Girls Basketball falls to Abington, Finishes season 24-4

Article by Perry Mattern, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

COATESVILLE — The game plan by the Mechanicsburg girls basketball team was great. Coach Clay McAllister said the execution of the game plan by his team was perfect. But sometimes, even that isn’t enough.

Mechanicsburg was not able to cash in on a nine-point halftime lead, and fell 35-31 to District 1’s Abington in the second round of the PIAA Class AAAA tournament Tuesday night at Coatesville High School.

The Wildcats’ defense was there — like it has been all season — limiting Abington to just seven first-half points. For the game, the Ghosts shot an ugly 22 percent from the field (11-for-49). However, the offense came around when it counted for Abington as it outscored Mechanicsburg 17-8 in the final quarter.

Also akin to much of the season, Mechanicsburg struggled offensively. The selfless Wildcats often had long possessions that ended in turnovers or contested shots. Mechanicsburg made just eight of the 23 shots taken in the paint.

“I thought we attacked the basket exactly like we had to against that pressure,” McAllister said.

The officiating crew allowed plenty of contact in the lane — a detriment to Mechanicsburg’s leading scorer, Cecily Carl. The Wildcats’ forward finished 1-of-10 shooting from the field and shot just four free throws, despite a concerted effort by her teammates to get her the ball.

“I’m disappointed with all the contact on Cecily. She shot just four free throws tonight,” McAllister said of Carl, who graduates as Mechanicsburg’s all-time leading scorer. “But I’m also not going to sit here and lay it at the feet of the officials.“

Carl did impact the game in a big way, though. The American University recruit had a game-high 15 rebounds and six blocks. For much of the night Abington had no answer for her size and shot blocking in the lane.

Abington coach Dan Marsh was beyond impressed with Carl.

“(Carl) was a beast in there,” Marsh said. “She took away our penetration, (Mechanicsburg) closed out on our shooters, they took away our high low. They did everything perfectly.”

Perfectly wasn’t good enough, though. Following an abysmal 3-of-24 shooting performance in the first half, Abington turned to its defense to try and create offense. A variety of full-court and half-court traps bothered Mechanicsburg greatly. The Wildcats turned the ball over 19 times to Abington’s nine.

The Ghosts first lead didn’t come until the 4:27 mark in the fourth quarter on two free throws by Deja Rawls, who was huge down the stretch. Rawls finished with a team-high 11 points, making 7-of-10 free throws. The Wildcats desperately tried to force the ball away from her and Sammy Lochner (4-of-4 free throws made), but couldn’t do it.

“That’s the one thing that we do well,” Marsh said. “We’re like a 70-percent free-throw shooting team, which is really good for a high school team.”

Indeed it is, and Mechanicsburg could never break the four-point barrier created by Rawls and Lochner’s foul shooting in the final minute.

For the second year in a row, Mechanicsburg goes home via heartbreak after coming up just short to eventual runner-up Spring-Ford in last year’s PIAA second round. Last year’s group may have been more talented, but this version of Mechanicsburg (24-4) took grittiness to a whole new level.

“You can name 10 to 12 flat our hustle plays that we made tonight,” McAllister said. “They love each other and they wanted to keep playing.”

Article by Kate Harman,

For the full article, click here.

“We’re OK. We’re OK. We’re OK.”

Dan Marsh repeated that refrain to his Abington girls’ basketball team as they huddled on the bench at the end of the third quarter.

The Ghosts had cut Mechanicsburg’s lead from 11 points down to five.

They had overcome a slow start, poor shooting, and a seven-point first half to get themselves within two possessions.

So yes, compared to where they were at the start of the contest, Abington was most definitely OK.

Propelled by Deja Rawls and Lizzie O’Leary, the Ghosts mounted a gritty comeback at Coatesville, and defeated Mechanicsburg, 35-31, in the second round of the PIAA Class AAAA tournament.


“That’s a good basketball team,” Marsh said. “I’ll take that win. As ugly as it was, I’ll take it.”


The Ghosts (26-5) struggled offensively from the start, converting only three field goals in the first 16 minutes. But in the third, O’Leary scored nine of her team’s 11 points, igniting the comeback with some nice moves down low and sharp shooting.


“I knew I had to step up tonight, and everything I did was for the seniors,” the sophomore forward said. “They deserve one more game. It’s not their time to be done. They need more games – it’s their year.”


Rawls, a dynamic offensive threat in her own right, didn’t have the first half she was accustomed to on Tuesday night. So, the Siena recruit used her explosiveness to get to the hoop.


It paid off.


“I knew my shot was off in the first half,” said Rawls, who finished with 11 “So, I was like, attack, look for the kick and just make foul shots.


