This wasn’t exactly what Octorara’s girls’ basketball team had in mind when the Braves made their official Lancaster-Lebanon League debut on Tuesday night.
Coach Scott Forman brought his squad to Lancaster Country Day to tangle with the Cougars, who also joined Octorara in the L-L League full-time this season. So the league’s two newest programs were squaring off in a nonleague clash.
End result: Lancaster Country Day 71, Octorara 26.
The Cougars improved to 3-0, after winning both games in their tip-off tournament this past weekend. The Braves, who played an independent schedule last season to gear up for their big L-L League grand entrance, were making their season — and league — debut.
It didn’t go so well. Octorara had 29 turnovers, was out-rebounded 40-15 and didn’t shoot particularly well from the floor. The Braves had some opening-night, welcome-to-the-league jitters.
“We’re a young squad,” Octorara coach Scott Forman said. “We have a lot of freshmen who we’ve had to move up to play some varsity. So we’re still learning on the fly right now. We want to compete and be competitive and give teams a game.”
Country Day made quick work of Octorara on Tuesday, racing out to a 19-0 lead before the Braves got their first L-L League bucket, Jamera Brown’s layup with 3:15 to go in the first quarter. The Cougars led 25-3 heading into the second quarter and 47-12 at the half.
“I think we came out ready to play,” Country Day junior Annabelle Copeland said. “Our defense was really effective, and we were able to come out and get a quick lead right there in the beginning. And we were able to get a decent lead through the first quarter.”
Copeland, a transfer from Palmyra and a matchup nightmare on the perimeter, scored 13 of her game-high 17 points in the first quarter, including a pair of wing 3-pointers. The latter stretched Country Day’s lead to 22-3. Ashanti Duncan scored 11 of her 16 points and grabbed eight of her 10 rebounds in the first half for the Cougars, who feasted on 21 turnovers before the break.
Country Day had a 16-point third quarter to trigger the mercy rule and a running clock.
“A lot of this is new to us right now,” Forman said. “I know the score was lopsided, but we were still getting some good looks, so our girls were really trying. Hopefully, in time, we’ll get rid of the jitters and just settle down a little bit.”
Brown scored eight points and Haley Justice popped in a team-high nine points for the Braves.
Kaela Stankiewicz, Country Day’s consummate point guard, had 10 points, and Anna Sotirescu chipped in with eight points and six boards for the Cougars, who head into Thursday’s Section Five opener against Lancaster Mennonite without a loss in the early going.
“I like how we’ve been sharing the basketball, and I like how we’ve been getting out in transition,” Country Day coach Hilary Waltman said. “That’s been a process, to get them out and running. We’ll still continue to work on that. But I love how we’ve been getting to the offensive glass.”
Country Day dominated there Tuesday.
“It’s pretty early on, but our team is really stepping up and finding their roles,” Copeland said. “And we’re playing with a lot of energy. I think we’re all excited to compete and give teams a run for their money; maybe not win the section or run the table or anything like that. But I think we can compete with everyone.”
“We’re trying not to focus on the L-L League stuff as much,” Waltman added. “Right now we have to practice and be prepared and go out and try and beat our next opponent. The girls know that Thursday (at Mennonite) is a big game. It’s nice going into that game with a couple of wins here under our belts.”