A big night of hoops on Tuesday in L-L League girls’ basketball circles, with all five first-place teams in action. That meant facelifts in the section races, as the Feb. 4 finales quickly approach. Here’s the roundup, with a bunch of notables and links sprinkled in …
Hempfield 40, Penn Manor 33 — The Comets tried to play spoilers, but the host Black Knights bolted to a 24-17 halftime lead, and then held off Penn Manor down the stretch to remain alone atop the Section 1 standings — two games clear of Cedar Crest and Manheim Township in the loss column, as Hempfield (9-0, 12-4) angles for its first section title since the 2004-05 season. Lauren Moffatt (career-high 14 points) and Lindsey Durkota (10 points) paced the Knights, while Sydney Shepos (14 points) and Lily Sugra (11 points) hit for double-digits for the Comets (2-8, 5-12). … Big-game alert: Hempfield is at Cedar Crest, the defending section champ, on Friday. LNP coverage coming from that showdown. Hempfield held off Cedar Crest in their first meeting.
Manheim Township 63, McCaskey 28 — The Blue Streaks raced out to a commanding 44-13 lead at the break and never looked back, remaining two games behind Hempfield in the section chase. Katie Bushong (22 points), Gianna Smith (12 points) and Gracie Martin (11 points, three 3’s) led the way on the scoresheet for Township (8-2, 13-3), which actually moved a half-game ahead of Cedar Crest in the race; the Falcons (7-2, 10-8) dropped a nonleague game on Tuesday, and Cedar Crest — after tangling with Hempfield on Friday — will host Township on Feb. 4, as there is still a lot on the table in Section 1. Tuesday, Malia Taylor scored 7 points for McCaskey (1-8, 3-14).
Ephrata 82, Lebanon 51 — The host Mountaineers, back on the court after having their 7-game winning streak snapped on Monday, piled up the second-most points scored by an L-L League team this season — Lampeter-Strasburg had an 85-point night earlier this campaign — cruising past the Cedars. Gabbie Gerola-Hill poured in a season-high 29 points, Jasmine Griffin chipped in with 10 points, and Ephrata (7-2, 13-5) barreled to a 35-22 halftime lead, and then outscored Lebanon 47-29 in the second half to break 80 and remain alone in first place, two games clear of Elizabethtown. Giahny Correa bucketed 18 points for the Cedars (3-7, 4-14). ... Correa, a junior, is up to 759 career points; Gerola-Hill, a senior, is at 886, as she's closing in fast on 900.
Elizabethtown 51, Warwick 36 — No crazy comeback this time. The first time the Bears and Warriors squared off this season, Warwick rallied from a 24-10 halftime deficit to stun E-town 44-39 in OT. Tuesday, the Bears finished the job. Elise Hassinger scored 16 points, Ainsley Raybold chipped in with 13 points, and host E-town outscored the Warriors 25-10 over the middle two quarters — including a 12-3 third-quarter spurt — and passed the Warriors for solo second place in the section chase. E-town (5-4, 11-5) is now a half-game up on Warwick, and the Warriors (5-5, 7-8) get a stab at first-place Ephrata at home on Friday. Circle that one, as the Mounts continue to angle for their first section championship since the 2015-16 season. Lauren Pyle popped in 10 points for Warwick on Tuesday.
Solanco 31, Garden Spot 25 — There’s a new leader in the Section 3 chase, and it’s a familiar face: It’s the defending-champ Golden Mules, who took care of their own business with a win in New Holland, and moved a half-game ahead of Manheim Central, which was tripped up by Lampeter-Strasburg, which tossed a monkey wrench into the proceedings, while remaining within shouting distance of the lead pack. Tuesday, Jade Eshelman paced a balanced attack with 8 points, and Solanco (7-3, 9-8) went 9-3 in the third quarter to open up some breathing. The Golden Mules led 16-14 at the break, and the host Spartans never went away; Taylor Soehner scored 10 points for Garden Spot (1-8, 5-13).
