JOHNSTOWN - The No. 2 seed Juniata Mennonite Lions and the No. 3 seed Centre County Christian Bulldogs battled it out at Cambria County Christian School on Thursday afternoon to determine who would move forward in the ACAA Basketball Championship.
The Lions would seal the advancement with a commanding 52-29 win over the Bulldogs.
JMS took a quick lead over the Centre County Christian in the first quarter. With their gritty offensive play, Juniata Mennonite scored 16 points in the quarter. Juniata Mennonite senior Lauren Breon led the team in the quarter, making three field goals.
The Lions added hard-hitting, aggressive defense to go along with their offensive prowess and forced Centre County to make mistakes often and turn the ball back over to Juniata Mennonite.
Centre County Christian made a stronger push in the game during the second quarter, scoring 10 points in comparison to their first quarter total of four. The Bulldogs saving grace on offense came from senior center Rachel Campbell. Her height and ability to put the ball in the net led to her game-high 20 points. On defense, Campbell made it difficult for the opposition to get past her.
"Their big girl kind of made it hard for us for the first half; we missed a lot of lay-ups. We just wanted to keep taking what they gave us." Juniata Mennonite head coach Andy Meiser said. "We didn't play really well; we were missing a lot of shots so it was kind of a strange game, but we stayed after it."
IF YOU GO
JMS versus ACAA top-seed Great Commission Friday at 6:30 p.m.
JMS continued to dominate throughout the second half. The Lions got to the line, but unfortunately could not capitalize, going 3-for-22. Their strong full-court press and commanding offensive play helped them secure the 23-point win.
With yesterday's win, The JMS will face the top-seed Great Commission at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
"We play the number one seed out of the west tomorrow night and we have not yet played them this year. It looks like it's going to be a pretty even match," Meiser said. "We'll have to play a lot better tomorrow night. If we can keep our offensive balance, that's probably the thing that we have more than almost anyone else in the league. We have a lot of girls that can hurt you so if we keep the team concept, I think we should be okay."