As they crawled back possession by possession, defense kept the Ghosts in the game. They swarmed the bigs for Mechanicsburg (23-4), while pressuring the guards.


O’Leary had the task of guarding American recruit Cecily Carl, a 6-foot-3 forward who can shoot the jumper. With some help-defense from Leah Simmons and Bre Bermel, they held the senior to three points.


“Lizzie was unbelievable,” Marsh said. “She shut that kid down – amazing job. I’m so proud of Lizzie.”


In Friday’s quarterfinals, the Ghosts will face off against Cumberland Valley, the defending Class AAAA state champions.


Abington got the ugly one out of the way Tuesday.


They’ll be OK.


Girls Basketball drops Red Lion, finishes 5th in D3

Article by Jeffrey Kauffman, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

HARRISBURG — Having already secured a PIAA berth, the game was only for seeding purposes and travel purposes.

Mechanicsburg utilized several runs of at least seven points and an 11-point third-quarter run to run away from Red Lion, 59-35, at CD East on Thursday night.

Mechanicsburg (23-3) gets to travel to the western part of the state for the PIAA tournament against the District 5 or 6 winner while Red Lion stays in the eastern part playing the District 11 champion.

“I thought we communicated very well on defense tonight,” Wildcats coach Clay McAllister said. “We have started slow throughout the playoffs so it was nice to be ahead because you can force the other team to do things they don’t want to do. We closed out on shooters, especially Dimoff.”

Mechanicsburg got two quick buckets by Cecily Carl and Kyra Scurcenski but the Lions offset that with a trey by Amy Maciejewski.

The Lions went on a four-point run to take a 7-4 lead. Ten points by the Wildcats in less than two minutes gave the home team a 14-7 lead, and after another seven-point run the Wildcats led 21-11. Suzy Batdorf was a key as she canned two treys and Carl added seven points in the quarter. Amy Maciejewski led the Lions with nine points and Courtney Dimoff added six points.

Kourtney Landis scored five points late in the second quarter and the Wildcats went into the locker room up 28-18. Five different Wildcat players had scored in the opening half while Red Lion had four different players score.

Mechanicsburg started to post up Carl, the American University recruit, and she was able to draw two quick fouls on Dimoff and also make four foul shots and extend the Wildcat lead to 34-20.

Mechanicsburg’s defense was equally stifling as Red Lion was exchanging the ball 25 feet from the basket. When they got in the paint, the Lions faced Carl and Jordan Hertz, who each tallied two blocked shots.

Mechanicsburg closed the game out with an 18-2 run followed a by another 9-5 run in the final four minutes.

“We enjoy playing with each other and we believe in each other,” Hertz said. “We know we can trust Cecily to score so it is important that we get other people involved as well. We knew where we would play and we wanted to stay close to home and we played well together tonight.”

“It was a good team win, especially when you can get younger players into the game,” McAllister said. “Kyra and Jordan played very well, especially Kyra, who has flown under the radar all season as a sophomore. Kourtney and Suzy got some huge boards and Cecily has been our go to player all year.”

Girls Basketball down Hempfield, Qualifies for PIAA Tournament

Article by Perry Mattern, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

LEBANON—Coaching girls basketball for 12 years has allowed Mechanicsburg coach Clay McAllister to see just about every situation and outcome. However, sports have a way of creating scenarios that seem impossible.

How about winning a game despite never leading it in regulation?

“In 12 years, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that,” McAllister said with a smile.

The Wildcats’ coach was smiling because his team did just that. Mechanicsburg rallied behind an outstanding performance from point guard Jordan Hertz to top Hempfield in double overtime, 51-45, in a District 3-AAAA consolation game at Lebanon High School. The win punches Mechanicsburg’s ticket to the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs and a place in the D3-AAAA fifth-place game Thursday against Red Lion.

“However you define toughness, tonight was a pretty good example,” McAllister said.

The Wildcats trailed by six with 2:23 to go – a lead that Hempfield held for a minute and a half—but Hertz hit her first 3 of the night to cut Hempfield’s lead in half with 53.4 to go.

Sometimes the fouling game works, sometimes it doesn’t. Monday was a night it worked perfectly for Mechanicsburg. Hertz’s 3 was set up by a miss on the front end of a one-and one. Hempfield then missed both foul shots on a shooting foul, and Mechanicsburg’s Kourtney Landis cut the lead to one with a layup. Once more, Mechanicsburg fouled, and once more Hempfield missed the first free throw of a one-and-one opportunity.

Mechanicsburg secured the rebound, but had no timeouts with roughly 25 seconds to go. Hertz received a pass, and it quickly became clear she wasn’t stopping until she got to the basket. Hertz was fouled in the act of shooting with 16.4 seconds to go. She missed the first, but made the second to tie the game.

