For the first time in program history, Pequea Valley is heading to the PIAA girls basketball playoffs.
The Braves continued their spirited postseason run on Tuesday night with a resounding 61-32 win over Hanover in a District Three Class 3A quarterfinal before a packed house in Kinzers.
Up next for PV is a trip to the district semifinals on Friday at reigning champ Trinity, the No. 2 seed. The Braves, seeded third, improved to 21-6 after reaching the L-L League finals last week.
“It’s awesome,” PV coach Jason McDonald said. “This was our goal from the get-go. (Making states) has eluded us here the last years. Our goal was to get to the district semis and to states.”
Check and check.
“It’s a big accomplishment,” PV senior Bethany Bills said. “This is something we’ve wanted to do for four years now, so it’s great. It’s even better to do it with this group of girls.”
The L-L League’s other link to the Class 3A bracket, Lancaster Mennonite, saw its season come to a halt on Tuesday, when the Blazers dropped a 68-52 decision at Susquenita.
In fact, PV was the only L-L League team to earn a victory on Tuesday; Solanco, Elizabethtown and Manheim Central all fell in the Class 5A bracket, and saw their seasons come to a close.
But the Braves will push on, after never letting Hanover up for air. PV raced out to a 15-3 first-quarter lead, and led by 12 after Abbey Leslie buried a deep trey with time running out in the opening eight minutes.
PV, which feasted on 28 turnovers and won the rebounding battle 38-31, stretched its lead to 27-10 at the half when Bills hit a runner in the lane to beat the second-quarter horn.
Hanover (11-12) scored the first two buckets of the third quarter, but the Braves answered with a 12-0 knockout-punch blitz for a safe and sound 51-21 lead.
Caroline Horst had 18 points and six rebounds, Leslie canned four 3-pointers and added 12 points, and Rebecca Cox had 10 points seven boards for PV, including six first-quarter points in the paint to get the Braves rolling.
“It’s been amazing,” Bills said. “We have a lot of confidence as a team right now. We’re really shining right now — all of us. All of our hard work is paying off.”
“This group is fun,” McDonald added. “They love each other and they play so hard. It’s like a big family, and they play for each other. It’s been a fun ride.”
A ride that will continue into the state playoffs for the first time in school history.
Also in Class 3A on Tuesday ...
Susquenita 68, Lancaster Mennonite 52: One year after the Blazers beat the Blackhawks in the third-place game and went to the PIAA playoffs, Susquenita got some payback. Haily Sherman poured in 26 points, Alana Boyer chipped in with 22 points, and the fourth-seeded Blackhawks won a shootout against no. 5 Mennonite, and sent the Blazers packing. Mariah Wilson scored 24 points and Rebecca Lane added 10 points for the Blazers (13-10). Susquenita (20-5) will take on top-seeded Delone Catholic (22-1) on Friday.
In Tuesday’s Class 5A quarterfinals ...
Berks Catholic 51, Solanco 44: In Reading, the ninth-seeded Golden Mules had a 24-18 lead at the half, and led 37-32 heading into the fourth quarter. But the host eighth-seeded Saints (16-9) closed the game on a 19-7 clip and eliminated Solanco. Jade Eshelman scored 16 points for the Golden Mules (14-11).
York Suburban 45, Elizabethtown 21: The host Trojans hit the Bears with a game-changing 12-2 second-quarter blitz for a 30-11 halftime lead, and No. 7 York Suburban held No. 10 E-town to three fourth-quarter points and sent the Bears packing. Alyssa Hocker led the way with 16 points for Suburban (16-7), while Jade Love-Morris led E-town (13-10) with 6 points.
Lower Dauphin 42, Manheim Central 35: In Hummelstown, the 11th-seeded Barons had an early 13-11 lead, but the host sixth-seeded Falcons (15-6) went 21-10 over the middle two quarters to grab the lead for good and knock out Central. Maddie Knier (15 points) and Laura Good (13 points) paced the Barons (13-11).
And in Class 1A ...
Veritas Academy 23, Lititz Christian 18: In a low-scoring tilt featuring a pair of Lancaster Country combatants, No. 8 Veritas picked up the win over No. 9 Lititz Christian to clinch a spot in Friday’s quarterfinals. Veritas (14-9) will visit the No. 1 seed, defending champ Lancaster Country Day. Lititz Christian finished up 10-10 overall.