, Shellehamer 1 0-0 3, Bossert 2 2-2 6. Totals: 19 8-17 49.

Lancaster Catholic (59)

Jefferson 7 3-6 17, Mills 4 0-0 9, Peris 8 0-1 16, Jaquis 3 1-2 8, Turner 1 0-0 2, Cannon 1 3-4 5, Misel 1 0-0 2. Totals: 25 7-13 59.

Lebanon Catholic 17 15 5 12 – 49

Lancaster Catholic 10 18 19 12 – 59

3-pointers: Lebanon Catholic – Turner 2, Shellehamer, Lancaster Catholic – Jaquis, Mills.

 

 

 

 

 

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