Monday, January 22, 2018
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Pioneers stop Mounts in Finals


By now, Lampeter-Strasburg's girls' basketball team is aware of the bull's-eye it's wearing on its collective back.

 
A bull's-eye that, perhaps, got a bit bigger Friday night.
 
Getting a game-high 14 points from junior guard Taylor Lininger and a defensive effort that forced 29 Ephrata turnovers, L-S remained undefeated by rolling to a 59-36 victory over the Mountaineers in the championship game of the Ephrata Holiday Tournament on Friday night at Ephrata Middle School.
 
The Pioneers (9-0) and Lancaster Catholic (6-0) are now the only undefeated teams in the Lancaster-Lebanon League to this point.
 
Then again, not that -- in the picture, anyway -- that means all that much to the Pioneers.
 
"Every win gets us closer and closer to our overall goal," said L-S senior center Lexie Lantz, "which is to go farther than we ever have."
 
Speaking of goals, Lantz, who finished with 12 points, accomplished one of her own Friday night, crossing the 1,000-career-point plateau on a layup with 5:52 remaining in the third quarter. She now has 1,003 career points.
 
"I tried not to think about it, so hard," said Lantz, who was eventually named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. "But I think not thinking about it made it worse. That was one thing I really wanted to accomplish this season and now that it's over it's like ... good, I can move forward."
 
By the time Lantz's monumental bucket dropped, L-S had long since distanced itself from the Mounts (6-3), who ran out to a 6-0 lead to start the game, only to watch the Pioneers answer with an 11-1 run to end the first quarter.
 
Ephrata didn't lead again the rest of the way.
 
"We said in the locker room (before the game) that we're going to have to weather a little storm (early) because (Ephrata) is going to come out aggressive," L-S coach Tony Fink said. "It's their home, it's their tournament and we're undefeated.
 
"But we eventually know at some point in the game we're going to turn the tide (with defense)."
 
And so it went, especially in the third quarter.
 
Still clinging to a 10-point lead (29-19) after Ephrata's Sarah Haddon converted a put back 25 seconds into the second half, the Pioneers -- who forced 11 turnovers out of Mounts in the third quarter alone -- embarked on a 17-4 run that jacked their advantage to 46-23 with 1:22 left in the quarter.
 
L-S got points from five different players during that game-deciding surge.
 
"There wasn't anything I liked about what we were doing (throughout the game)," said Ephrata coach Mike Garman, who got a team-high 13 points from All-Tournament team selection Kelly Liebl. "We started out well ... and then it's like all of the sudden somebody hit the light switch.
 
"We just didn't play, we didn't compete. And when you do that against a good team you're going to pay the price."
 
In addition to Lantz and Liebl, also named to the All-Tournament team Friday were Haddon, L-S's Bailey Corbin, McCaskey's Khadijah Williams and Governor Mifflin's Megan McKay.