Lampeter-Strasburg 40, Manheim Central 30 — And here’s your monkey wrench. Emma Drouillard popped in 16 points, and the host Pioneers used a 16-8 third-quarter run to open up some breathing and knock the Barons out of sole possession of first place in the chase. Central (6-3, 12-5) is now a half-game behind Solanco, which edged Garden Spot on Tuesday. L-S (4-5, 7-9) is two games back in the loss column, but gets another shot at the Golden Mules on Thursday in Quarryville. Maddie Knier scored 10 points for Central, which had its 4-game winning streak snapped. The Barons have another key game on Thursday, when 2-loss Northern Lebanon — now two games behind Lancaster Catholic in the Section 4 hunt — comes to Manheim for a crossover scrap. … FYI: Solanco at Manheim Central is next Tuesday. Hang a star next to that one. The Barons beat the Golden Mules in Quarryville in their first meeting.
Elco 70, Octorara 15 — Kailey Eckhart (17 points) and Amanda Smith (12 points) paced the host Raiders (5-4, 8-8), who jumped out to a 20-2 lead, led 40-5 at the break, and never looked back. Jasyah James scored 6 points for the Braves (1-9, 1-15).
Lancaster Country Day 61, Annville-Cleona 33 — The Cougars kept on keeping on. Annabelle Copeland (17 points), Genesis Meadows (12 points) and Anna Sotirescu (season-high 10 points) all hit for double-digits, and Country Day (8-0, 14-0) used a 19-3 second-quarter clip to grab a commanding 36-7 lead and remain undefeated and two games up in the section chase. Makenzie Drane dropped in a season-high 17 points for the Dutchmen (0-8, 1-16). … This sets up a busy nonleague stretch for Country Day: The Cougars play Thursday at home vs. Mount Calvary, then Friday at home against Lancaster County Christian, and then the Cougars are at home Saturday vs. Lititz Christian. … Copeland is now closing in fast on the 1,000-point plateau; she’s at 966 career points, including her time at Palmyra. ... Kaela Stankiewicz hit a couple of 3's and chipped in with 9 points for Country Day on Tuesday; she's up to 803 career points for the Cougars.
Pequea Valley 58, Lancaster Mennonite 49 — There is a new solo second-place team in the Section 5 race, and that squad is … the Braves, who took a 31-20 halftime lead, and then fended off the hard-charging Blazers to remain two games behind front-runner Lancaster Country Day. Caroline Horst poured in 27 points and Rebecca Cox chipped in with 11 points for host PV (6-2, 12-4), which split the season series with Mennonite, and moved ahead of the Blazers (5-3, 10-8) in the standings. Mariah Wilson, the league’s leading scorer, poured in 29 points for the Blazers, who have also completed their season series with Country Day. PV will host Country Day on the last night of league play on Feb. 4.
Lebanon Catholic 46, Columbia 35 — The host Beavers outscored the Crimson Tide 23-17 in the second half, and Avery Hupp (season-high 19 points) and Maria Pastal (12 points) led the offensive brigade for Lebanon Catholic (2-6, 9-10). Morgan Bigler and Audreanna Frazier scored 10 points apiece for Columbia (3-5, 6-11), which couldn’t quite dig out of a 23-18 halftime deficit.
Cocalico 56, Conestoga Valley 28 — The Buckskins hung tough in the first quarter, but the host Eagles (5-11) drilled six 3-pointers, and used an 11-2 third-quarter clip to pull away for good. Hannah Custer (15 points), Izzy Mack (10 points) and Kiersten Shipton (10 points) paced Cocalico, which closed the game on a 26-7 blitz to subdue CV. Savannah Byers scored 9 points for the Bucks (1-16).
Reading 49, Cedar Crest 46 — For the second night in a row, the Falcons faced a tricky nonleague clash against a D3-6A foe. And for the second night in a row, Cedar Crest came up short in the end. Monday, it was Dallastown. Tuesday, the host Red Knights closed the game on a 19-9 tear and stunned the Falcons, who led 28-21 at the half and 37-30 heading into the fourth quarter. Alas, Reading finished in a flourish, damaging Cedar Crest’s D3-6A power rating; the Falcons started the week at No. 12 — in, but directly on the bubble for the 12-team bracket. Tuesday, Sarah Laney splashed four 3-pointers and scored 14 points for Cedar Crest, which returns to the floor for another big D3-6A clash — and L-L League Section 1 showdown — on Friday at home vs. first-place Hempfield.
Also Tuesday, in a Section 4 showdown, Lancaster Catholic fended off Northern Lebanon to take a commanding 2-game lead in that race. There was also a coaching milestone moment in that clash. Here’s the game story …
Elizabethtown at Donegal, 7:30 p.m.
