Offensive woes cost Greenwood
While the Greenwood girls’ squad may have a bright future ahead of it a very veteran-laden Harrisburg Christian squad took full advantage of the Wildcats’ inexperience delivering a 46-19 trouncing in their District Class A quarterfinal match-up.
The Knights (24-1) were starting an all senior lineup, while four of the five starting Wildcats were sophomores or freshmen.
“We have an amazing group of seniors who have been playing together since fifth grade,” Harrisburg Christian coach Steve Bechtel said. “They have incredible commodore, and they came in tonight focused, and once things got rolling it was off to the races.”
His squad jumped to an early 12-2 lead based on the strength of seven opening quarter points by Katie Bechtel.
Greenwood clawed back as a pair of conventional three-point plays by sophomore Mallory Fortenbaugh and freshman Nikki Willi rallied the ‘Cats to within 12-8 early in the second quarter.
Freshman Jesse Sheaffer’s bucket pulled Greenwood back to within four at 14-10, but shortly thereafter, sophomore Morgan Kauffman picked up her third foul which shook up the chemistry.
“I think we had a good flow going (in the second quarter), first-year Greenwood coach Amy Davidson said. “They were working really well together, but (Kauffman) picked her third foul and we had to get her out of there.”
Things spiraled downward from there. The Knights closed the quarter on a 10-5 run to take a 24-15 lead to the locker room. Turnovers also proved costly as the ‘Cats coughed the ball up 16 times in the first half (23 times overall).
Greenwood went ice-cold in the second half, going 1-for-21 from the field, allowing HC to build a 39-18 by the end of the third, which Harrisburg Christian rode to the 46-19 victory.
Fortenbaugh led the team with five points, while senior Hattie Kuhns, Kauffman, Willi, and Sheaffer each tallied three.
Rebounding was a strong suit for the Wildcats as they won the battle of the boards by a 39-35 margin.
Fortenbaugh and Willi each secured nine, while Kauffman corralled eight, and Sheaffer pulled down six. Kuhns also contributed four to the cause. Fortenbaugh also registered three swipes while Sheaffer recorded a pair of steals as well.
Knight center Sierra Dixon proved a dominating force inside as she finished with a double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds).
“Our point guard Creslyn VanDyck (who had a solid line of 14 points, four rebounds, and four steals of her own) does a great job seeing if (Dixon) is open and getting her the ball at the right time,” stated Coach Bechtel. “And Sierra is a forceful presence inside and incredible on the boards.”
Katie Bechtel tallied eight points while snaring five steals and four rebounds. Samantha Krasevic chipped in five points, and grabbed five boards and three swipes. Haley Bower contributed five rebounds and four points.
Despite the bitter finish to the season, the Wildcats showed substantial improvement after coming of a meager 3-19 campaign a year ago.
Greenwood posted a 10-11 regular season mark including 9-7 in TVL games despite losing senior Emily Fisher to a season-ending injury early in the season. The team also advanced in the District tournament by downing Mount Calvary Christian 34-25 in the preliminary round.
The young roster means the ‘Cats will be returning a very experienced lineup next season.
Sophomore starters Fortenbaugh, Weger and Kauffman will all be back and after it next year.
Greenwood will again look to contend with league-unbeaten and two-time defending Tri-Valley League Champion Juniata, who will also have a bulk of its firepower back.
“Now that this season is concluded we will start focusing on that,” stated Davidson. “I am looking forward to the time I have left with a lot of our main players here. We have to get back to work and continue to improve.”