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 BY JEFF FALK

 POTTSVILLE – The Elco girls’ basketball team doesn’t particularly care for the term ‘overachieve’. It suggests that the Raiders put some sort of stock in expectations – be it their own or someone else’s.

 What the Raiders did this season was get the absolute most out of their collective abilities. Every single bit of it.

 On Wednesday evening at Pottsville’s Martz Hall, Elco’s rewarding and meaningful campaign reached a conclusion, during a 51-41 loss to Danville, in the second round of the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs. The Raiders fell behind early, and although they made a couple of spirited runs at Danville, they could never make the Ironmen effectively uncomfortable.

 One of the most successful seasons in the history of Elco girls’ basketball ended at 22-8. A round earlier, Elco, the fourth-place finisher out of District Three, had made its first state playoff appearance in 15 years and had posted its first PIAA postseason triumph since 1998.

 The outcome moved Danville, the District Four runner-up, to 24-4 and into Saturday’s quarterfinal round of the state postseason.

 “The bottom line is these kids are really coach-able,” said Elco head coach Ashli Shay, of a group that was predominantly soccer-oriented. “From Day One, they came to practice and they came to work. What really helps is when you get along, and you play for the team, and not for yourself. This team was so self-less. I’ll take that any day, over a basketball-talented group which plays selfish. I believe that is why we were so successful this season.

 “I would suppose that in the games we played really well, we defended well and rebounded well,” continued Shay. “It’s hard to count the Lancaster Catholic games, but that’s the common theme. In the games we didn’t win, it was inconsistent defense and rebounding. But at the end of the day, they’ve (her players) done everything we’ve asked of them. The seniors certainly left their legacy.”

 Elco trailed by nine points at the break, and 32-19 early in the second half. But on the strength of four points from senior Ryelle Shuey, a drive by senior Julia Nelson and a couple of charity tosses from Amanda Smith, the Raiders broke off an 8-0 spurt to close to within 32-27 of the lead.

 Danville’s answer was a 10-3 burst, one which gave the Ironmen a 42-30 advantage heading to the fourth quarter.

 “We never got over the hump,” said Shay. “Once we got it (the deficit) to five, I thought we had a chance. It was missed opportunities, missed lay-ups and missed foul shots. That hurt.

 “I thought we looked tired,” added Shay. “We’ve been trying really hard not to kill them (her players) in practice. Their (the Ironmen’s) size wore us down a little bit. We ran out of gas a little bit.”

  The Raiders also had an opportunity to close the gap in the fourth quarter, when they held Danville without a point for the first 5:50 of the period. But all Elco could manage offensively during that time was a Smith bucket and a Jordan Rosengrant jumper.

 With less than two minutes to play, the Raiders were still down double digits.

 “I thought it was an interesting match-up,” said Shay. “Our biggest concern was rebounding. They (the Ironmen) had significant size advantages at a lot of different positions. We thought it was a very win-able game. It just didn’t work out. You’d kind of like to play them again.

 “We played from behind so many times this year,” Shay added. “We felt comfortable. Then they (the Ironmen) would hit a big shot.”

 Nelson led the Raiders in scoring by tallying 12 of her team-high 14 points in the first half. Elco made good on eight of its 18 free throw attempts.

 Danville was led by Corinna Petrus and Linae Williams, who each recorded 17 points.

  “Obviously they’re disappointed,” said Shay of her charges. “But at the end of the day, we couldn’t be prouder of these kids. That’s what they’ve done all year. We’ve been blessed to coach these kids. They exceeded a lot of expectations, everyone’s but our own.

 “If you would’ve told me at the beginning of the season we’d go 22-8 and make it to the second round of states, I would’ve said, ‘Alright’,” Shay added.

  The Raiders’ brightest moments came in the first half, and in the opening quarter, specifically.

  A Nelson three-pointer and an inside move from Shuey staked Elco to an 8-7 edge, 6:28 into the contest. And when Nelson nailed a buzzer-beating floater at the end of the opening period, the Raiders had themselves a 12-9 advantage.

 “We had a couple of possessions in-a-row where we turned the ball over,” said Shay. “It’s always easy to shoot when you’re winning. They (the Ironmen) knocked down some really tough shots. They played hard, but I think their size hurt us. We felt like we had to start in a zone (defense) because of their size.”

 Things began to go south for Elco in the second stanza, and it came in the form of the 5:20 scoring drought the Raiders began the quarter with. A couple of charity tosses from Smith ended the skein, but by that time Danville had established a 20-12 cushion.

 The half ended with the Ironmen ahead 28-19.

 “The message at halftime was, ‘We need to defend and rebound,'” said Shay. “They were killing us on the boards. We wanted to be more aggressive. We were still in the game. We felt like momentum was swinging our way.”

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018-19 Elco Girls’ Basketball Results

 
 
Date Opponents Outcomes  
12/07
6:00 pm
Susquehanna Township
Elco
at Middletown Tip-Off Tournament
22
46
 
12/08
7:30 pm
Elco
Middletown
at Middletown Tip-Off Tournament
46
55
 
12/11
7:30 pm
Fleetwood
at Elco
24
34
 
12/14
7:30 pm
Cocalico
at Elco
39
57
 
12/17
7:30 pm
Elco
at Manheim Central
49
33
 
12/19
7:30 pm
Solanco
at Elco
39
40
 
12/21
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lampeter-Strasburg
32
39
 
12/27
4:30 pm
Elco
Pine Grove
at Pine Grove Holiday Tournament
47
30
 
12/28
6:00 pm
Elco
Kennett
at Pine Grove Holiday Tournament
43
36
 
1/04
7:00 pm
Octorara
at Elco
12
75
 
1/08
7:30 pm
Elco
at Donegal
63
59
 
1/11
6:00 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
31
19
 
1/12
2:30 pm
Elco
at Lebanon
51
28
 
1/15
7:30 pm
Elco
at York Catholic
51
46
 
1/18
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Elco
68
44
 
1/22
7:00 pm
Elco
at Octorara
68
13
 
1/25
7:30 pm
Donegal
at Elco
59
78
 
1/26
6:30 pm
Elco
at Oley Valley
50
27
 
2/01
7:30 pm
Garden Spot
at Elco
38
54
 
2/02
1:00 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
49
26
 
2/05
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
31
67
 
2/07
6:00 pm
Elco
Ephrata
at Garden Spot
61
44
 
2/09
7:00 pm
Elco
at Solanco
55
38
 
2/13
7:30 pm
Elco
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
36
34
 
2/15
7:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
Elco
at Manheim Township
66
42
 
2/22
7:00 pm
Eastern York
at Elco
42
46
 
2/26
7:00 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
24
45
 
2/28
7:00 pm
Elco
at Kennard-Dale
44
58
 
3/09
4:30 pm
Elco
Scranton Prep
at Marywood University
48
39
 
3/13
5:00 pm
Elco
Danville
at Martz Hall, Pottsville
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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