ELIZABETHTOWN - The Greenwood girls basketball team has come a long way in a relative short period of time.
Taking over a squad that posted a dismal 3-19 mark a season ago, first-year coach Amy Davidson set a goal for her team - to qualify for the District 3 tournament.
Her girls responded by not only making the District 3 Class A field, but advancing as they traveled to Lancaster County and shut down Mount Calvary Christian, 34-25.
Sophomore Mallory Fortenbaugh was a force to be reckoned with as she led the Wildcat charge with 11 points, seven rebounds and seven steals.
"She's been a constant for us," Davidson explained. "Even if she's not having a big scoring night her ability to do the little things like ensuring the ball gets across half court are invaluable."
Freshman Niki Willi cleaned the glass by pulling down a game-high nine rebounds as the 'Cats dominated the boards by a 33-24 overall mark. Senior Hattie Kuhns chipped in with six points, three boards and a pair of steals despite being in foul trouble most of the night, and freshman Jesse Sheaffer delivered four points and rebounds off the Greenwood bench.
Greenwood (10-11) grabbed control early as it raced to a 7-1 lead that ballooned to 11-2 late in the first quarter. The Chargers narrowed the margin to 11-5 by the end of the first, but the visitors burned the nets in the second, sinking eight of 11 shot attempts in the frame to take a commanding 27-10 lead to the locker room.
Freshman Maddie Pyle came off the Wildcat bench and delivered as all six of her points came in that stanza.
Takeaways also proved crucial in building the Greenwood advantage as Mount Calvary committed more turnovers (18) in the first than attempted shots (13). Turnovers plagued the contest as the two squads could have opened a bakery and nearly filled the first five-dozen order. As hot as Greenwood was in the second quarter, it got equally as cold after the break, connecting on just three of 25 second half shots.
"We played strong defensively in the second half," Davidson said. "Luckily it compensated enough for our offensive struggles to prevent them from resulting in a loss."
Also lucky for the Wildcats was the Chargers' inability to make free throws as only nine of their 27 attempts resulted in points - including just five of 16 after halftime.
The third quarter was pretty much a stalemate as only six total points went on the board (four for the Wildcats, and two for the Chargers). Mount Calvary made a run in the fourth, but could get no closer than what ended up being the final margin of nine. Freshman Lydia Ewing tallied six of her seven - including a 3-ball - as the Chargers won the fourth 13-3, but it was too little, too late for the home team.
Junior Alexis Ruff also drained a three during the Charger run. Freshman Abigail Ruff led Mount Calvary with eight points.
The last Greenwood girls district playoff win came in 2012, a 59-20 opening round drubbing of Berks Christian. That squad then fell to Harrisburg Christian 45-38, which is who this year's squad will face off against this Saturday. Harrisburg Christian (20-1) is the top seed and had an opening round bye.