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BY JEFF FALK

WRIGHTSVILLE – The clock was running down and the outcome had already been decided, and the starters were still out on the floor. But instead of simply going through the motions, they continued to battle, dive for loose balls, put forth everything they had left.

It was symbolic, fitting and inspirational. Right before our very eyes, the final scene was epitomizing the kind of season the Elco girls’ basketball team had had.

On Friday night at Eastern York High School, in the quarterfinals of the District Three Class AAAA playoffs, the Raiders met their fate, during a campaign-concluding 51-36 loss to the hometown Golden Knights. After falling behind in what would prove to be a decisive second quarter, Elco made a couple of spirited runs at Eastern York, with the kind of consistent effort that had come to represent its season.

With the result, the seventh-seeded Raiders ended their COVID-19 clouded year with a 13-8 overall record. For second-seeded Eastern York, now 18-1, it was on to Wednesday’s District Three Class AAAA semifinals.

“I’ve got to be honest, with 35 seconds left, I thought it was a single-digit game,” said Elco head coach Ashli Shay. “It was an exciting game, and at that point, I let the starters finish. I think they earned that.

“This year was so different than any other year we’ve ever had,” continued Shay. “But these kids were able to get it together and come together on the floor. It was those self-less acts on their part that got us through the season. When you have a team that’s willing to battle every single day, that’s special. They played to the very last seconds tonight. Effort is so key. As a coach, it’s all you can really ask for.”

Following a bit of a shaky start that produced an early 8-2 deficit, the Raiders responded by netting the final eight points of the opening period. Amanda Smith was responsible for five of those Elco points, while Kailey Eckhart converted a diving lay-up and Cassie Johnson sank a free throw.

“The trap is what killed us in the second quarter,” said Shay. “We went into that quarter with three turnovers and we came out of it with 11. I think that changed the tone of the game. The trap rattled us in the second quarter. At that point, you lose your legs a little bit, and fatigue begins to set in.”

With Elco struggling to maintain possession of the ball, Eastern York posted the first six points of the second stanza, then opened a 22-13 advantage two minutes later. The only saving grace for Elco was Eckhart’s old-fashioned three-point play right before halftime, which pulled the Raiders to within 27-21 of the lead.

“The message at halftime was, ‘We’re down six points and we just turned the ball over eight times,'” said Shay. “We were right there. We missed a couple of lay-ups we usually make.”

With Smith registering 17 points and Eckhart recording 14, the two combined to account for 31 of the Raiders’ total of 36 points. Eastern York outscored Elco 12-3 from three-point land.

“Those two finished,” said Shay of Smith and Eckhart. “They had some nice finishes. I don’t think anyone cares where the points come from, as long as you’re getting them.”

The Golden Knights came out of the halftime locker room and scored the first five points of the third quarter to extend their lead to 32-21. A pair of Smith drives halted Eastern York’s momentum momentarily, but the home side entered the final quarter with a 39-28 cushion.

“They (the Golden Knights) have some really good shooters, and overall I think we played them pretty well,” said Shay. “But in the end, I think we were down and they scored some points on offensive boards.

“I just told them (her players) that I was very proud of them,” added Shay. “I thought they gave great effort the whole season. To accomplish all the things we accomplished, and to win 13 games against a tough and loaded schedule – including this last game against Eastern York – was impressive.”

Behind Eckart and Smith, the Raiders drew within 41-36 of Eastern York, with 3:09 remaining. But the Golden Knights scored the last ten points of the contest.

“It was a little somber in the locker room after the game,” said Shay. “Obviously, the seniors are sad and disappointed. Emma Fox was crying, just because the seniors are done. These kids have a nice bond. They care deeply for each other.

“I think what I’ll remember is how much COVID-19 affected the season, just with the stops and starts, and how the kids pulled through,” concluded Shay. “I think in some people’s minds it was like, ‘When’s the next shutdown going to come?’ After we got some game action, it started to feel like a regular season. People say kids are resilient, and it’s true. They did their part and they made sure we could stay on course.”