“(McAllister) told me to run it down the floor and take it to the basket,” Hertz said. “Thankfully I got fouled, went to the free throw line and made one.”

Hertz was just getting started. Early in the first overtime she made another 3 to put Mechanicsburg ahead with 2:13 to go – the Wildcats first lead of the evening. However, Mechanicsburg couldn’t shut the door either. Ahead by three with under 15 seconds to go, Mechanicsburg’s Cecily Carl secured a rebound, but Hempfield was tied Carl up to force a jump ball with the possession arrow pointing the Black Knights way.

“That was a quick whistle, wasn’t it?” McAllister asked rhetorically.

Hempfield took advantage as Julianna Clark banked in a 3-pointer from the left wing to tie the game with 7.6 seconds remaining. Hertz’s shot on the run from deep missed left, sending the game to a second overtime – the fifth overtime period Mechanicsburg has played in the last four days. The Wildcats were knocked out of the winner’s portion of D3-AAAA in a triple overtime loss to Cedar Crest Friday.

“(Friday) was about as emotional and physically taxing game as you’ve ever seen,” McAllister said. “Three of (our players) played 44 minutes Friday night.

“(If we had lost) I think that would’ve been it. I don’t know. I don’t know that we could’ve regrouped it.”

The second overtime – aside from some foul shooting issues – was all Mechanicsburg. Hertz knocked down two more 3s to finish with a game-high 17 points. She knocked down 4-of-6 from downtown along with grabbing five rebounds.

“It was a nice feeling,” Hertz said. “I haven’t made a 3 in I don’t know how long. It was really nice.”

Cecily Carl chipped in 15 points and 13 rebounds while Landis also had a double-double – 12 points, 11 rebounds – for the Wildcats, which struggled to find offense early. Mechanicsburg shot just 11 percent in the first half as Hempfield packed the lane to keep Carl from getting good looks.

Hertz and the rest of the Mechanicsburg guards had plenty of room to shoot all night long, but were hesitant to pull the trigger. That all changed for Hertz late in a game she said Mechanicsburg refused to lose.

“Towards the end we knew that we really, really wanted it,” Hertz said. “We say it every time before the game starts. We’re not losing this one.”

Girls Basketball falls to Cedar Crest, drops to Consolation Bracket

Article by David Bohr, by Mark Palczewski,

For the full article and photos of the game, click here.

Cedar Crest advanced to the District 3-AAAA girls’ basketball semifinals and qualified for the state tournament with a 61-56 triple overtime win over Mechanicsburg on Friday night.

The Falcons (22-4) will play Palmyra in the semis at 5 p.m. Monday at Giant Center. Mechanicsburg (21-3) will face Hempfield in a consolation game at 6 p.m. Monday at Lebanon. Palmyra beat Hempfield 54-27.

Neither team led by more than two points in the first two overtimes, but Cedar Crest scored the first six points of the third overtime to go up 54-48 with 1:47 remaining.

Alyssa Austin scored the first two baskets of the period on a layup and a putback, followed by a layup by Rachel Miller. Austin finished 22 points, while Miller’s basket that gave the Falcons a comfortable gap was her only field goal of the game.

Click here for a look at how Austin and the other forwards impacted this back-and-forth quarterfinal.

“I said to my assistant coaches that if we could just get up four points I’d feel comfortable,” Cedar Crest head coach Jim Donmoyer said. “We’d be in the double-bonus and had good free throw shooters.”

The Falcons made five free throws in the last 1:06 of the game to keep the Wildcats (21-3) at bay. Mechanicsburg never made it closer than five points, somewhat holding themselves back after missing three of four free throws in a four second span.

“We won it on the defensive end,” Donmoyer said. “I think they got tired and started missing their shots.”

Mechanicsburg took a 44-42 lead in the first overtime with two free throws by Kyra Skurcenski with 1:21 on the clock. Austin made a free throw with 1:05 left and Ariel Jones added another with 38.4 seconds remaining to tie the game 44-44.

Jones’ other free throw was a miss that she rebounded. After a timeout, Cedar Crest’s inbound was stolen by Jordan Hertz, who connected with Cecily Carl on a fast break. Carl, who led all players with 29 points and 14 rebounds, made contact with a defender near the hoop, and was whistled for an offensive foul with 28.5 seconds left.

“I don’t know if you can print it or not, but there’s no way that’s an offensive foul on Cecily Carl,” Mechanicsburg head coach Clay McAllister said. “But I’m not taking anything away from Cedar Crest. They played their tails off.”

Jones, who scored a team-high 23 points, scored almost off the tip of the second overtime to put the Falcons ahead 46-44. Carl answered with a layup with 1:50 left to tie the game, and Hertz made two free throws with 1:08 remaining to put the Wildcats up 48-46.

