Original article appear in the Elizabethtown Merchandiser. By Leah Sintic. Photos Cheri Sine & Jared Griest
Entering last week’s CCAC playoffs as the defending champions, Mount Calvary safeguarded their title and repeated their success on Saturday, February 15, taking down Conestoga Christian, 64-52, to claim the CCAC championship for the second consecutive year.
The Chargers and Cougars swapped both possessions and leads in three tightly contested quarters, but the final quarter was when the Mount Calvary offense exploded, opening up as much as a 19-point lead.
Lead scorer Aidan Masters was a major factor in the fourth quarter surge, netting 15 of his game high 27 points.
“I struggled in the first half but focused on getting shots in the flow of our offense and getting to the hoop,” Masters reflected.
The junior was quick to give credit to the team-wide effort and praise the Lord for their success. “We pulled together as a team and prevailed. Glory to God that we were able to get the win as a team tonight,” he added.
Nine Charger players put points on the scoreboard and all contributed in some way to the team triumph.
Chip Stambaugh was a powerful offensive force when the team needed him, particularly in the early minutes before the Chargers were able to break away from the Cougars, putting in 10 of his 14 total points in the first half.
“It’s easy to be proud when we win back-to-back, but I just feel blessed to have the opportunity to coach this team,” explained head coach Kory Pruner. “They work so hard and have great attitudes.”
A 20-2 season record, which included a 12-0 sweep of CCAC regular season matchups, earned the MC squad a bye in the preliminary round of the conference playoffs, but before gaining admittance to the championship game, the team first needed to bypass Lititz Christian and did so in a 62-51 victory on Thursday at home.
A slow first half for the Chargers resulted in a narrower lead than they had hoped for at the halftime break, holding just a four-point advantage over Lititz, 28-24.
“We were very aware of what we were not doing well,” acknowledged Pruner regarding the first half. “The team had a determined focus in the second half to improve. I loved how they responded to adversity with a fighter’s mentality and kept each other accountable.”
Masters led the offensive contributions, putting in 22 points with over half of them coming from beyond the arc, netting four three pointers and dishing out five assists.
The second half Charger resurgence also was largely thanks to an influx of points from Stambaugh who amassed 14 of his 18 points in the latter half and also led the team in steals with three.
Hunter Stewart gave the team several opportunities to convert, leading the way on the boards, pulling down 11 rebounds.
The post-season journey is far from over as the team now sets their sites on a District III playoff run, earning a first-round bye and facing their first District III opponent on Thursday.
The girls CCAC playoff run ended on a bittersweet note last Saturday. Despite two prior wins earning them a spot in the finals, the team fell 34-23 to Christian School of York in the title match.
Fouls and a scoring drought in the first half put the Lady Chargers at a 25-8 deficit at the midway break, but, to their credit, the team refused to quit and rallied in the third, going on a 9-2 run to open the period. Despite their efforts, the squad came up just short of a full comeback.
In order to punch their ticket to the finals, the Mount Calvary crew needed to take down Lititz Christian, and got the job done in overtime on Thursday night, 38-31.
With neither team able hold onto the lead for long, the contest resulted in a knotted game at 27 apiece when regulation expired, but the overtime period turned out to be the Lady Chargers strongest on both ends of the court, going on an 11-4 run advance to the finals.
A dozen points from Kara Locker kept the Chargers offense rolling, supported by eight from Julia Martin and seven from Naomi Ewing.
Defensively, Ewing and Kenzie Baughman put the pressure on the Eagles coming up with five and four steals respectively.
On Tuesday, the first round of the tournament held a lack of points for either opponent and turned the match into a defensive showdown in which the Chargers managed to squeeze past High Point Baptist, 27-22.
High Point entered the week as the third seed in the CCAC East division, and being the teams’ first clash against each other this season, neither could be certain what to expect.
“We felt like it was a good matchup for us defensively, that we could hold them to a number in the twenties,” noted Ferrari. “As it turns out, we absolutely had to hold them in order to win because we struggled so much on offense.”
Utilizing their full court and man-to-man defense the Lady Chargers used their speed and intensity to control the contest, and despite the slow-going on the offensive end, the strategy worked and was enough to advance the MC club.
“Our game plan was to speed the game up and create the tempo that we felt comfortable playing, which is typically a lot faster than most teams are comfortable with,” Ferrari added.
Locker led the point count with 11, and Baughman netted another eight.
Ewing dominated the boards, pulling down 10 rebounds for the Chargers, and Martin picked up a pair of steals to complement eight rebounds.
Up next the team turns their attention to the first round of PIAA District III playoffs as the fourth seed of the class A bracket.