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IMG_2889BY JEFF FALK

PALMYRA – The Palmyra girls’ basketball team knows about it. It has has heard about it. It’s familiar with the concept

But to truly know losing, one has to experience it.

On Friday night at home, the Cougars once again collectively snubbed their noses at the concept by dissecting rival Lower Dauphin 48-35. Palmyra outscored the Falcons 25-6 during a devastating 11-minute stretch from the beginning of the second quarter to midway through the third, to turn a 14-10 edge into a 39-16 bulge.

IMG_2892The non-loss was the Cougars’ 12th straight to start the season and lifted it to 7-0 in the Keystone Division of the Mid-Penn Conference. Palmyra, which is currently ranked as the top Class AAAA club in District Three, hasn’t lost since March of 2014, in the semifinals of the PIAA Class AAA tournament.

Over the last four seasons, the Cougars have now compiled an 89-11 overall mark.

With the loss, Lower Dauphin slipped to 8-5 on the season and 3-4 in the Keystone Division.

IMG_2863“People talk about losing,” said Palmyra head coach Ron Berman. “I don’t see any benefit in losing. I don’t think we’d get anything out of it. We’re good. There’s not too many teams who are as athletic as us and who are going to play harder than us. We have some categories we’re working on. At the end of the year, we’ll see how good we are.

“They (his players) love to compete,” Berman continued. “They’re fierce competitors. I probably haven’t had a team that likes to compete as much. Sometimes we need to calm them down rather than gear them up. Two years ago, when we had that amazing run, we had three or four really good basketball players, and we brought athletes off the bench. Now those athletes are experienced.”

The Cougars caused separation in the middle of the game with their full court, man-to-man pressure defense that created Falcon turnovers and hurried LD shots.

Up four, Palmyra held the Falcons without a point for the initial 6:16 of the second quarter and opened a 25-10 advantage. Palmyra’s 11 unanswered points were the result of three Molly Gundermann buckets, a conversion of an inbound play by Kristen Smoluk, a base line drive from Katy McClellan and a Maria Tukis charity toss.

IMG_2953“I thought we played great,” said Berman. “When we play Lower Dauphin, it doesn’t look pretty. In my opinion, when Palmyra and Lower Dauphin play, it’s the two best defensive teams in the Mid-Penn Conference, over the last ten years. Both teams are always in the top five defensively. Every possession is a war. From that point of view, we got that little run in the second quarter.”

Palmyra also notched the first nine points, over the initial 4:03 of the second half. Katie Dembrowski drained a three-pointer, McClellan took it strong to the cup, Smoluk nailed a pair of technical foul shots and when Dembrowski converted a back-door cut into a deuce, the Cougars had themselves a 23-point lead.

IMG_2767“The season is going very well,” said Berman. “And I’m actually not basing that on our record. I have five seniors who give me 100 percent, almost all the time. Sometimes I have to light a fire under them, but it’s a joy coming to practice.”

Senior point Katie D. paced the Cougars’ balanced scoring attack with 11 points. McClellan contributed ten points to the Palmyra cause, as did Gundermann.

Palmyra limited the Falcons to 13 two-point field goals, a trey and ten free throw attempts.

“I start every game with a plan,” said Berman of his substitution rotation. “I know what I want to do and when I want to do it. Now fouls can mess it up, game conditions can change that. And sometimes it’s based on what the team can do.”

IMG_2765The Cougars did experience a bit of a hiccup late in the third quarter, when it went seven minutes with a point and the Falcons climbed to within 39-26, early in the fourth. But seniors Tukis and McClellan stemmed the tide with an old-fashioned three-point play and a lay-in, respectively.

It wasn’t too long after that that Palmyra went to a deliberate, ball-control offense to run down the clock.

“I didn’t do a good job of coaching in the second half,” said Berman. “When I critique the game, I’m not going to give myself a favorable review. I went too long with my first five. It turned out OK, but I should’ve stuck to my substitution patterns.”

IMG_2790Palmyra never trailed after opening an early 7-4 lead. And courtesy of a steal and lay-in from Tukis and a Josie Stovall three-pointer, the Cougars carried the momentum into the second stanza.

“Obviously if we can win that game, we can give ourselves a two-game lead in the division,” said Berman of Tuesday’s impending showdown with Mechanicsburg at home. “It’s going to be a great game. They’re (the Wildcats) a lot more physical than us.

“I always tell the girls, ‘You never play Lower Dauphin when it’s not going to be a battle’,” added Berman. “This allows us to go into Tuesday’s game with a one-game cushion. To me, that’s the most important thing about tonight. The more separation you can get, the better.”

