The first weekend of the truncated Lancaster-Lebanon League girls basketball season is tucked neatly away in the record books, as a dozen games were completed both safely and soundly, in front of sparse crowds featuring face-masked competitors.
The first full week of games are now on tap, with multiple head-to-head section matchups and some intriguing nonleague games on the slate.
Here are some games to keep an eye on this week, plus plenty of news and notables sprinkled in for good measure as the season starts to pick up the pace …
UPDATE: Pequea Valley is switching to virtual learning this week, and the Braves will not be able to return to practice until Jan. 16, with no competition until Jan. 18. PV, which hasn't played a game yet, will have games postponed this week Monday at home vs. Oley Valley; Tuesday at Octorara; Friday at home against Columbia; and Saturday at Northern Lebanon. Stay tuned for an updated scheduled for the Braves.
MONDAY, JAN. 11
Warwick at Elizabethtown, 8 p.m.: Hot starts for both teams; the Warriors rallied past defending Section Three champ Solanco for a clutch 40-34 opening-night victory last Friday, and the Bears beat defending Section Two champ Ephrata 48-42 to get an early leg-up in the section chase, making this section showdown a must-see. Key kid: Warwick ace Lauren Pyle had 19 points and she drilled three 3-pointers in the Warriors’ opener; E-town must defend her in the open court. That could be a job for Bears’ defender du jour Jade Love-Morris.
TUESDAY, JAN. 12
Lancaster Mennonite at Columbia, 6:30 p.m.: Season-opener for both clubs, and the Blazers — with 1,000-point Towson University recruit Mariah Wilson back for her much-anticipated senior year — and the Crimson Tide both have big expectations in the Section Five chase. This game will also mark the varsity debut of Columbia twin freshmen Brie and Brooke Droege. Kindly remember their names moving forward, won’t you. Key kid: Columbia floor general MacKenzie Burke can’t wilt under Mennonite’s unrelenting backcourt pressure.
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 13
Ephrata at Warwick, 7:30 p.m.: The Mountaineers dropped their opener to E-town, and after hosting Lebanon on Monday, they’ll shuttle over to Lititz for another key Section Two showdown against the Warriors. How will Warwick be feeling here after its Monday clash at E-town? Thinking this Section Two derby is going to go right down to the wire; every game is huge. Key kid: Ephrata super soph Jasmine Griffin popped in 20 points vs. E-town last Friday. Warwick can’t let her dribble-drive and get to the bucket unscathed.
Northern Lebanon at Lancaster Catholic, 7:30 p.m.: Five-star game alert. Never any love lost when the Vikings and the Crusaders collide, and this game will have some serious juice because NL and Catholic were supposed to play in the PIAA Class 4A state quarterfinals last March, but that game was bagged because of the coronavirus spread. This won’t be a state-quarterfinal, true. But it will be their first meeting since that date was canceled. Catholic standout Naomi Zulueta left last Friday’s game at Elco with a lower right leg injury. We’ll see if she returns for this clash. Key kid: NL hopes it found a new go-to scorer; newbie Mikayla Harrison bucketed 11 points in the Vikes’ nonleague win at East Pennsboro on Saturday.
THURSDAY, JAN. 14
Hempfield at Cedar Crest, 7:30 p.m.: The Black Knights are out to defend their Section One crown, and after hosting Penn Manor on Monday, Hempfield heads to Lebanon for a clash against the Falcons; Cedar Crest turned up its defense in a season-opening 36-23 win over Manheim Township last Friday, and the winner here can open up some early breathing room in the long-haul chase. Key kid: A hot start for Hempfield post-threat Orianna Edmond, who scored 27 points in two games over the opening weekend, including 15 in the win over McCaskey.
FRIDAY, JAN. 15
Lampeter-Strasburg at Solanco, 8 p.m.: The Golden Mules are the back-to-back reigning section champs, with plenty of bull’s-eyes swirling on their backs. And Solanco is looking to right its ship — and quick — after a 0-2 opening-weekend getaway. The Pioneers are itching to be back in the Section Three hunt after missing out on the playoffs last season. L-S must survive a home date against Manheim Central on Wednesday before heading to Solanco for this intriguing matchup. Key kid: L-S sniper Maggie Swarr had 14 points and four treys in the Pioneers’ win over Garden Spot last Friday.
SATURDAY, JAN. 16
The Catholic Shootout is set for a four-game showcase event at Lancaster Catholic, starting at 10 a.m. when back-to-back District Three Class 2A champ Linden Hall squares off against Trinity. Host Lancaster Catholic will play in the 4 p.m. nightcap against Berks Catholic.
MILESTONE UPDATE: Because of the truncated season, Lebanon senior Giahny Correa — baring any unforeseen issues — will likely be the only L-L League player to reach 1,000 career points this winter. The Cedars’ sniper certainly got off to a hot start, banking a career-high 32 points last Friday in Lebanon’s Section Two setback at Conestoga Valley. Correa hits the week at 885 career points — 115 shy of a grand. It’ll be a busy week for Lebanon; the Cedars have four games on their slate: Monday at Ephrata, Wednesday at home with Palmyra, Friday at Governor Mifflin and Saturday at Lancaster Mennonite. Lebanon has scheduled 21 games, the most by any L-L League team coming out of the government-mandated shutdown that pushed the season back to a Jan. 8 tip-off date.
NOTABLES: Lancaster Catholic’s L-L League winning streak is up to 43 games in a row, after the Crusaders fended off Elco 46-43 in a hotly contested season-opener last Friday. Catholic’s last league loss was Jan. 31, 2017, a 50-41 setback against Northern Lebanon. The Crusaders also dropped a 49-35 decision against the Vikings on Jan. 6, 2017, and that loss snapped Catholic’s glittering 100-game league winning streak. The Crusaders will go for 44 league dubs in a row Wednesday when NL comes to town. And if you didn’t quite wrap your head around those numbers, Catholic is — gulp — 151-2 in its last 153 and 45-1 in its last 46 L-L League games. Not too shabby. … The next longest current league winning streak belongs to Hempfield, which made it 15 league victories in a row last Friday with a 59-29 opening-night victory over McCaskey. The Black Knights went 13-0 in league play last season, and their last league loss was a 46-30 setback against Elizabethtown in a crossover game on Feb. 1, 2019. … Conestoga Valley came out sizzling with a 77-65 Section Two win over Lebanon last Friday. It was the most points the Buckskins scored in a game since a 63-35 victory over Lebanon on Jan. 18, 2019. It was also just what the doctor ordered for CV, which is coming off a 2-20 campaign — but with a lot of young-pup talent in tow. … Other than Zulueta leaving Catholic’s game early at Elco last Friday, there are no other major injuries to report. And that’s a good thing; the 2019-20 season was littered with injuries. So far — in what is already an odd season — so good.