HAGERSTOWN — Conventional wisdom assumes that a matchup between a four-seed and five-seed will be a relatively close game.
However, the Grace Academy girls basketball team came out ready to defend its home floor Thursday against Calvary Christian Academy in the quarterfinals of the Mason Dixon Christian Conference tournament.
“We know they can score, so we’re going to press them all night,” Grace coach Larry Lorshbaugh said before the game. “If we get stuck playing half-court defense, we’ll be in trouble. We’re a little small for that.”
Grace locked Calvary down like a set of vise-grips, and half-court defense was never an issue as the fourth-seeded Knights cruised to a 55-35 victory over the fifth-seeded Eagles. Grace will host top-seeded Heritage Academy this evening at 6:30 in the semifinals.
Victoria Broadwater was a one-girl wrecking crew as she scored a game-high 27 points for Grace (14-9). She scored 12 of the Knights’ 13 first-quarter points as they took a 13-9 lead that they never relinquished.
“My teammates got me the ball and our press was really working tonight,” said Broadwater. “We really worked as a team.”
After a 7-0 run put Grace up 20-9 to start the second quarter, Calvary’s Lyndsie Lee drained two straight 3-pointers to cut the second-quarter lead to five. But the Eagles (11-9) wouldn’t get any closer. Grace led 24-19 at halftime.
“We had a layoff this week with no games or practices, and I think we came out a little flat because of it,” Lorshbaugh said. “But we adjusted and played a heck of a third quarter.”
The third quarter was all Grace. Its tenacious defense led to 10 Calvary turnovers in the period, including seven steals, as the Knights outscored the Eagles 17-4 to put the game out of reach.
Broadwater and Tori Aikens played in tandem in the third, as Aikens fed Broadwater for six points. That opened up Kelsey Koontz, who scored six of her 11 points in the decisive quarter. Aikens finished with eight assists and 11 rebounds for the Knights.
“I’m really excited to move forward in the playoffs, since we haven’t really made it this far since I’ve been here,” said Aikens. “Our defense was on that third quarter, and we were pressing the lane to get easy shots.”
“We took a step in the right direction,” Lorshbaugh said. “(The Eagles) hit a bunch of 3-pointers, but once we pressured them, they tailed off, and our two-man game was great in the third. I can’t wait to see Heritage Academy.”
Lee led the Eagles with 18 points, including four 3-pointers, while Calvary center Jojo Carr had 11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Grace Academy 55, Calvary Christian 35
CALVARY CHRISTIAN (11-9)
Mason 0 2-2 2, Thompson 0 2-2 2, Carr 5 1-1 11, Brackett 1 0-2 2, L. Lee 6 2-2 18, Hipsley 0 0-3 0. Totals 12 7-12 35.
GRACE ACADEMY (14-9)
C. Cox 2 0-0 4, V. Broadwater 11 5-7 27, A. Cox 1 0-0 2, Aikens 2 5-9 9, Koontz 5 1-4 11, Zlomke 0 2-2 2. Totals 21 13-22 55.
Calvary Christian 9 10 4 12 — 35
Grace Academy 13 11 17 14 — 55
3-point goals — Calvary Christian 4 (L. Lee 4). Rebounds — Calvary Christian 52 (Carr 15), Grace Academy 39 (Koontz 12). Turnovers — Calvary Christian 28, Grace Academy 15.