 

Lower Dauphin (35)

PLAYER FGM FTM FTA 3PM PTS_TOT FT%
Jennifer Abraham 1 2 2 4 1
Morgan Bitting 3 2 3 8 0.667
Livi Friedrich 0 0 0 0 0
Leah Gamber 0 0 0 0 0
Sarah Gibbs 0 2 2 2 1
Brianna Hofsass 0 0 0 0 0
Alex Leader 3 0 3 6 0
Candace Means 1 0 0 2 0
Halle O’Neill 0 0 0 0 0
Madison O’Neill 1 0 0 2 0
Amber Schweiger 5 0 0 1 11 0

IMG_2760Palmyra (48)

PLAYER FGM FTM FTA 3PM PTS_TOT FT%
Katie Dembrowski 4 1 2 2 11 0.5
Molly Gundermann 5 0 0 10 0
Katy McClellan 3 4 4 10 1
Kristen Smoluk 2 2 2 6 1
Josie Stovall 1 0 0 1 3 0
Riley Stovall 0 1 3 1 0.333
Maria Tukis 2 3 5 7 0.6
Kailey Werkheiser 0 0 0 0 0

 

  • Team 1 2 3 4 Final
    Lower Dauphin
    10 6 8 11 35
    Palmyra
    14 16 9 9 48
 IMG_2984Mid-Penn Conference
 Keystone Division Standings
TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL
Palmyra 7-0 12-0
Mechanicsburg 6-1 12-1
Red Land 5-2 11-3
Cedar Cliff 3-4 9-5
Lower Dauphin 3-4 8-5
Bishop McDevitt 3-4 5-5
Hershey 1-6 5-6
Susquehanna Twp. 0-7 1-12

Palmyra 2014-15 Results

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/05
Dover
5:30 PM W 68-38
12/06
@Northern Lebanon
7:00 PM W 64-26
12/09 *
@Mechanicsburg
7:30 PM W 44-39
12/10
Hempfield
7:30 PM W 52-43
12/12 *
Red Land
7:30 PM W 52-41
12/16 *
@Hershey
7:30 PM W 43-27
12/19 *
Susquehanna Twp.
7:30 PM W 66-37
12/23 *
@Cedar Cliff
7:30 PM W 64-40
12/29 #
@McCaskey
2:00 PM W 53-38
12/30 #
@Ephrata
6:00 PM W 45-39
01/06 *
@Bishop McDevitt
7:30 PM W 68-35
01/09 *
Lower Dauphin
7:30 PM W 48-35

IMG_2966District Three

 Class AAAA Power Rankings

AAAA School W L T Rating

1 Palmyra Area 10 0 0 .867997
2 Central Dauphin East 9 0 0 .798964
3 Mechanicsburg Area 10 1 0 .794992
4 Red Lion Area 9 2 0 .789838
5 New Oxford 8 1 0 .782233
6 Dallastown Area 8 2 0 .776491
7 Cumberland Valley 8 1 0 .767168
8 Red Land 9 3 0 .757561
9 Hempfield 8 3 0 .750171
10 Lower Dauphin 8 3 0 .743894
11 Cedar Crest 7 3 0 .736595
12 Governor Mifflin 8 3 0 .728832
13 J P McCaskey 7 3 0 .719373
14 Lebanon 8 3 0 .707853
IMG_294615 Central York 7 3 0 .699444
16 Harrisburg 5 3 0 .686738
17 Cedar Cliff 6 5 0 .670615
18 Cocalico 6 3 0 .670119
19 Ephrata Area 7 4 0 .668033
20 Hershey 5 4 0 .665019
21 Exeter Township 6 4 0 .664829
22 York Country Day School 7 2 0 .624350
23 Manheim Township 5 6 0 .619801
24 Daniel Boone 5 5 0 .618119
25 Muhlenberg 4 5 0 .596400
26 Penn Manor 5 6 0 .592270
IMG_285627 Central Dauphin 3 4 0 .588736
28 Wilson Senior 3 6 0 .545549
29 Warwick 4 7 0 .541957
30 South Western 3 6 0 .515267
31 Conestoga Valley 4 7 0 .497678
32 Chambersburg Area 2 7 0 .483432
33 Elizabethtown Area 3 8 0 .464287
34 Reading 2 8 0 .463046
35 Waynesboro Area 3 6 0 .451394
36 Shippensburg Area 2 6 0 .433427
37 William Penn 2 9 0 .418917
38 Solanco 2 9 0 .389080
IMG_290039 Spring Grove Area 1 8 0 .385529
40 Carlisle 0 10 0 .275505
41 Garden Spot 0 11 0 .262795

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