DANVILLE - Lewisburg's Maria Kelleher knew she was in for a special night after knocking down her second 3-pointer just minutes into Tuesday night's District 4 Class AA playoff opener against Bloomsburg. Sure the field goal moved her closer to a personal milestone, but it also gave her the confidence to keep firing.
Her third 3-pointer in the opening quarter pushed her over 1,000 career points, but the senior wasn't done there as she added four more 3-pointers and led the No. 7 Green Dragons to a 58-37 win over the No. 10 Panthers.
"After I hit my second one (3-pointer), I knew I was going to be hot," said Kelleher. "I just kept making them and tried opening things up for different people so I could try and get the ball again and try to make some hot shots."
Kelleher's teammates continuously found their hottest shooter and she finished with a game-high 26 points - all coming in the first three quarter as the Green Dragons (16-7) built an 18-point lead.
Kelleher had a field day against Bloomsburg's zone defense, knocking down five 3-pointers in the first half. She finished with 17 first-half points.
Despite Kelleher's hot shooting, the Panthers (11-12) tied the game early in the second quarter at 12-12 before an 8-0 Lewisburg burst allowed it to open up a lead. Kelleher's final first-half 3-pointer made it 25-18 Green Dragons and they pushed the lead to nine points before the break.
"Maria can get hot and she definitely found her stroke early," Lewisburg coach Phil Stamm said. "That gave us a good start to the game and then in the second half the other girls stepped it up."
As more Green Dragons found the scorebook, their lead quickly grew in the third quarter. Kelleher and her teammates couldn't miss from the field in the opening moments of the second half and made their first five shots. Kasey Conrad, Haley Stanko, Emily Conrad and Kelleher all had buckets during the 12-3 run that doubled the Lewisburg lead.
Kelleher, who at one point in the second half had 25 points to Bloomsburg's 26, missed just once from the beyond the arc on eight attempts. She didn't need much help offensively, but did receive 15 points from Emily Conrad.
Lois Lesher, the other senior starter for Lewisburg besides Kelleher, didn't score a field goal and added just four points but her defensive presence in the middle of the paint allowed the Green Dragons to hold Bloomsburg to 37 points. Lesher controlled the boards and blocked or altered several Bloomsburg shot attempts.
"That's been her game all year long," Stamm said. "She takes care of what we call the garbage. She cleans all that up for us and she's a tough player."
Katie Klingerman 0 0-0 0, Mallory Fry 3 1-2 7, Natalie Wittman 6 6-8 19, Lauren Barrett 0 0-0 0, Rachel Seidel 0 0-0 0, Amelia Davis 1 0-0 2, Julia Wittman 1 0-0 2, Elizabeth Drumm 1 1-2 3, Courtney Ebner 0 0-0 0, Molly Williams 1 2-2 4, Liz Isenberg 0 0-0 0, Emily Wawroski 0 0-2 0. Totals: 13 10-16 37
Maria Kelleher 8 3-4 26, Kasey Conrad 2 0-0 4, Haley Stanko 2 0-0 4, Emily Conrad 6 1-3 15, Lois Lesher 0 4-8 4, Lenore Doyle 0 1-2 1, Kirsten Blakeslee 0 0-0 0, Miranda Gajda 0 0-0 0, Emily Aukerman 1 0-0 2, Rachel Herman 0 0-0 0, Akilah McFadden 0 0-0 0, Sydney Brouse 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 9-17 58.
Bloomsburg8 13 9 7 - 37
Lewisburg12 18 18 10 - 58
3-point goals: Bloomsburg 1 (N. Wittman); Lewisburg 9 (Kelleher 7, E. Conrad 2).
Records: Lewisburg 16-7, Bloomsburg 11-12.
Next: Lewisburg vs. Wyalusing, TBA