Jones converted a layup with 30 seconds to play to tie the game 48-48.

“For a sophomore, she can get to the basket any time she wants,” Donmoyer said. “She’s a 10th grade kid who’s coming into her own.”

With Carl well protected, Mechanicsburg got a seven-foot jumper by a defended Suzy Badorf at the end of the second overtime that hit the iron.

Kourtney Landis had 14 points for the Wildcats, while Hertz added 11.

Girls Basketball downs McCaskey

Article by Jeff Reinhart,

For the full article, click here.

Last year, West Perry’s girls’ basketball team made a spirited run to the District 3-AAA championship and won a pair of PIAA playoff games during an unforgettable journey.

The key cog on that Mustangs’ team was Megan Smith, who had a spectacular senior season, which she capped with all-state honors on her way to a scholarship at IUP.

So who will this season’s key-cog senior be now that the playoffs have arrived?

I’ll throw a vote Cecily Carl’s way.

Mechanicsburg’s senior on Tuesday simply didn’t let the Wildcats lose.

Locked in a dead-even draw through three quarters with L-L League runner-up McCaskey in the first round of the District 3-AAAA playoffs on the Wildcats’ home court, Carl was fabulous in crunch time, and she came up with big bucket after big bucket, and big rebound after big rebound — plus four blocked shots — in Mechanicsburg’s resounding 50-33 win.

Resounding in that the Wildcats outscored McCaskey 17-2 in the fourth quarter, when Carl grabbed four of her eight boards. And her buzzer-beater J at the third-quarter horn put Mechanicsburg ahead for good, 33-31.

“Huge, just huge,” Mechanicsburg coach Clay McAllister said.

Much like Smith in playoff time last year, Carl stepped her game up another notch with the season on the line Tuesday.

“I’m going to try and play like that if I can,” Carl said, when reminded of Smith’s magical ride with West Perry last year.

“I try to have that (leader) mindset, but basketball is a team sport, and we need to have everyone contributing,” she continued. “But if I can lead by example, that’s great.”

It was certainly a great postseason start on Tuesday for Mechanicsburg, which knocked off a McCaskey team fresh off winning the L-L Section 1 title and making the league finals.

And the Red Tornado led deep into the third quarter on the road Tuesday, before Carl took over. Her third-quarter buzzer-beater was particularly debilitating for McCaskey, which never overcame that shot or Mechanicsburg’s 11-0 burst to open the fourth quarter.

“45 (Carl) did her thing,” McCaskey coach Brian McCloud said. “We didn’t get enough weak-side help on her. She’s a tough cover for anybody 1-on-1. And I think we allowed her to get way too many shots at the basket.”

Carl didn’t miss very often; she bucketed a game-high 24 points — 14 in the first half, which ended in a 19-all draw. It was that kind of a night — ultra close with neither team breaking away — until Carl’s shot at the end of the third quarter ignited the Wildcats.

“Cecily was dominating inside, especially in the fourth quarter,” Mechanicsburg point guard Jordan Hertz said. “That’s all we could ask for. She did an awesome job.”

On the glass. Scoring buckets. Blocking shots. Playing D.

This is when Smith got hot in her senior season, and things worked out quite well for West Perry.

We’ll see if Carl and Mechanicsburg turn out to be this year’s headline-grabbers.

Article by Brett Keener, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

MECHANICSBURG — Through three quarters Tuesday night, Mechanicsburg and JP McCaskey were about as evenly matched as two teams could be. The Wildcats and the Red Tornado battled through 11 ties and five lead changes, with neither squad ever leading by more than four points.

Then Mechanicsburg got to doing what it does best, and all of a sudden anybody’s game became the Wildcats’ postseason showcase.

Mechanicsburg’s powerful frontcourt helped the Wildcats outscore McCaskey 17-2 in the fourth quarter, and the No. 5 Wildcats rolled to a 50-33 victory over the No. 12 Red Tornado in a District 3 Class AAAA first-round girls basketball game at Mechanicsburg High School.

The win advances Clay McAllister’s squad to Friday’s quarterfinal round, where the Wildcats will face the winner of Wednesday’s meeting between No. 4 Cedar Crest and No. 20 Exeter.

“I think everybody was a little tight in the first half,” McAllister said. “This is the one you have to have or you’re done (for the season). I think they really want to keep playing, so they were a little tight. When we finally got two or three in a row we got a little breathing room and I think everyone relaxed a little bit.”

There had been little time for relaxation in the first three quarters, as both interior-oriented teams had the same game plan in mind (there were no three-pointers made) and the same amount of success in implementing it (there were no runs of more than five points).

