By Rohan Gandhi
Photos by Neil Goldenthal
The Conestoga girls basketball team defeated the Haverford Fords 53-34 on Thursday Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. to finish their regular season.
Before the game, seniors Liz Atwood, Sondra Dickey, Sara Hottenstein, and Ellie Mack were honored for the final performance at home for the regular season. The game got off to a slow start, but both teams gradually ramped up their performance. The first half was a deadlocked defensive struggle with the score tied at 12 at the end of the first quarter. The Pioneers improved their field goal accuracy through the game and made adjustments on defense, adding a full court press. The pressure paid off tremendously as Mack and Juniors Lindsay Erickson and Sarah Mascioli all had steals which lead to scoring,critical momentum shift. The Pioneers continued scoring as Erickson made one more steal, drove the length of the court and put the ball up to stretch the Pioneer lead to 23-18 at the end of the half.
Coming out of halftime, the full court press continued to have success and aggressive defense helped stretch the team lead even more. The Fords defense began to crumble in the second half after playing well earlier. Mack drained five 2 pointers in the third quarter alone on an amazing night of 24. After building a 36-26 lead at the beginning of the fourth, the Pioneers exploded and showed why they are truly a championship team. With the game well in hand, Coach Chris Jeffries took the opportunity to honor his seniors one last time by taking each one out of the game individually. As the girls walked off their home court for the final time, they were surrounded by their teammates and a round of applause from the Pioneer Pit. The team capped off the score at 53-34 to take a well-deserved victory.
“We were really excited about senior night” said Hottenstein. “It was sad that it might be our last home game but we have playoff games ahead so the season isn’t over.”
The win improves the Pioneers to 17-4, going 14-2 in the Central League. The team has clinched playoff spots in both the Central League and District 1 tournaments.
“The team energy has definitely gone up” said Hottenstein. “We brought up a few JV players to varsity and will keep practicing hard. We’re really excited for the season to continue.”
The Pioneers will next play in a Central League playoff match. The game details are still to be determined.