SATURDAY'S GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Delone Catholic loses battle of basketball unbeatens to CV

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Delone Catholic Head Coach Gerry Eckenrode during girls' basketball action at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Cumberland Valley would win the game 65-42. Dawn J. Sagert photo

MECHANICSBURG – The Delone Catholic and Cumberland Valley girls’ basketball programs have each enjoyed enormous success over the past 20-plus years.

Saturday afternoon, however, marked the first time the Eagles and the Squirettes have faced off against one another.

While the CV girls are accustomed to taking on the larger and stronger teams in District 3 and beyond, the Delone girls rarely get the chance to take on some of the bigger schools.

So Saturday’s nonleague tilt was certainly much more valuable, in terms of experience, for the Squirettes, winners of a PIAA Class 3-A state title two seasons ago.

Through eight minutes of play, the two sides were neck-and-neck, with the host Eagles up 20-17 after the first period.

That’s when the experience and talent of the CV girls took over. The 6-A leaders in the District 3 power ratings used a blistering 14-1 run to open the second quarter and take control of the contest en route to a convincing 65-42 triumph in a battle of unbeatens.

“They’re really a good team,” CV coach Bill Wolf said of the Squirettes, who fell to 15-1. “And I think that maybe we got them on an off-shooting night, so we were fortunate that they didn’t shoot the ball like they normally do.”

Delone scored the game’s first two baskets to go up 4-0 early, but the York-Adams League Division III champions managed to score back-to-back baskets just twice more the rest of the day. For the contest, Delone made just 15 of 48 shots (31%).

“That’s not very good,” Delone coach Gerry Eckenrode said.

Jekot sisters shine: While the Squirettes were struggling to find the net, the CV girls had no such issues.

Led by the Jekot sisters — freshman Jill (20 points, eight rebounds, eight assists) and senior Julie (20 points) — the Eagles excelled.

“We shot the ball poorly,” Eckenrode said. “Now that’s a combination of them doing a very good job and of us not shooting the ball well. There’s no substitute for that, and we’re better shooters than that.”

Handling Delone's press: A lot of Delone’s funk can be attributed to how easily the Eagles were able to break the Squirettes pressure. Eckenrode’s team lives off of generating a ton of points from turnovers, but those were hard to come by Saturday. The Jekot sisters were able to navigate the ball up the court and, more times than not, the home team was able to generate points.

“I thought our transition defense was not very good,” Eckenrode said. “And that hurt us a lot. They got too many breakaways. What we normally do to other (teams), they were doing to us.”

Wolf agreed.

“They score a lot of points off their press,” he said “And we were successful in beating their press and they’re not scoring points off the press and they were not having a real good shooting night so it all kind of caught up to them.”

Hoddinott has foul woes: It didn’t help matters that Delone standout Giana Hoddinott (15 points) got into early foul trouble. The junior picked up her second foul on a player-control call late in the first quarter. That forced Eckenrode to keep his star on the bench for a bit.

“It’s a little harder to play when your best player is in foul trouble,” Eckenrode said. “But you have to overcome that.”

While Delone has seven to eight capable players that most teams would love to have on their rosters, any of the CV starting five would most likely be the best player on the majority of teams in the area.

Good experience vs. strong team: In addition to the Jekot sisters, center Dejah Hill finished with 12 points, while Abbie Miller added 10 to give the Eagles four players in double-digits in scoring.

“They’re a really good team, no doubt about it, but I think they played really well today,” Eckenrode said. “I think they shot the ball exceptionally well. You have No. 12 (Miller) knocking down shots and No. 33 (Hill) knocking down shots. When every one of their kids is knocking down outside shots it’s deflating.”

The good news for Eckenrode is that he and his team will not likely see another team like the Eagles, who improved to 15-0, until late in the state playoffs, if they manage to make it that far.

“They’re pretty, pretty good,” he said. “But it was a good experience for us and we learned a lot about ourselves.”

OTHER GIRLS' BASKETBALL

Spring Grove 42, Red Lion 39: At Spring Grove, the Rockets avenged their only D-I loss of the season. Spring Grove improved to 14-2 overall and 11-1 in the division. Red Lion fell to 11-5 and 8-4. On Jan. 26, Red Lion handed Spring Grove its only D-I loss, 62-60. The Rockets have won seven straight. Ella Kale's 14 points paced Spring Grove. Leah Kale added 10. Asia Eames (12 points) and Makiah Shaw (11 points) led Red Lion. Spring Grove grabbed a 21-13 halftime lead and then held on for the win.

Central York 39, Dallastown 36: At Central, the Panthers won the D-I battle to improve to 12-3 overall and 9-2 in the division. Dallastown dropped to 8-6 overall and 7-4 in D-I. Central has won six straight. Central used a 12-0 third-quarter run to take the lead after trailing 16-15 at halftime. Dallastown's 20-12 fourth-quarter surge fell just short. Bella Chimienti (15) and Georgia Panopoulos (12) combined for 27 of Central's points. Bria Beverly (15 points, three 3-pointers) and Haley Jamison (13 points, four 3-pointers) led Dallastown.

Eastern York 68, New Oxford 39: At New Oxford, the surging Golden Knights improved to 14-1 overall and 10-0 in D-II.  The Knights have won eight straight. Breana Grim poured in 22 points for the winners. Mara Weaver added 14, while Victoria Zerbe chipped in 13 and Arianna Seitz scored 12. Ella Billman led New Oxford with 14 points.

Christian School of York 50, Dayspring 17: At York, the Defenders improved to 8-1 behind 22 points, 23 rebounds and six blocks from Emma Bell. Kayleigh Rhine added 11 points 10 rebounds and five assists. Linda Brown, in her first game back from an ACL injury, had 12 rebounds.

York Catholic 51, Littlestown 29: At Littlestown, Drew Kile (15 points) and Juliaana Bona (10 points) led YC. The Irish improved to 8-6 overall and 7-3 in D-III.

York Catholic 51, Biglerville 21: At York, Drew Kile's 12 points paced the Irish.

Northeastern 43, South Western 28: At Manchester, Maskenzie Gross scored 12 points to lead the Bobcats. Olivia Sell had 13 points for South Western.

Fairfield 47, Waynesboro 26: At Waynesboro, the Green Knights won behind 18 points from Maddie Neiderer and 11 points from Breana Valentine.

Bermudian Springs 49, Greencastle 43: At Greencastle, the Eagles dropped the nonleague contest to drop to 10-5 overall. Greencastle improved to 10-3. Bailey Oehmig scored 19 points to lead Bermudian. Lillian Peters added 10 points for the Eagles.

York Suburban 50, Kennard-Dale 14: At Fawn Grove, the Trojans improved to 11-4 overall and 7-4 in D-II. K-D dropped to 2-14 and 0-11. Maddison Perring's 19 points led Suburban.

Dover 45, York Tech 44: At Dover, the Eagles won the nonleague contest for their first win, improving to 1-13. Tech fell to 6-10.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.