Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Blue Streaks come up big, rout A-C
BY JASON FULGINITI, Sports Writer
For Annville-Cleona's girls' basketball team, it was the perfect storm.
It started Monday night, when junior guard Alex Siebecker -- the Little Dutchmen's leading scorer at 13.8 points per game -- sprained her ankle in practice, sidelining her for a few days.
Not exactly good news for a team that was already an underdog heading into Tuesday night's Lancaster-Lebanon quarterfinal with Section One champion Manheim Township.
And then came this:
"That's probably the best game we played all year," Manheim Township coach Sean Burkhart said following Tuesday's contest. "Which is something you want to be able to say this time of year."
The end result for the Blue Streaks was a 62-21 thrashing of Annville in Neffsville -- a victory that puts Township (20-2) in Thursday's semifinals opposite Section Three champion Lampeter-Strasburg (21-1), which advanced with a 53-42 victory over Section Two runner-up Cocalico Tuesday night.
Thursday's game is set for 7 p.m. at Conestoga Valley.
As usual, Township did its damage Tuesday night with its "bigs."
Junior Kaitlyn VanTash, a 6-foot reserve forward, led all scorers with 14 points, while 6-2 junior forward Alexandra Leslie and 5-10 senior forward Alex Ross both chipped in 13.
"We were letting them catch it in the paint, we didn't box out, giving up second shots ... " Annville coach Jaime Walborn said. "They took it to us in the paint."
Due largely to their success from close range, the Streaks finished 28 for 51 (54.9 percent) from the floor as a team.
As for the secret to Township's interior success, VanTash said there really isn't one.
"I think it does just happen," she said. "We all mesh well together."
A point that was obvious from the beginning Tuesday, when Township shot 10 for 13 from the floor to take a commanding 21-6 lead.
Meanwhile, shackled by the Streaks' defense, which VanTash said "has been really good," the Section Four runner-up Dutchmen (14-9) connected on just three of their 14 shots in the first half, leaving them in a 33-9 hole at the break.
Annville's lone field goal -- and its only points -- in the second quarter came on Kayla Parks' 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:00 left before halftime.
Getting seven points from Leslie and four from Ross in the third period, Township jacked its lead to 50-13 with a quarter left to play.
By that point, the Streaks could focus on the next task, Lampeter-Strasburg, whose only loss this season was to undefeated Lancaster Catholic (23-0) -- a team that edged Township 53-49 in last year's L-L semifinals.
Should it get past L-S Thursday, Township could meet Catholic in Saturday's 1 p.m. final.
But, first things first.
"As a coach, this group has been good about (not looking past the next game)," Burkhart said. "They know what they have to do to get where they want to get.
"They understand that, at this time of year, you can't take nights off or you're done."