Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Widener outlasts Jays' late surge Persiano leads Pride to 75-69 victory Widener 75, Elizabethtown 69 BY KEVIN FREEMAN, Sports Writer
Elizabethtown's scouting report for Widener did not point to the Pride's Joanna Persiano as someone who was going to do much damage.
True, she had made 36 threes this season but was averaging 7.2 points per game off the bench.
Persiano's four treys in the span of 5:30 midway through the second half were the keys to turning a 41-41 game into a 59-46 lead for Widener, which went on to defeat E-town 75-69 in Commonwealth Conference women's basketball Wednesday night at Thompson Gym.
Persiano, a junior guard, finished with a team-high 14 points to pace the Pride (13-2 conference, 18-4 overall), who placed four players in double figures and withstood a late surge by the Blue Jays (8-7, 11-10).
Hempfield grad Kendra Beittel finished with a season-high 24 points on 10-for-17 shooting to lead E-town. Beittel's three straight buckets, including two of her four 3s in the game, came late in the first half to give the Blue Jays a 34-31 lead at the break.
Beittel hit a jumper with 14:16 to play in the second half, putting E-town up 41-38. But that's when Persiano started to feel it. She hit two in a row, airballed the next one and hit two more amid a 21-5 Pride run.
"I was just trying to score,'' said Persiano, who celebrates her 21st birthday today. "When I start hitting a couple, it kind of flows.''
"(Persiano) wasn't necessarily the one we thought would be shooting for them,'' Beittel said. "But it was on our end to adjust and we only did a little bit.''
E-town coach Sherri Gorman said when someone comes off the bench and has a hot night, it can be difficult to adjust.
"There were certain people we wanted certain matchups on and she wasn't one of those players,'' Gorman said. "She was coming off the screen pretty well and had a quick release.''
A lead like Widener's might have sunk E-town earlier in the season, but not anymore. After Widener took a 65-53 lead with 6:07 to go, the Blue Jays reeled off an 8-0 run to narrow the gap to 65-61 with 4:02 left. Then with 1:25 to go, Widener's lead was down to three after a Taylor Kreider (18 points, six boards) layup. But Widener went 7 for 8 at the foul line down the stretch to hold off the Jays.
Free throws were a struggle for E-town, which went 4 of 14 from the line.
The Blue Jays don't count moral victories but there's something to be said for playing tough against a team tied for second in the conference.
"It stinks every time we come up short,'' Beittel said. "But every game where we're that close to winning, we're improving.''
The Blue Jays are fourth in the conference, which represents the last playoff berth. They have three games to play and defeated each of those opponents (Hood, Stevenson and Albright) the first time they met.
"We need to be diligent and bring the same effort and energy every time we step on the court,'' Gorman said. "We're working on keeping that consistency night in and night out.''
WIDENER (18-4, 13-2 CC)
Persiano 5-12 0-0 14, Egee 5-12 2-2 13, Carney 1-10 9-10 12, Dellinger 5-9 1-4 12,Colella 4-4 0-0 8, Lee 4-7 0-0 8, Ferrucci 2-7 2-2 6, Hejnas 1-6 0-1 2. Totals 27-67 14-19 75.
ELIZABETHTOWN (11-10, 8-7 CC)
Beittel 10-17 0-0 24, Kreider 8-16 2-11 18, Aichele 4-7 0-0 9, Forjan 2-8 2-2 6, Alwine 3-5 0-0 6; Yunginger 2-7 0-1 4; Santor 1-2 0-0 2; Ferro 0-0 0-0 0; Fogel 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 30-64 4-14 69.
Halftime--E-town 34-31. 3-point goals -- W 7-18 (Persiano 4-8; Dellinger 1-1; Carney 1-5; Egee 1-4), E 5-15 (Beittel 4-7; Aichele 1-1; Forjan 0-2; Yunginger 0-3; Santor 0-1; Fogel 0-1). Fouled out --E, Yunginger. Rebounds --W 46 (Dellinger 11), E 33 (Aichele 8). Assists -- W 18 (Ferrucci 6; Carney 6), E 15 (Yunginger 5). Total fouls-- W 15, E 15.