RED LION — Coming into the District 3-AAAA girls' basketball tournament, Red Lion coach Don Dimoff wanted his team to tighten things up on the defensive end.
With Tuesday night’s third quarter against Cedar Cliff as evidence, it was obvious his team got the message. The Lions kept the guests off the scoreboard in that quarter and used that effort to cruise to a 49-28 victory in their district first-round contest.
Red Lion now returns to the quarterfinals, where it lost to eventual champion Cumberland Valley last season.
This season, the No. 3-seeded Lions (24-2) will face No. 6 Cedar Crest (21-3) at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Penn Manor High School. The Falcons defeated No. 11 McCaskey on Tuesday, 64-43.
“We have grown. Hopefully we will be able to do a little better this time in that round,” Dimoff said. “We feel we are as good as anyone if we play well. But by the same token, if we don’t do the things we do well, anyone can beat us.”
York-Adams League tournament champion Red Lion held a trim 18-15 lead at halftime before making the necessary adjustments to tame the Colts after the break. One of those tweaks was keeping Cedar Cliff off the glass. The Lions’ attention to that detail paid off with an 11-3 advantage in rebounds during the third quarter.
Natalie Reba provided the spark offensively, scoring eight of her 12 points in the third to help the Lions close the stanza with a 15-0 margin. Courtney Dimoff scored five of her game-high 17 points in the third as well to help Red Lion create a comfortable cushion.
“I thought we did a great job defensively,” Don Dimoff said. “We did a good job listening to the scouting report, knowing what they were running and getting where we needed to be. The big thing was, I don’t know if they got any second- or third-chance opportunities in the third quarter.”
Senior Kami Harvey was her usual self underneath the basket, playing a large part on the defensive end by using her 6-foot frame to block six shots, and altering the course of a few other Colt misses, while also grabbing seven rebounds and scoring four points. Her play was highlighted by an energetic series during the second quarter when she blocked consecutive Colt shot attempts during the guests’ best attempt at gaining the lead.
“It’s something that gets me going,” Harvey said. “My confidence doesn’t really come from shooting the ball. It comes from blocking, of course, because usually I have more blocks than points. Courtney knocking shots down, and other people stepping up, and of course Natalie, she played wonderfully, I knew we were OK.”
While only listed a 5-feet, 5-inches, junior guard Amy Maciejewski was another key contributor in the paint, pulling down nine boards to go along with her seven points.
“They scored 15 points in the first half, and if I counted right, six or eight were off of second-chance opportunities,” Don Dimoff said. “And we cleaned that up, and because we cleaned that up, they had a hard time scoring the second half.”
The Colts' season ends at 15-9.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.