The first hint of separation between the two came at the end of the third quarter, when Mechanicsburg forward Cecily Carl (game-high 24 points) swished a midrange baseline jumper to beat the buzzer and give the Wildcats a 33-31 advantage. The game would not be tied again.

Mechanicsburg grabbed control in the fourth behind the frontline trio of Carl, Kourtney Landis, and Suzy Badorf. Those three combined for 14 points and 10 rebounds in the fourth quarter, and it was Landis (14 points) that came up with perhaps the biggest play. After Mechanicsburg had opened a 37-31 lead, Landis converted a three-point play with 5:11 remaining to put the Wildcats up by nine.

“I think Kourtney’s and-one really got us going,” Carl said. “We were only up by six at that point, so she pushed us to a nine-point lead, and that play in general just seemed to really shift the game. That was really helpful.”

The Red Tornado had no answer for the sudden Wildcat push, and their shot selection began to deteriorate as the margin widened. Jaileen Short finally connected on a dribble-drive with 3:10 remaining to notch McCaskey’s first points of the fourth quarter, but by that time Mechanicsburg’s lead had climbed to double-digits.

“We just ran into a better team on their floor,” McCaskey coach Brian McCloud said. “We were in the game. We were right there. But they hit us with one big whopper, and that broke our back right there. They started getting it down low, and (Carl) did her thing.”

Carl had been the Wildcats’ saving grace in the first half, when she pocketed 14 of Mechanicsburg’s 19 points and tallied four blocks. The senior’s effort was key, as Landis had sat much of the second quarter after picking up two fouls in quick succession in the frame’s early going.

The teams were tied 19-19 at the break, and that deadlock remained through almost the entire third quarter. McCaskey got a spark (and eight points) from the return of leading scorer Ahnera Parker — who was also saddled with first-half foul trouble — before Carl’s buzzer-beater finally signaled the start of Mechanicsburg’s game-clinching run.

Girls Basketball defeats Palmyra

Article by David Bohr, by Harvey Levine,

For the full article, click here.

Mechanicsburg held Palmyra to under 20 percent shooting from the floor and kept the Cougars from scoring over an 11-minute stretch on the way to a 29-26 road win, tying the Wildcats and Cougars for first place in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division.

The victory may also pay off for Mechanicsburg (13-1, 7-1) in the District 3-AAAA power ratings. In the most recent rankings, the Wildcats were No. 4 and the Cougars (13-1, 7-1) were No. 1.

After a 13-11 first quarter in Mechanicsburg’s favor, points were hard to come by.

“It isn’t always going to be pretty, and that’s okay,” Mechanicsburg head coach Clay McAllister said. “You can compete in a lot of games if you defend.”

Defense and rebounding were key to the Wildcats’ triumph. They held Palmyra to 10-for-51 shooting from the floor, and outrebounded the Cougars 37-29. Although Palmyra did have six offensive boards in the first quarter, second shot opportunities dwindled as the game went on.

“They outrebounded us at our place last time,” McAllister said, referring to Palmyra’s 44-39 win on Dec. 9. “We’ve talked for week that with the team we have we can’t get beat rebounding. After we got ourselves settled the first two or three minutes, we rebounded pretty well.”

Kourtney Landis made a layup to put Mechanicsburg up 28-23 with 2:06 left in the game.

“Later in the game, I thought we attacked the rim like we needed to,” McAllister said. “Landis, [Cecily] Carl, they were both going after it.”

Kristen Smoluk answered with a 3-points basket for Palmyra to make it 28-26 with 1:48 to go.

Katie Dembrowski forced Jordan Hertz to the sideline and out of bounds for Mechanicsburg’s 18th turnovers to give Palmyra the ball back with under a minute to play. The Cougars missed a jumper, but got another opportunity after Mechanicsburg’sKyra Skurcenski missed the front end of a one-and-one.

Palmyra missed two shots, but again had a chance after a jump ball gave possession back to the hosts. After a timeout with 9.7 seconds left, an inbounds pass was deflected by Hertz. Molly Gundermann was able to get the ball again in the backcourt, but her pass was taken away by Skurcenski.

“We called an out of bounds play that gave us a couple of options,” Palmyra head coach Ron Berman said. “When the initial play broke down, we panicked.”

Skurcensky was fouled with 2.7 seconds left and made the first of two free throws for a 29-26 lead. Kristen Smoluk’s attempt from half court went too far as the buzzer sounded.

Suzy Badorf’s layup with 2:39 left in the first quarter put Mechanicsburg ahead 13-8. The Wildcats only scored two points in the next 12 minutes.

Palmyra began to take advantage with Maria Tukis’ 30-foot 3-point shot on the first period buzzer, making it 13-11. Then Dembrowski’s 3-point basket with 1:05 left in the second had the Cougars ahead 18-15 at intermission.

