Monday, January 22, 2018
Text Size

Hoffer layup in OT lifts Mounts

Call it an early Christmas present, for one of the most unlikely recipients.

Johanna Hoffer’s layup with one second left in overtime was the difference for Ephrata’s girls’ basketball team Tuesday night, when the Mountaineers escaped Lebanon’s gym with a 46-44 Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two victory over the Cedars.

It was the first section loss of the season for Lebanon (4-1 L-L 5-3 overall), which maintains a one-game lead over Ephrata (3-2, 5-3) early in the Section Two race.

Interestingly enough, the Mountaineers closed that gap Tuesday night thanks to Hoffer — a back-up sophomore forward, who was on the floor late because starting senior forward Hannah Raezer left the game with a knee injury and junior center/forward Kenzie Horst had fouled out.

But after Lebanon’s Alicia Haitos was called for an offensive foul at midcourt with 18 seconds left in overtime, Ephrata’s Caroline Stauffer took the ensuing inbounds and fed it to Hoffer on the low post.

With nothing available, Hoffer kicked it back out to Stauffer, who fed it right back underneath to Hoffer, who couldn’t believe what was in front of her this time when she turned to the basket — nothing.

“When I first got the ball I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I was shocked seeing the open net, but then I focused on what I had to do.

“In the timeout before that, coach said ‘If you get the ball, take it to the hoop with confidence.’ And that (confidence) is the one word I was thinking when I shot it.”

It worked. After watching her layup slip through the twine, Hoffer gave a celebratory jump before being mobbed by her teammates when the buzzer sounded a second later.

“It was a great win,” Mounts coach Mike Garman said afterward. “This is a tough place to win, and to come in here and do what we did was tremendous.”

Until Hoffer’s final bucket, the outcome of Tuesday’s game was anybody’s guess.

Ephrata led 14-12 after one quarter, 22-21 at the half and 30-29 after three quarters.

Ephrata’s biggest lead of the night was the 22-16 edge it held with under three minutes left in the second quarter. Lebanon’s biggest advantage was five (28-23) with 5:10 left in the third.

But with the Mounts still clinging to a two-point advantage with under 30 seconds left in regulation, Lebanon’s Jayden Shellehamer eventually forced overtime with her drive in the lane with 21 seconds left.

“I’m proud of how (the Cedars) battled,” Lebanon coach Ben Brewer said. “And a game like this is going to benefit us down the road. “But I give all the credit to Ephrata. I think they played harder than us and they played smarter than us.”

The Mounts were paced by Stauffer’s team-high 12 points, while Raezer chipped in 11 and Horst had 10.

Lebanon was powered by a game-high 13 points from freshman forward Alexis Hill, while another freshman forward, Jasmine Turner, added 10. But none of those points, in the end, were bigger than Hoffer’s — who scored her only points of the contest with her game-winner.