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High School Girls' Basketball - District 3-A Playoffs - Upper Dauphin Area

Trojans upset 2nd-seed,
earn semifinal berth
By Janet Smeltz, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

LANCASTER • If Upper Dauphin Area’s  Feb. 22 trip to Lancaster County Christian – which included arriving at the wrong school and a detour through downtown Lancaster on a busy afternoon – was a sign of things to come, then the Lady Trojans’ season would come to an abrupt end.

This ended up not being the case, as seventh-seeded UDA punched its ticket to the District 3, Class A semifinals with a 38-33 upset of the second-seeded Lady Lions.

Taylor Brown got things started for UDA with six quick points in the first quarter, but that would be it for the visiting team as the first quarter would end with LCC ahead 8-6.

‘‘Our game plan was to go out and play hard like we always do,’’ Brown noted.  ‘‘We knew that LCC had scrappy defense, so we knew we had to be strong with the ball for an entire 32 minutes.’’

The second quarter would be much kinder to the Ladies of Troy, as Mckenzie Miller canned seven of her nine points for the game and their defense stifled the home team and held them to just two points.  The 12-2 frame enabled the traveling Trojans to take an 18-10 lead into the mid-way break. 

“I was pleased at half-time that we were able to play like we did in the second quarter. Good, solid defense and making shots.  Always easier said than done.” UDA Head Coach Rich Hoffman said.

‘‘At halftime we were up 18-10 and Coach Hoffman gave Whitni Rudisill and I the responsibility to not let their leading scorers score,’’ Brown commented. ‘‘He told us if we kept the ball out of their hands we would come out with a win.’’

Unfortunately, the third quarter would not go as well for Hoffman’s group. While Brown put five more of her game-high 17 points on the board, only sophomore Hollen Bellis was able to add anything else to the cause hitting a baseline jumper. Meanwhile, LCC put 14 on the board, and by the end of the third frame, the UDA lead was down to 25-24. 

‘‘As the two high scorers were being shut down the rest of the LCC team began to hit some shots and that got them back into the game,’’ Brown said.

For much of the final frame it was the Lady Trojans clinging to a very small lead as the Lady Lions continued to play very good defense.  With less than two minutes remaining, it looked as if heading to the wrong school would not be the least of UDA’s problems as scoring became tough and LCC pulled ahead 30-28.

Things finally started looking up again as sophomore Kelsey Hoffman hit the biggest shot of her young varsity career.  With 1:40 to go, Hoffman found the bottom of the net with a three  pointer and put her team up by one.

Although the game was far from over, it was a much needed pick-up for the Lady Trojans. Over the course of the last 90 seconds, a lay-up from Brown, two clutch foul shots by Rudisill, and a couple big rebounds, UDA earned itself another semifinal berth as well as a possible return trip to the state playoffs.

“These girls put everything they had into this today and clawed their way to a well-deserved win,’’ Hoffman said. ‘‘They really are a fun bunch of girls to be around.’’

For Brown, it all was about teamwork. 

‘‘The key to our victory yesterday was to keep our head in the game at all times,’’ she said. ‘‘When Kelsey Hoffman hit the three point shot about half way through the fourth quarter, the momentum was back in our hands which helped us come away with the win. Our game plan going into every game whether we win or lose is to play together and we always seem to do so.’’

UDA 51, Veritas Academy 27, Feb. 19. Both the seventh-seeded Lady Trojans and the tenth-seeded Lady Monarchs struggled offensively in first half of this D3-A opening round game, as the rims were as cold and icy as the snow outside Foster Gymnasium.

But led by Brown’s outside shooting, the Lady Trojans put away Veritas Academy 51-27 Feb. 19, advancing them to the D3-A quartfeinals against Lancaster County Christian Feb. 22.

UDA’s defensive efforts forced Veritas Academy into a dozen turnovers in the first period. Transition points were hard to come by, however, as the ball spun in and out several times on several of UDA’s drive attempts inside the paint. But despite the cold offensive start, the Lady Trojans managed to pull ahead 13-2, with Brown leading the attack with six points. 

The second period saw the Trojans move further ahead 21-6, as Brown scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the first half.

‘‘I was pleased with how we came out in the first quarter, but we seemed to play as if we were content late in the first quarter and well into the second." Coach Hoffman noted. ‘‘That said, we finished the half strong and played with good focus in the second half.’’ 

The Trojans struggled with turnovers at times, but the Monarchs could not take advantage. In the second period, Veritas did not score a single field goal as the Trojans used tenacious defense to disrupt the Monarchs’ offensive efforts. 

‘‘During half time of our game, Coach Hoffman told us that we needed to go out and play a solid sixteen minutes of basketball and that's what we did,’’ Brown noted.

Sweger hit a bucket inside the paint to ignite their game.  Brown’s drive was followed by Miller’s outside shot at the elbow. After another Brown drive, Autumn Walker drew a foul and canned a free throw.  Walker's pass to Brown on an inbounds play fueled a three point play.  Hollen Bellis ended the third period on an inside drive and the Trojans led 34-18.  Upper Dauphin hit six-for-14 from the field as their offensive game warmed up.  Veritas scored 13 points on free throws and buckets by Hannah Kline and Kara Martin. 

The last quarter was highlighted by some Sweger’s nice inside moves, as well as a couple of Miller buckets.  Cameron Koppenhaver earned a three point bonus play and Terri Shoop injected adrenaline into the Trojan fans with a crowd pleasing trey to end the game and secure the victory. 

‘‘Every time we are in a huddle, we say ‘together’ because that's the way our team and Coach like to play. We were also strong inside and from the perimeter.  We were hitting shots outside and our forwards did a good job posting up for lay-ups,’’ Brown said.

‘‘Winning the first round game felt better than winning our first round game last year. We had a lot of fans and having a home game added to the excitement,’’ Brown added. ‘‘No matter what five players were out on the court, they were giving 110 percent. Everybody showed up ready to play.’’

For Coach Hoffman, playing in front of the home crowd was a lot of fun and an added bonus to the victory.

‘‘(Thanks to) players from neighboring schools, our ever present parents/families, our student body, and a special shout out to our teachers who helped fill the stands tonight,’’ He said. ‘‘It made

Brown led UDA with 19 points and five steals.  Rudisill earned three assists, one steal and eight rebounds. Miller added eight points, five assists, four steals and eight rebounds. Sweger contributed with 13 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. Walker earned four steals. The Trojans committed 15 turnovers and grabbed 38 rebounds.





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