But Palmyra did not score throughout the third quarter. Meanwhile, Hertz’s layup with 4:35 left in the third put Mechanicsburg up for good, 19-18.

“What I’m impressed with is that Mechanicsburg plays good man defense with bigs,” Berman said. “Even when you get a jump shot, they defend with someone with a long reach.”

The Wildcats were up 21-18 at the end of three periods. Palmyra had a chance to take the lead early in the fourth but missed four straight free throws in the first 90 seconds of the quarter.

Carl, who led all players with 11 points, had a layup and free throw with 5:41 left to given Mechanicsburg its largest lead at 24-18. On the next possession, Katy McClellan banked in a 3-point shot to end the Cougars’ scoreless drought.

Landis led all players with 12 rebounds.

Carl blocked three shots, and Hertz blocked one.

Smoluk and McClellan had eight points each for Palmyra. Tukis grabbed seven rebounds.

Boys Basketball drops decision to Palmyra

Article by Andrew Callahan, Lebanon Daily News

For the full article, click here.

MECHANICSBURG>> Call it the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.

Buoyed by a newfound poise, the Palmyra boys basketball team claimed its fifth win since the holidays Tuesday, holding on for a 61-55 win at Mechanicsburg. Isaac Blatt posted a game-high 19 points to captain the Cougars (8-7), who survived a 28-point outburst in the fourth quarter from the Wildcats. Senior Bobby Dorta chipped in with 13 and Braden Vernet added a dozen to help avenge a home loss to Mechanicsburg from early December.

The victory pushed Palmyra above .500 for the first time this season, after the team stood at 2-6 after Christmas.

“Over the past couple games we’ve had really good poise,” Dorta said. “There have been some times where we could’ve caved in, but we stuck together … There was a lot of energy in the gym (tonight). It was a lot of fun.”

Down by 16 in the infancy of the fourth, Mechanicsburg (5-9) rapidly cut its deficit to six at only 3:30 to play. Cougars guard Braden Vernet then took a charge and, following a Blatt layup, knocked down a corner three for a 55-44 lead. While the Wildcats continued to attack with success, Blatt, Dorta and Eric Lynn (seven points) sunk enough free throws to constantly keep the margin at a three-possession difference until seconds remained.

“That’s just Mechanicsburg,” Palmyra coach Pete Conrad said of the late offensive explosion. “But we made enough free throws, we made enough plays, we showed enough toughness. It’s a tough place to win … To come over here and be up double figures and weather it, it shows we’ve continually improved.”

Austin Pittenger dropped 17 points to lead the Wildcats, but it was his classmate, Breon Coke (13 points), who drained a three to close the first quarter and hand Mechanicsburg a one-point edge. Yet Cougar junior Austin Yetter wouldn’t stand trailing for long, quickly nailing a long-ball of his own and then picking off a rocket Wildcat pass two possessions later. Now initiating a fast-break, Yetter fired up-court to Lynn, who drove through contact and scored to reclaim the lead at 15-13.

Then, thanks to a staunch defensive effort, the Cougars held the Wildcats to one field goal through the early stages of the second half. Over most of the night, Lynn was charged with caging Pittenger, while Dorta and Blatt were put on rebound duty.

“We were all over the glass and kind of changed the game that way,” Conrad said. “It’s not like we had some huge height advantage, but those guys played hard on the glass, definitely.”

Despite successfully pinning Mechanicsburg’s offense for a long stretch, Palmyra stayed within reach of the Wildcats until it reeled off a 7-0 run midway through the third quarter. And when the streak was finally snapped, four different Cougars scored for a 40-27 advantage with one period to go.

Palmyra will put its winning record on the line Friday at 7:30 p.m. during its next game, a home test against Red Land.

“It feels great because last year it wasn’t so good,” Dorta said of the team’s 8-7 mark. “We’re playing a lot better this year and playing great as a team.”

Mid-Penn Conference

Keystone Division

Palmyra 61, Mechanicsburg 55

Palmyra (8-7)

Isaac Blatt 7 3-7 19, Bobby Dorta 5 3-4 13, Eric Lynn 2 2-3 7, Braden Vernet 3 5-6 12, Austin Yetter 3 0-0 8, Brian Willis 1 0-0 2.

Totals — 21 13-20 61

Mechanicsburg (5-9)

Shane Homick 1 0-0 2, Austin Pittenger 6 3-6 17, Breon Coke 4 3-3 13, Brad Powell 1 2-4 4, Kyle Scheib 5 1-1 13, Josh Herring 1 2-5 4, Cade Alioth 0 2-4 2.