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

2021 Elco Girls’ Basketball Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
1/08
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Elco
46
43

League
1/11
7:30 pm
Pottsville
at Elco
35
48

Nonleague
1/13
7:30 pm
Fleetwood
at Elco
34
52

Nonleague
1/15
7:30 pm
Elco
at Donegal
55
33

League
1/19
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
39
26

League
1/23
1:30 pm
Lower Dauphin
at Elco
59
42

Nonleague
1/29
7:30 pm
Susquehanna Township
at Elco
57
47

Nonleague
1/30
1:30 pm
Elco
at Hamburg
45
28

Nonleague
2/03
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
36
51

League
2/04
7:30 pm
Elco
at Conrad Weiser
46
37

Nonleague
2/05
7:00 pm
Linden Hall
at Elco
34
23

Nonleague
2/09
7:30 pm
Elco
at Wyomissing
44
21

Nonleague
2/10
7:30 pm
Garden Spot
at Elco
34
48

Nonleague
2/12
7:30 pm
Cocalico
at Elco
49
46

Nonleague
2/13
1:30 pm
Donegal
at Elco
31
57

League
2/16
7:00 pm
Elco
at Manheim Central
54
53

Nonleague
2/20
1:00 pm
Elco
at Lampeter-Strasburg
53
42

Nonleague
2/22
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
40
55

League
2/24
7:30 pm
Solanco
at Elco
45
41

Nonleague
3/03
7:00 pm
SCHUYLKILL VALLEY
at Elco
34
53

Playoff
3/05
7:00 pm
Elco
at Eastern York

Playoff

PIAA District Three

Class AAAA Power Rankings

AAAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1Delone Catholic16-0-0 0.788971 1.000000 0.531046 16.00 146.25 0.00 129.15
2Eastern York16-1-0 0.763577 0.953930 0.530923 17.60 154.95 0.85 136.90
3Lancaster Catholic10-2-0 0.743590 0.854839 0.607620 10.60 122.80 1.80 79.30
4Berks Catholic15-3-0 0.718890 0.875000 0.528090 17.15 162.15 2.45 144.90
5Big Spring14-3-0 0.696387 0.856338 0.500892 15.20 140.40 2.55 139.90
6Bishop McDevitt (3)14-4-0 0.666055 0.788360 0.516572 14.90 141.05 4.00 132.00
7Eastern Lebanon County12-7-0 0.628640 0.670025 0.578058 13.30 176.25 6.55 128.65
8Bermudian Springs12-5-0 0.626983 0.719764 0.513584 12.20 148.40 4.75 140.55
9Wyomissing10-5-0 0.617617 0.675410 0.546981 10.30 144.95 4.95 120.05
10Schuylkill Valley11-7-0 0.551618 0.631148 0.454415 11.55 142.05 6.75 170.55
11James Buchanan8-9-0 0.538765 0.516517 0.565957 8.60 152.95 8.05 117.30
12Northern Lebanon9-8-0 0.532583 0.568513 0.488669 9.75 138.00 7.40 144.40
13Susquehanna Township8-7-0 0.532087 0.557491 0.501036 8.00 120.85 6.35 120.35
14Hamburg11-10-0 0.509477 0.529114 0.485477 10.45 183.85 9.30 194.85
15Conrad Weiser7-12-0 0.494745 0.441734 0.559536 8.15 190.55 10.30 150.00
16Hanover (3)9-9-0 0.487646 0.508152 0.462583 9.35 139.70 9.05 162.30
17Middletown2-10-0 0.362787 0.161017 0.609394 1.90 125.20 9.90 80.25
18Littlestown3-14-0 0.352837 0.194030 0.546935 3.25 157.90 13.50 130.80
19East Pennsboro3-15-0 0.343361 0.158960 0.568740 2.75 158.65 14.55 120.30
20Kennard Dale2-16-0 0.325525 0.111801 0.586744 1.80 182.80 14.30 128.75
21Boiling Springs0-15-0 0.274169 0.000000 0.609265 0.00 155.85 13.25 99.95
22Octorara0-14-0 0.193014 0.000000 0.428920 0.00 96.55 14.50 128.55

Lancaster-Lebanon League

Final Section Four Standings

LeagueOverall
WLPCTWLPCTPSPA
Lancaster Catholic601.0001130.786674519
Elco420.6671370.650929789
Northern Lebanon240.333980.529679631
Donegal060.0001140.067464806

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