MECHANICSBURG — To understand why Meadowbrook Christian defeated Linville Hill in Wednesday night’s PIAA Class A girls basketball second-round game, one need only have watched the opening minutes of each half.
To begin the game, Linville Hill turned the ball over on its first two possessions and Meadowbrook converted both into field goals for a quick lead.
At the start of the third quarter, the Warriors forced three turnovers from the Lions, but scored no points from those opportunities.
Thus the theme was set for Meadowbrook’s 40-24 victory at Cumberland Valley High School.
Linville Hill (22-3) had an admittedly high number of turnovers, totaling 21 giveaways. But Meadowbrook (21-2) had 25. The Warriors simply never took advantage of their steals.
“In transition, I though we were dribbling a little too much and not finding the open man,” Linville Hill head coach Tim Stefanosky said.
Meanwhile, the Lions were cashing in on their chances. Using a 2-2-1 full-court press off of made baskets and full-court inbound plays, they forced eight turnovers in the first quarter and took a 10-5 lead.
“The biggest thing that they were doing was jumping the passing lane in that full-court press,” Stefanosky said.
Linville Hill had an eight-minute stretch in the first half without a basket, but suddenly found their touch late in the second quarter. Three straight shots – a layup by Abrielle Fisher, a layup by Elena Esh and a 3-point basket by Desiree Smucker – had the Warriors within 16-13 at intermission.
The third quarter opened with the aforementioned turnovers and missed opportunities. Then, Kailey Devlin started to rebuild the Lion lead. She made a jumper, followed by a layup on the next possession to put Meadowbrook up 20-13 with 5:20 left in the third. Linville Hill never pulled within one possession again. Devlin scored six of her game-high 18 points in the third quarter, helping the Lions to a 30-17 lead entering the final stanza.
“The plan was to put my best defender on [Devlin] and told them to stop her,” Stefanosky said. “I think we failed as a team to do that.”
The closest the Warriors got in the fourth quarter was 34-22, when Smucker had a layup followed soon after by a free throw by Courtney Good.
However, in addition to not getting points off of turnovers, Linville Hill did not take advantage of their free throws either. The Warriors were 2-for-10 from the stripe.
Meadowbrook was 4-for-4 at the line.
Good led Linville Hill with eight points. Smucker scored six, while Esh and Fisher had four points each.
Madelyn Faschnact had 10 points for the Lions.
Meadowbrook had a 32-23 advantage in rebounds. Audrey Millet and Alayna Smith had eight rebounds each for the Lions. Esh and Good had six boards apiece for the Warriors.
Devayah Graham blocked two shots in the losing effort.
In Saturday’s state quarterfinals, Meadowbrook with play Mountain View, a 41-26 winner over Christian School of York on Wednesday.