Totals — 18 13-23 55

Palmyra 9 16 15 21 61
Mech. 10 9 8 28 55

3-point goals — P 6 (Blatt 2, Yetter 2, Vernet, Lynn), M 6 (Austin Pittenger 2, Breon Coke 2, Kyle Scheib 2)

Team fouls — P 18, M 19

Fouled out — Alioth

Cecily Carl joins 1,000 Point Club

Article by Jeff Reinhart,

For the full article, click here.

WAYNESBORO — Welcome to the club, Cecily Carl.

It wasn’t the most spectacular way of scoring your 1,000th career point — not on a breakaway layup off a sweet give and go or a fade away jumper in someone’s mug or even a half-court buzzer-beater — but Mechanicsburg’s senior forward and American University recruit hit that magical milestone on Saturday night.

Carl canned the first of two free throws with 3:18 to go in the third quarter during the Wildcats’ 55-30 nonleague win at Waynesboro to join the 1,000-point club.

“When we came into the locker room at half, Coach (Clay McCallister) said I needed three points to get 1,000 and I was like, Oh great,” Carl said. “So we were trying to run a play to get me a 3, but I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I was hoping to get a couple of layups. So I made it with a foul shot.”

Carl scored 20 points in all, raising her career total to 1,004; she’s the third player inMechanicsburg history with 1,000 points, joining Taylor Miller (1,250 points) and Meredith Hollis (1,097).

Carl scored 10 points during her freshman season at Trinity before transferring into Mechanicsburg, which improved to 10-1 overall this season after topping Waynesboro on Saturday.

“I really haven’t been keeping track of the points; everyone else was keeping track,” Carl said. “I was nervous today because I found out how many I needed. I tried to look at it as another game. I’m glad I could share it with this team. I don’t create offense for myself and I don’t pass myself the ball, so this is a milestone for everyone. My current and past teammates really helped me achieve this. It’s really cool to experience this.”

McCallister agreed.

“It’s a great thing because she’s such a great kid,” Mechanicsburg’s coach said. “She’s so unselfish and she’s worked so hard for this, no doubt. Her teammates might have been more excited than she was. They were talking at halftime about what to run to get it to her. Her teammates were really excited, which was really nice to see.”

Carl is the fourth Mid-Penn player to hit 1,000 points this season, joining:

West Perry’s Madi Ulrich

State College’s Kyla Irwin

Cumberland Valley’s Kelly Jekot


Girls Basketball downs Waynesboro

Article by Jeff Reinhart,

For the full article, click here.

WAYNESBORO — Before diving headfirst back into its tricky Mid-Penn Keystone slate, Mechanicsburg came out of the holiday break on Saturday with a nonleague game at Waynesboro to kick off some rust and get back into the groove.

And the Wildcats walked away in good shape after toppling the host Maidens 55-30, as Cecily Carl popped in a game-high 20 points — and joined the 1,000-point club in the process — and Mechanicsburg roared to a quick 17-0 lead and never looked back.

Mechanicsburg improved to 10-1 overall and won its eighth game in a row, since a 44-39 setback to Keystone sole leader Palmyra back on Dec. 9.

Waynesboro slipped to 3-6 overall; the Maidens have lost five of their last six after a 2-game winning streak the second week of December.

CARL JOINS THE CLUB: Carl needed 16 points coming in for 1,000 in her career; she scored 10 points as a freshman for Trinity before transferring into Mechanicsburg, and she joined the club with 3:18 to go in the third quarter when she swished a free throw after getting fouled going up in traffic.

MAKE IT HERTZ: Mechanicsburg point guard Jordan Hertz was stupendous. When Carl wasn’t scoring at the glass and enjoying her milestone night, Hertz was picking apart Waynesboro from all angles.

Scoring in transition, on midrange shots in half-court sets and from beyond the arc, Hertz bucketed 18 points — 9 in the first half, when the Wildcats used the game-opening 17-0 spree to grab an 18-3 after the first quarter, and then enjoyed a 28-15 cushion at the break.

Hertz and Carl combined for 22 first-half points, and Mechanicsburg pulled away from there, capping it with an 18-7 fourth-quarter run, sparked by Hertz’s three buckets, including a dagger 3.

Hertz also beat the third-quarter horn with a runner in the lane, giving the Wildcats a comfy 37-23 edge.

CAT’S MEOW: Cat Weber, one of four sophomore starters for Waynesboro, scored a team-high 13 points for the Maidens, including a conventional three-point play to snap Mechanicsburg’s game-opening 17-0 run with 13 seconds left in the first quarter.

Weber hit one of Waynesboro’s three second-quarter treys, as the Maidens outscored the Wildcats 12-10 in the quarter and kept things interesting.

Chelsea Cover, another soph, hit a couple of 3’s and added 8 points for Waynesboro, which is 1-2 in Mid-Penn Colonial play.

