And away we go with L-L League girls’ basketball for the 2019-20 season, as the long and winding journey to the PIAA finals in the Giant Center in late March tipped off Friday night with 24 league teams participating in tip-off tournaments all across the region. Plenty of news and notables to share from the first night of hoops, including game roundups …
CEDAR CLIFF TIP-OFF
Cedar Crest 51, Cedar Cliff 44 — A hot start for the Falcons, who rolled to a 34-19 halftime lead and then cruised past the host Colts to advance to Saturday’s title game opposite Spring Grove. Reese Glover — we told you in the preseason that she was primed for a big, breakout winter — hit a couple of 3’s and scored 17 points and Meghan Sholley chipped in with 14 points for Cedar Crest, the reigning Section 1 champ. The Falcons splashed five 3’s in all, and Glover and Sholley combined to make 13 free throws as Cedar Crest withstood Cedar Cliff’s 16-point third-quarter barrage to win it.
Dallastown 38, Solanco 30 — The Golden Mules built a 12-11 first-quarter lead, but the Wildcats closed the game on a 15-4 blitz and knocked Solanco into Saturday’s third-place game vs. host Hempfield. Nikki Trout and Jade Eshelman bucketed eight points apiece for the Mules, who are the reigning Section 3 champs. Dallastown, an annual York/Adams contender, will take on Mid-Penn power Central Dauphin in Saturday’s title tilt.
Central Dauphin 41, Hempfield 26 — Maddie LaFrance scored 14 points to pace the Rams, who went 16-6 in the second quarter to grab a 22-11 lead at the break and then subdue the host Black Knights. Lindsey Durkota scored 12 points to pace Hempfield, which will take on L-L League foe Solanco in the third-place game. CD will square off against Dallastown in the championship game — in a potential D3-6A playoff preview, on the season’s second day of action.
MANHEIM CENTRAL TIP-OFF
Mechanicsburg 46, Manheim Township 29 — Coming off a deep playoff run last season, the Wildcats picked up right where they left off, holding the Blue Streaks to just 1 second-quarter point, and then closing the game on a 29-19 run to punch a ticket in Saturday’s title game vs. host Manheim Central. Katie Bushong bucketed three 3-pointers and popped in 20 points for the Streaks, raising her career total to 896 points, as she inched closer to the 1,000-point plateau. Township will face Northeastern York in the third-place game.
Manheim Central 54, Northeastern 40 — Hello, world. We heard rumbling that Barons’ freshman Maddie Knier had the potential to hit the ground running in her varsity debut, and did she ever. Knier hit three 3’s and poured in 28 points, and Central outscored Northeastern 35-26 in the second half, handing rookie coach Tyson Hayes a W in his debut. The Barons get Mechanicsburg in Saturday’s championship game.
Donegal 42, Red Land 39 — Just what the doctored ordered for the young, retooling Indians, who picked up an opening-night victory to build some early momentum. IUP recruit Kiera Baughman popped in 21 points, and Donegal overcame an early 16-13 deficit to beat the Patriots and punch a ticket to Saturday’s title game vs. host E-town. Baughman is up to 1,277 career points, as she pushes toward snapping the Indians’ program scoring record. Red Land, which will take on McCaskey in the third-place game, is coaching by former Lancaster Catholic and F&M standout Beth (Holt) Cook.
E-town 56, McCaskey 27 — Like Donegal, retooling E-town also got the start it was looking for as Ainsley Raybold sank five 3’s and pumped in 17 points, and Jade Love-Morris added 11 points for the Bears, who will get L-L League next-door neighbor Donegal in the title tilt. E-town used a 19-4 second-quarter spree to seize control for good, sending McCaskey to the third-place game opposite Red Land. Alija Thornton-Bey and Malia Taylor scored 9 points apiece for the Red Tornado, which went 0-22 last season, and will try and snap this losing skid Saturday vs. the Patriots.
PENN MANOR TIP-OFF
Central York 50, Penn Manor 38 — This was a 4-point game at half, but CY went 13-4 in the third quarter to open up some breathing room and KO the host Comets. Sarah Berman bucketed 17 points to pace CY, while Morgan Miller hit three 3’s and popped in a game-high 21 points for PM, as she picked up right where she left off in her breakout ninth-grade season last winter. CY will take on reigning D3-4A runner-up Bishop McDevitt in Saturday’s championship game. McD topped Lampeter-Strasburg 60-45 in Friday’s other opener; PM will take on L-S in the third-place game, featuring a couple of L-L League combatants. Against McD, Emma Drouillard hit for 16 points and Jackie Martin drilled a couple of 3's and added 12 points for L-S.
William Allen 64, Conestoga Valley 29 — The Canaries — yeah, we love that nickname, too — opened the game on a 23-8 blitz, and then pulled away from the Buckskins for good with a 19-5 third-quarter run and advanced to Saturday’s title game vs. host Fleetwood. Shanaiyah Ellis (17 points) and T’nyah Riggins (11 points) paced Allen, out of Allentown in District 11. Taylor Hehnly, back on the court after a knee injury cost her most of last season, hit a couple of 3’s and popped in 12 points in her return for CV, as rookie skipper Bill Moore was making his coaching debut on the Bucks’ bench. CV will take on Kutztown out of the Berks League in the third-place game.
NORTHERN LEBANON TIP-OFF
Northern Lebanon 48, Ephrata 43 — In a much-anticipated first-round matchup featuring a pair of L-L League squads, Zara Zerman splashed four 3’s and poured in 26 points in her much-anticipated senior-season debut, and Lindsay McFeaters chimed in with 11 points for the Vikings, who outscored the Mountaineers 26-16 in the second half to advance to Saturday’s championship game opposite reigning D3-5A champ Palmyra, which dropped Milton Hershey 48-11 on Friday. Gabbie Gerola-Hill (14 points) and Jocelyn Umana (13 points) sparked Ephrata, which will take on Milton Hershey in the third-place game. Zerman, a Kutztown recruit, is up to 1,068 career points, as she works her way up Northern Lebanon’s all-time scoring chart.
