Clintonville A balanced attack offensively and speed on the defensive end helped the second seed Elizabethtown-Lewis girls varsity basketball team advance to the Section VII/Class D finals with a 68-51 win over Keene Feb. 25.
The Lions used a 13-7 second quarter to extend an early lead to 27-20 at the half and held off a couple of Keene surges in the second half to keep the lead.
“We were getting the ball to Tucker (Geiger) and Naomi (Peduzzi), but they had a very low shooting percentage, which is a credit to their defense,” Keene head coach Brian LaVallee said after the game. “We started to climb the hump a couple of times but just could not get over it.”
Keene also suffered from a depleting bench as Peduzzi and Taylor Geiger fouled out in the fourth quarter. Prior to that, Elaina Smith left the game in the third with a low leg injury.
Lions head coach Don Ratliff said his team played the style they needed to against the third-seeded Beavers.
“That’s the only way that we are going to beat good teams is when we have balance,” he said. “We have potentially the two best players in the league, but you are not going to win these games with just two players.”
Valley Leading scorer Lily Whalen (19.8 ppg) scored 18 points to lead the Lions, while second-leading scorer Jasmin Barnes (14.3) finished three assists shy of a rare quadruple-double with 16 points, 14 rebounds, 11 steals and 7 assists.
“I think we executed well,” Barnes said. “We had some nerves at the beginning of the game but we worked together and played as a team.”
“I was nervous because I got in foul trouble early, but I just slowed down and made sure not to reach,” Whalen said. “We were able to spread it out and play great defense.”