STATS AND SUCH: Way too many turnovers for Waynesboro, which had 22 miscues; Mechanicsburg had just seven turnovers — none in the first quarter, when the Wildcats seized control right away. … Waynesboro out-rebounded Mechanicsburg 34-26, as Cover plucked a team-best 7 rebounds for the Maidens. … Carl had 8 boards and she blocked 3 shots for the Wildcats.


Mechanicsburg coach Clay McCallister — “We’ve been working really hard on defense. I don’t think we’re as good as we need to be defensively just yet. So we’ve challenged them a lot at practice. The teams in our league are so good and they score points. So we’ll have to be able to guard them the second time through. I’m happy with where we’re at offensively. We’ve been able to get the line a lot. I love our kids’ effort and I love their focus.”

Waynesboro coach Allison Steiger — “Mechanicsburg is big and they just plugged everything up in the middle. They were patient and No. 5 (Hertz) was fantastic driving. We didn’t have an answer for her.”

Girls Basketball defeats Greyhounds

Article by Dave Barth, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

SHIPPENSBURG — Scoring two points in the first quarter and eight in the first half usually does not get you a win in basketball.

The Shippensburg girls’ basketball team found that out the hard way Monday night in a 41-29 home loss to Mechanicsburg (6-1).

The Greyhounds (2-5, 1-3 MPC) held the Wildcats to a reasonable 41 points, but they couldn’t keep up offensively, something they have struggled with all season.

“For the first time all year we started driving the basketball, which we’ve been trying to make happen all year long,” said Shippensburg head coach Andrew Markel. “We seem to just be too satisfied on passing instead of looking for our shots tonight. We just have to make better shot toward the rim.”

The Mechanicsburg defense stifled Shippensburg’s offense from the get-go. After a layup by freshman Mariah Martin that brought the score to 3-2, the Wildcats shut out Shippensburg for the remainder of the first quarter.

With Ship 10-4 to start the second, Martin came right out after the break and sank a layup to close the deficit to six. But Mechanicsburg produced steady scoring while holding off the Greyhound attack.

Shippensburg scored only twice more in the half, on layups from Martin and sophomore Kayleen Sydnor to send the ‘Hounds to the locker room down 16-8.

Martin closed out the half with six points and two defensive rebounds, one of the few positive takeaways from the first half of the matchup.

Both teams came out with more intensity to start the second half. A fast start from Mechanicsburg had the Wildcats up 23-8 before Shippensburg could answer.

Back-to-back scores from freshman Kara Newell and senior Drew Lovett brought the Greyhounds to within 11.

Shippensburg kept pace for the remainder of the third quarter, closing it out down 31-21. Sophomore Natalie Nye sank the team’s only 3-pointer on the night with 9.5 seconds remaining to keep the Greyhounds in it.

Mechanicsburg did not let off the gas heading into the final quarter,building a 39-22 lead before Newell answered for the Greyhounds with a layup.

Nye and Martin closed out the game on a strong note, Martin grabbing a defensive rebound and travelling coast-to-coast to lay it in. But it was not enough, as the Wildcats grabbed their 6th win of the season 41-29.

“I like where we are at defensively, said Markel. “Forty-one points is what they ended up with today; I think that’s what our season average is, so I can live with that defensively. We just need an offensive identity. We are way below where I think we should be this far into the season, and we just need to be more aggressive.”

Shippensburg travels to Middletown for its first game of 2015 on Jan. 3 in a 2:30 matchup. The Blue Raiders hold a 6-2 record on the season, and beat Red Land 58-43 on Saturday.


Mechanicsburg 10 6 15 10 — 41

Shippensburg 2 6 13 8 — 29

MECHANICSBURG (41) — Kyra Skurcenski 1 0-0 3, Jordan Hertz 3 1-2 8, Kourtney Landis 5 4-6 14, Maya Gelnett 0 0-0 0, Suzy Badorf 1 4-7 6, Missy Fullard 0 0-0 0, Rachel Deveney 0 0-0 0, Kacey Campbell 0 2-2 2, Natalie Patterson 0 0-0 0, Cecily Carl 3 2-2 8, Gabriela Huggins 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 13-19 41.

SHIPPENSBURG (29) — Kara Newell 2 0-0 4, Drew Lovett 1 0-0 2, Courtney Coy 1 0-0 2, Morgan Fetter 0 0-0 0, Kayleen Sydnor 1 0-2 2, Nicole Baker 0 0-0 0, Brooke Barrett 0 0-1 0, Natalie Nye 2 1-4 6, Denice Lovett 1 0-2 4, Mariah Martin 4 1-2 9. Totals: 12 2-11 29.

3-point goals — Mechanicsburg 2 (Kyra Skurcenski 1, Jordan Hertz 1), Shippensburg 1 (Natalie Nye 1).