Garden Spot 35, Exeter 32 — Call it the night-of-just-what-the-doctor-ordered games for the L-L League crew, as the Spartans, looking to rebound off last season’s 1-12 Section 3 run, edged the host Eagles to advance to Saturday’s title game. Karli Stoltzfus (13 points) and Erin Gonzalez (12 points) led the offense, as Garden Spot got a quick jump, and will face Hershey in the championship game.
Hershey 57, Lebanon 46 — The Cedars led 26-24 at the break, but the Trojans responded with a 33-20 second-half clip, sending Lebanon to Saturday’s third-place game vs. host Exeter. Zoe Carlson led Hershey with 16 points, while Sophia Blouch paced the Cedars with 11 points.
Susquehanna Township 51, Elco 38 — The Raiders were back on the court for the first time since last year’s deep postseason run, but Elco came up short vs. Hanna, which overcame a slow start for a 28-point second-half explosion and a W over the Raiders. Amanda Smith (13 points) and Kailey Eckhart (10 points) paced Elco, which will square off against Boiling Springs in the third-place game on Saturday. Host Middletown gets Hanna in the title game.
NEW OXFORD TIP-OFF
Bermudian Springs 73, Lancaster Catholic 63 — This was perhaps the head-turner final score of the first night of hoops action, as the Eagles knocked off the back-to-back L-L League and D3-4A champs. Bermudian Springs had four double-digit scorers — led by Hannah Chenault, who bucketed 20 points — and the Eagles had a 24-point second quarter and a 23-point fourth quarter to stop Catholic, back on the floor for the first time since last season’s 30-1 ride. Katie Haefner (13 points), Sommer Reeser (12 points, two 3’s in her Crusaders’ debut) and Marlia Matters (10 points) paced Catholic, which will take on host New Oxford on Saturday.
Hamburg 32, Annville-Cleona 28 — The host Hawks outscored the Little Dutchmen 13-10 in the fourth quarter, and that was the difference, as A-C slipped into the third-place game opposite Northern Lehigh out of District 11 on Saturday. Julie Harbonic had 14 points for Hamburg, while Brittney Nye paced the Dutchmen with 8 points. Hamburg will take on Berks League neighbor Brandywine Heights in the title tilt.
Big Spring 54, Columbia 35 — Rebecca Franklin scored 15 points, and Big Spring closed the game on a 31-16 blitz to knock off the host Crimson Tide. Audreanna Frazier scored 13 points for Columbia, which will take on Schuylkill Valley in the third-place game. Meanwhile, Big Spring will square off against York Suburban for tourney gold.
LANCASTER COUNTRY DAY TIP-OFF
Lancaster Country Day 51, Dayspring Academy 11 — A sizzling start for the host Cougars, who pounced early with a 28-0 first-quarter spree, on the way to a 40-point win and a spot in Saturday’s championship game opposite West Shore Christian. Annabelle Copeland (13 points) and Ashanti Duncan (11 points) led Country Day, which opened defense of its D3-1A title in style. Duncan is now up to 961 career points, as she aims to become the first L-L League player to join the 1,000-point club this season. Also Friday, Kaela Stankiewicz, who missed most of last season after suffering a knee injury, made her triumphant return to the court for the Cougars; she hit a 3 and chipped in with 7 points. Copeland also continued her assault on 1,000 career points; she’s up to 787.
TWIN VALLEY TIP-OFF
Mount St. Joe’s 69, Lancaster Mennonite 35 — Not an easy opener for the retooling Blazers, who drew the District 12 power Magic in the first round, and MSJ rolled, using a 21-7 second-quarter spree to build a commanding 38-22 lead at the half. The Magic then went 16-3 in the third quarter to open up plenty of breathing room to advance to Saturday’s championship game vs. Berks County power, and host, Twin Valley. Mariah Wilson splashed four 3’s and scored 18 points for Mennonite, which will take on Blue Mountain in the third-place game. Wilson is up to 778 career points — one game into her junior season.
Pequea Valley 73, Biglerville 46 — A hot start for the Braves, who cracked the Canners with a 43-14 first-half blitz on the way to Saturday’s championship game vs. host Tulpehocken. It was a balanced effort for PV, as Caroline Horst (25 points), Abbey Leslie (17 points) and Clara Neff (12 points) paced the Braves.
Also Friday, in an intriguing backyard rivalry scrap in Denver, Warwick withstood Cocalico in a game that went right down to the bitter end, as the Warriors advanced to the Eagles’ tip-off tourney title game vs. reigning Berks County champ Governor Mifflin. Here’s the game story, plus a photo gallery from Warwick’s wild win over Cocalico …
Warwick’s Jess Williamson beats halftime horn with a wing 3 ... Cocalico leads Warwick 16-15 at the break #PaGirlsHoops #LLsports @GirlsWarwick @WarwickWarriors @CocalicoE @CocalicoSports pic.twitter.com/t27WWruCkf— Jeff Reinhart LNP (@JeffReinhart77) December 7, 2019
FYI: Check for LNP/LancasterOnline coverage Saturday from E-town’s tip-off tournament, where McCaskey will play Red Land in the third-place game, before the Bears square off against Donegal for tourney gold ... plus another roundup and notes early Sunday, wrapping up the first weekend of games across the board. Saturday's complete schedule.