Manheim Township at Central York, 7:30 p.m.
* Just two games on the slate; the Township/CY matchup will go a long way in the D3-6A power rankings, as Township is at No. 4 (which gets you a first-round bye) and CY is at No. 6. … E-town and Donegal are old-school backyard rivals, and E-town would love some more momentum, coming off Tuesday’s clutch victory over Warwick. Both squads are also angling for spots in the D3-5A bracket; the Bears are at No. 9 (in a 16-team field), and the Indians are on the outside looking in at No. 20. … No LNP coverage Wednesday; working on a feature for later in the week. Stay tuned. Back out on Thursday in Manheim, where the Barons will welcome Northern Lebanon for a key crossover clash.
SINGLE-GAME SCORING MARKS FOR 2019-20
35 points — Olivia Usner, Garden Spot vs. Columbia, Jan. 14
34 points — Emma Drouillard, Lampeter-Strasburg vs. Donegal, Dec. 16
34 points — Mariah Wilson, Lancaster Mennonite vs. Lancaster Country Day, Dec. 13
32 points — Kiera Baughman, Donegal vs. Lampeter-Strasburg, Dec. 16
32 points — Mariah Wilson, Lancaster Mennonite vs. Lebanon Catholic, Dec. 16
32 points — Mariah Wilson, Lancaster Mennonite vs. Trinity, Jan. 13
31 points — Kiera Baughman, Donegal vs. Garden Spot, Dec. 20
31 points — Katie Bushong, Manheim Township vs. Conestoga Valley, Dec. 18
31 points — Mariah Wilson, Lancaster Mennonite vs. Pequea Valley, Dec. 18
31 points — Mariah Wilson, Lancaster Mennonite vs. Constitution, Dec. 21
31 points — Mariah Wilson, Lancaster Mennonite vs. Cocalico, Jan. 4
30 points — Kiera Baughman, Donegal vs. Columbia, Dec. 10
30 points — Kiera Baughman, Donegal vs. Elco, Jan. 9
30 points — Katie Bushong, Manheim Township vs. Northeastern York, Dec. 7
30 points — Katie Bushong, Manheim Township vs. Penn Manor, Jan. 14
30 points — Caroline Horst, Pequea Valley vs. Daniel Boone, Dec. 27
30 points — Mariah Wilson, Lancaster Mennonite vs. Brandywine Heights, Dec. 10
29 points — Gabbie Gerola-Hill, Ephrata vs. Lebanon, Jan. 21
29 points — Mariah Wilson, Lancaster Mennonite vs. Annville-Cleona, Dec. 20
29 points — Mariah Wilson, Lancaster Mennonite vs. Pequea Valley, Jan. 21
28 points — Maddie Knier, Manheim Central vs. Northeastern York, Dec. 6
28 points — Amanda Smith, Elco vs. Donegal, Jan. 9
27 points — Katie Bushong, Manheim Township vs. Cedar Crest, Jan. 16
27 points — Giahny Correa, Lebanon vs. New Oxford, Dec. 28
27 points — Caroline Horst, Pequea Valley vs. Octorara, Jan. 9
27 points — Caroline Horst, Pequea Valley vs. Lancaster Mennonite, Jan. 21
27 points — Mariah Wilson, Lancaster Mennonite vs. Oley Valley, Dec. 9
27 points — Mariah Wilson, Lancaster Mennonite vs. Lebanon Catholic, Jan. 17
27 points — Zara Zerman, Northern Lebanon vs. McCaskey, Dec. 28
27 points — Zara Zerman, Northern Lebanon vs. Elco, Jan. 10
26 points — Zara Zerman, Northern Lebanon vs. Ephrata, Dec. 6
25 points — Ashanti Duncan, Lancaster Country Day vs. Wyomissing, Dec. 28
25 points — Ashanti Duncan, Lancaster Country Day vs. Lancaster Mennonite, Jan. 8
25 points — Jasmine Griffin, Ephrata vs. Solanco, Dec. 12
25 points — Caroline Horst, Pequea Valley vs. Biglerville, Dec. 6
25 points — Caroline Horst, Pequea Valley vs. Lancaster Mennonite, Dec. 18
25 points — Mariah Wilson, Lancaster Mennonite vs. Blue Mountain, Dec. 7
25 points — Mariah Wilson, Lancaster Mennonite vs. Camp Hill, Jan. 9