Monday, January 22, 2018
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CD East eliminates Lady Mounts

Points may be what appear on the scoreboard and in the box score, but the defensive numbers that CD East put up in its 59-28 win over Ephrata in Tuesday's night's District 3-AAAA girls' basketball round of 16 were just as impressive as any offensive stats.

The Panthers forced 26 turnovers, and blocked 12 shots put up by the Mounts. They also held the visitors without a field goal for a 13:32 stretch of the first half while building a 30-5 halftime lead.

“It was definitely our defense,” said senior guard Michaela Gelbaugh of what got CD East going early. “We wanted to spark it up with defense. We had a slow start the last couple of games because we weren't playing defense early.”

Ephrata scored on its first possession, but CD East had a shutout the rest of the first quarter to take a 12-2 lead. But it was early in the second quarter that the defense went from efficient to explosive.

Gelbaugh made a steal at the top of the key and took it herself for a layup to start the second quarter. She made another swipe at midcourt on the next play, and dished to Sara Desso for another score. Gelbaugh made it three in a row with another takeaway, though the Panthers did not score on the third one.

Those steals were three of the 12 turnovers Ephrata committed in the second period.

Gelbaugh and the other guards could take chances going for steals, because of the 12 blocked shots and numerous affected shots that the forwards producing in the paint.

“It definitely boosts our confidence as guards because they have our backs,” Gelbaugh said.

Brittany Robinson blocked five shots, three in the first quarter. Jada Pettis blocked four, and Desso, Lexi Lemelle and Alley Sneeringer each blocked one.

Robinson is 6-1 and Pettis is 6-0. Ephrata had no one taller than 5-9 on its roster.

“You can't practice against something like that, with the intensity, the speed and the size,” Ephrata head coach Mike Garman said. “They cover a lot of space.”

Robinson and Jessica Rawls, who is 6-1, each pulled in nine rebounds. The Panthers had a 46-39 rebounding advantage.

“We always look to rebound, we always look to fast break, we always look to hit the boards,” CD East head coach Larry Moore said.

With all the turnovers and blocked shots, it was hard for Ephrata's 1,000-point scorer, Kelly Liebl, to get her team back in the game. But Desso had her covered much of the game. Although she did pick up two fouls in the first quarter and missed a few minutes, Desso helped keep Liebl limited to two points in the first half.