Balanced scoring leads Lady Barons past PV

By on January 23, 2014
Manheim Central’s Lauree Wiegand (32) goes head-to-head against Pequea Valley’s Amanda Houck during action last Friday. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Manheim Central’s Lauree Wiegand (32) goes head-to-head against Pequea Valley’s Amanda Houck during action last Friday. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Through their first 14 games this season, the Manheim Central girls basketball team was averaging 37.3 points per game.

Shy of their goal to score at least 40.

Last Friday night, the Lady Barons’ offense looked more like they hoped it would be.

All five starters scored in double figures, led by Sarah Painter’s game-high 17 points, and the Central girls crushed Pequea Valley 68-34 in a Section-Three Four crossover in Manheim. Olivia Novak added 10, Dani Ober scored 11, while Kelli Barber and Lauree Wiegand each chipped in with 10.

Coming off a game in which they defeated Lancaster Mennonite 53-35, the Central girls’ 68 points against the Lady Braves marked a season-high, helping them win back-to-back games for the first time this season.

The win improved Central’s record to 4-6 in Section Three (5-10 overall) with seven games left in the regular season.

“I think we are (playing better),” MC coach Dan Cotchen said. “We’re a little more consistent offensively, we’re scoring some points, we’re getting a little more efficient with the basketball. We still have a few spots in the game that we kinda still revert to maybe turning the ball over a little bit more and things like that. That’s one of our goals, just to continue to build on these two games and get a little more consistent as we go.”

Alyssa Hershey led Pequea Valley with 16 points and senior guard Heather Lockard added 10. Lockard and Victoria DeHaven combined to hit three shots from beyond the arc to give the Lady Braves (2-7 Section Four, 6-8 overall) the early lead.

But Manheim Central righted the ship and went up 14-13 after one, then outscored Pequea Valley 18-4 in the second to open up a double-digit lead at the break.

“I think the key was we just picked up our intensity on defense,” Cotchen said of his team’s second-quarter run. “I was a little disappointed at the start of the game. We pointed out that they’ve got three 3-point shooters than can consistently make baskets. The first three shots Pequea made were 3-pointers. We kinda lost focus a little bit there at the beginning of the game, but we rebounded from the standpoint of recognizing who we’ve got to step out and cover.”

Getting balanced offensive production and shooting 45 percent from the field, of course, was another big part of their success. In games that the Lady Barons have scored at least 40 points this season, they are 4-3.

“At the beginning of the year, we talked about the fact that we want to find a way to score at least 40 points every game, and if we can do that, we can consistently compete and get ourselves in the win column,” Cotchen said. “But nights that we don’t get 40, obviously it becomes real difficult. When we’ve got balanced scoring from everyone, then Sarah Painter doesn’t have to be that dominant scorer and things like that.”

Pequea Valley clawed back within eight with roughly 5:00 left in the third, but it was all Central down the stretch. They took a 52-27 lead at period’s end and then outscored the Lady Braves 16-7 in the fourth to pull away.

“I called timeout again (when PV was within eight), we refocused and then I think from that point, we broke the game open,” Cotchen said.

The Lady Barons will now look to carry their momentum into their remaining games, starting this week when they face Northern Lebanon, Lebanon Catholic and Daniel Boone.

“We’re in no position to overlook anybody,” Cotchen said. “We believe everybody on our schedule from this point out, we can beat. We also believe that if we aren’t focused and we don’t play well, everybody can beat us as well. So that seems to be our outlook on the rest of the season. Take nobody for granted.”

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