Already out of the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section One race and teetering around the cut-line in the District Three Class 6A power ratings, Manheim Township needed a victory Wednesday night to restore order and stay in line for a postseason bid.
The Blue Streaks got tough and picked up a clutch win.
Gracie Martin scored 16 points, including a pair of back-breaking fourth-quarter buckets, Missy Welch had a trio of game-changing second-half hoops, and Township knocked off Elizabethtown 41-33 in a riveting crossover game in Neffsville.
“We said last week that basically every game from here on out was a playoff game,” said Township coach Sean Burkhart, whose team started the week at No. 11 — out of 12 qualifying teams — in the D3-6A chase.
“That’s what we’re looking at, and that’s how we’ll continue to look at it,” he continued. “We got two big wins this week, and now we’re kind of right back there in the thick of things. We’ll go a day at a time, control what we can control, and hopefully we’re playing beyond next week.”
Elizabethtown, which is still in the chase for the Section Two championship, had a 17-11 second-quarter lead on back-to-back layups by Macy Seaman. The Streaks (5-3 Section One, 8-7 overall) punched back with a 6-0 run to end the half for a 17-17 tie, and Township opened the third quarter with a quick 7-0 spree for a 24-17 lead, and never looked back.
The Bears (5-1 Section Two, 7-2 overall) were within 24-22 on Emma Blyler’s 3-pointer with 2:44 to go in the third. But Martin and Welch caught fire early in the fourth to give Township some breathing room.
Welch, who gave the Streaks the lead for good, 19-17, with a driving layup 30 seconds into the third, popped in a short jumper for a 30-27 cushion, and Martin’s dagger wing 3-pointer gave Township a 35-27 lead with 5:35 left.
Martin and Gianna Smith combined to go 6 for 6 at the line in the waning seconds to ice it for the Streaks, who were out-rebounded 32-17, but forced 22 turnovers and never gave up the lead after Welch’s dribble-drive early in the third.
“Township played harder than we did, they boxed out harder than we did, they wanted it more than we did, and they deserved to win,” E-town coach John Myers said. “They flat-out played smarter and harder. Township deserved it.”
Seaman had 12 points and 13 rebounds to lead Elizabethtown, which must beat Conestoga Valley twice on Saturday to earn a Section Two co-title with Ephrata, and trigger a one-game playoff for the league playoff spot.
The Bears will finish their suspended game from Jan. 27 starting in the third quarter with the Buckskins at 5 p.m., and then play their regularly scheduled game against CV at 7:30 p.m.