MC girls remain perfect in Section 3
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
The Manheim Central girls are a team that prides itself on defense.
Following a season-opening loss to Warwick, the Lady Barons won seven of their next eight while allowing just 33.1 points a game. The only blemish in that stretch was a 32-27 overtime defeat to a tough Mid-Penn team in Lower Dauphin.
"I asked our group if we could hold them under 10 points a quarter, we’re going to give ourselves a chance and we did just that against Lower Dauphin," Lady Barons’ first-year coach Tom McCabe said.
On Friday night, they gave themselves a real good chance against Northern Lebanon by using a stingy man-to-man defense and holding the Lady Vikings to an 8-for-39 shooting performance. That defensive effort, combined with a balanced scoring attack led by Renee Wiegand’s game-high 12 points, paved the way for the Lady Barons, as they knocked off Northern Lebanon 44-19 in a Section Three game in Manheim.
"Right now, defensively, I couldn’t be happier," McCabe said. "I mean, 19 points in a game against a good offensive team. We’re deep, we’re playing a lot of people and we’re playing with more intelligence right now. It was just a great team win."
They played more solid team defense on Tuesday night in New Holland en route to a 42-32 conquest of Garden Spot, improving their first-place record to 6-0 in Section Three (9-3 overall), three games in front of Lampeter-Strasburg and Northern Lebanon.
In their victory over Northern Lebanon, Lindsay Fink and Maddy Novak chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively, and Breanna Barber finished one point shy of a double-double, grabbing 12 rebounds and scoring nine points.
"Early on, we had that horrible game against Warwick where we shot 10-for-55," McCabe said. "Ever since, between Morgan Mummau, Maddy, and Lindsay, we’ve been raining ‘threes.’ Tonight, not as many. That says a lot for a team if an offensive player like (Mummau) gets shut out and everybody else steps up and contributes."
The victory pushed Manheim Central’s unbeaten record to 5-0 in league play (8-2 overall), two games in front of second-place Lampeter-Strasburg (3-2 league), who the Lady Barons face next Tuesday, Jan. 17 in a key Section Three showdown.
"We’re playing with confidence and we’re supporting one another," McCabe said.
That confidence was evident in the early going last Friday against Northern Lebanon, as the Central girls jumped to an 11-0 lead with Lady Vikings missing their first seven shots from the field. Fink, who also finished with six rebounds while playing through sickness, started it by draining a triple, and then Novak’s layup with 2:34 left in the quarter pushed it to an 11-point edge. Novak also grabbed all five of her rebounds in the opening eight minutes, and she scored eight of her 10 points in the first half.
"(Maddy)’s doing everything … loose balls, rebounds, assists and taking it to the rim," McCabe remarked. "I’m asking her to be a one at times just because of her strength and physicality and I couldn’t be happier with what she’s doing. She’s in a different role than she was last year, but I think because of that, we’re tougher to defend. We’re involving more people."
The Lady Vikings (2-3 L-L, 6-4 overall) finally got on the board with :25.9 left in the quarter, with Mikayla Diangelis converting a three-point play to make it 11-3 after one. But Wiegand and junior Kristin Robeson held Northern Lebanon’s leading scorer, junior Emily Brandt, off the scoreboard in the opening stanza. For the game, she led the Lady Vikings with 10 points while shooting 4-of-12 from the field.
"Brandt’s a heck of a player and she was dragging herself to the locker room," McCabe said. "I can’t be happier with Kristin and Renee how they handled her. And not just those two. We are looking to help off drives and recover … They’re a good team and when Diangelis gets healthy, they’re going to be good. When we go to Fredericksburg, it’s going to be a battle, I know that, because they’re a nice team."
The Northern Lebanon girls twice got within six points in the second quarter — the latter of those when Brandt sank two free throws to make it 13-7 with 6:49 left in the half. But Central ended the half on an 8-2 run, capped by Barber’s inside bucket, to stretch its lead to 21-9 going to the break.
Although the Lady Vikings held a 19-13 edge in rebounds in the first half, Manheim Central used a big second-half advantage in that department to win the battle on the boards, 31-29. Then when Fink and Barber scored on putbacks in the third, and Wiegand hit two shots from the foul line, the Lady Barons took a commanding 31-13 lead into the fourth quarter.
Wiegand also scored the first six points of the final stanza, including a layup with 5:26 remaining which put the MC girls up 37-13.
"(Renee) comes up big in big games and nothing bothers that kid," McCabe said. "Sometimes, I want to get her (a breather) and she just does her job."
Overall, Wiegand finished with eight of her 12 points in the final quarter, as Manheim Central outscored the Lady Vikings 13-6 to win going away.
"It was a team win," McCabe remarked, "and I’ve got a lot of excited kids in the locker room right now."
Unfortunately for the Central girls, though, they are still trying to battle through injury issues. Although they welcomed back senior Taylor Stoltz last week, the Lady Barons lost junior guard Caroline Novak for the season with an ACL injury.
But McCabe is pleased that they are not looking too far ahead.
"We’re going to take one at a time and hopefully we’ll get healthy," McCabe said. "I’m concerned about some aches and pains and colds. But we’ll be fine."
On Tuesday night, Wiegand’s 10 points paced the Lady Barons, whose 10-2 second quarter run gave them a 22-10 advantage going to the break. Central then outscored GS 10-5 in the third to put it out of reach. More LADY BARONS, page B-3