Monday, January 22, 2018
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Ephrata tops Elizabethtown


The last time Ephrata's girls' basketball team walked off the court, morale was anything but high -- the Mountaineers having been manhandled by Lampeter-Strasburg, 59-36, in the championship game of their own holiday tournament last Friday.
 
Wednesday was about making amends.
 
"We came out and we really knew what we wanted to do," Ephrata senior forward Sarah Haddon said, referring to Wednesday night's Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two clash with Elizabethtown.
 
"L-S was a setback, but we still had a main goal, which is to win a section championship. So we wanted to come out and win."
 
Done.
 
Powered by Haddon's game-high 12 points and an 8-0 third-quarter run that gave it the lead for good, Ephrata remained tied for first place in Section Two with a 44-29 victory over visiting E-town Wednesday night.
 
The Mountaineers (4-1 L-L, 7-3 overall) share the section's top spot with Cocalico (4-1, 7-2), which kept pace with a 44-35 victory over Conestoga Valley Wednesday.
 
E-town (3-2, 5-5), meanwhile, dropped into a tie for third with Lebanon (3-2, 5-5).
 
"I told (the Mounts after the loss to L-S), that it's one game," Ephrata coach Mike Garman said. "They all learned from that (L-S game) and they didn't like the way they felt (afterward).
 
"I think if there was a time and a place for that (loss) to happen, that was the time."
 
Wednesday, Ephrata picked the right time to turn it on against the Bears, which were clinging to an 18-16 lead after Jen Fairbanks scored underneath with 4:53 left in the third quarter.
 
But using a swarming defense that created seven E-town turnovers while holding the Bears to just eight shots in the quarter, Ephrata ended the period with an 11-5 run that gave it a 27-23 edge.
 
Mounts guard Irene Lascarides had five points during that game-turning surge.
 
"We all stepped (the intensity) up a notch," Haddon said, "and we all started working together really well. We all knew what we had to do to get the job done."
 
Matters only got worse for E-town in the fourth quarter, during which it turned the ball over five more times while shooting a dismal 3 for 16 from the floor.
 
Still within four (29-25) after E-town's Erin Sollenberger (team-high nine points) scored on a drive with 6:48 left to play, the Bears watched their chances evaporate when Ephrata embarked on a 11-0 run that gave it a 40-25 lead with 3:02 remaining.
 
Mounts guard Hannah Reimel scored six of her nine points during that stretch, which was kept alive by back-to-back drives by guard Kelly Liebl (10 points) -- buckets that "were huge" according to Garman.
 
E-town cut the lead to 40-29 with 2:08 left to play, but never got any closer.
 
Still, while Wednesday's victory was a good character builder for Ephrata, Haddon and her teammates realize there's plenty of work left to do in what figures to be a down-to-the-wire section race.
 
The next test comes Friday when the Mounts host Conestoga Valley.
 
"We know (the section race) is going to be a dogfight," Haddon said. "There's not an easy game. So we know what we have to do."
 
And what they have to avoid -- a.k.a. another lackluster performance like the one they put together last Friday.
 
"We all talked (the L-S game) and said we're not going to let that happen again," Haddon said. "We learned from it, and moved on."
 
Wednesday's outing seemed to indicate as much.