The first offensive possession for Lycoming ended like many offensive possessions for the Lady Warriors, with a basket. Julia Antonelli was standing at the top of the key and found a posted up Ali Derr deep in the paint for a perfectly executed play.
It was that type of execution that helped the Lady Warriors build a 16-point halftime lead and fight off a late push by Commonwealth leading Stevenson to win 66-61 Sunday afternoon at Lamade Gym.
"Stevenson's tied for first place in our league," said Lycoming coach Christen Ditzler. "This is huge for us. I said we might not consider this game an upset but everybody else in our league does."
In the first half, Stevenson looked like the underdog as Lycoming put together possibly its best half of basketball this season. At the half, Lycoming led 40-24 while shooting 64 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. The Lady Warriors executed their offense to perfection, working the ball inside to outside and getting high percentage shots. Lycoming's defense was also stout, forcing 10 Stevenson turnovers and holding it to 32 percent from the field.
"Probably our best basketball all year," Ditzler said of the first half. "We picked a good time to do that."
Prior to tip-off, Antonelli was honored for scoring her 1,000th career point the game before against Lebanon Valley. Antonelli became the ninth player in school history to accomplish that feat. Antonelli led a team effort Sunday as she had 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and a career-high four blocks. It was Antonelli's fifth double-double of the season. Derr (10 points, 3 rebounds) helped anchor Lycoming's defense and made it difficult for Stevenson to score.
Lycoming also received great guard play as Olivia Manges had 13 points and seven rebounds, Nicole Calella (10 points, 7 assists), was the leader of Lycoming's offense and was a crucial reason why Lycoming shot 53 percent from the field. The bench also played big minutes for Lycoming as Chelsea Henderson (4 points, 4 rebounds) was a spark off the bench and helped limit Stevenson inside.
"I think in previous games they've been doubling and tripling Julia (Antonelli) and Ali (Derr) and our guards just haven't been shooting as well as they can and today I thought they shot the ball very well," said Ditzler. "And it's just going to open things up from the outside for us and make people have to defend and maybe help us with our spacing a little bit more."
Lycoming was up by 22 points with 15 minutes remaining in the second half and looked like the Lady Warriors would walk away with an easy win. But Stevenson didn't go down easy as it cut the lead to 10 with four minutes remaining. The closest Stevenson would get was within five with 10 seconds remaining.
"I think everybody on the court, we all started to panic," said Manges. "But those are times in the game, it shows our strength as a team, that we all come together and keep our composure and keep the lead and end up with the win."
STEVENSON (8-7, 6-2 CC)
Kayla Kelly 5-13 3-4 16; Kyarra Harmon 4-8 5-6 13; Abbey DeFeo 4-7 0-0 10; Caitlin Roy 2-6 2-2 7; Stephanie Martinez 2-12 0-0 4; Ruth Casadevall 2-5 0-0 4; Brittey Page 1-5 0-0 3; Ty Bender 1-2 0-0 2; Kayleigh Guzek 1-3 0-0 2; Mattie Milchling 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-61 10-12 61.
LYCOMING (7-7, 4-4 CC)
Julia Antonelli 8-14 2-5 18; Olivia Manges 5-10 2-2 13; Ali Derr 4-7 2-4 10; Nicole Calella 4-5 2-4 10; Janelle Ziminski 2-3 0-0 5; Victoria Siebecker 2-7 0-0 5; Chelsea Henderson 2-5 0-0 4; Rachel Miller 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 27-51 9-17 66.
Halftime:?Lycoming, 40-24. 3-point goals--Stevenson 7-21 (Kelly 3-4; DeFeo 2-3; Page 1-4; Roy 1-2; Guzek 0-1; Martinez 0-7), Lycoming 3-8 (Ziminski 1-2; Siebecker 1-2; Manges 1-4). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Stevenson 37 (Roy 11), Lycoming 34 (Antonelli 10). Assists--Stevenson 15 (Bender 4), Lycoming 16 (Calella 7). Total fouls--Stevenson 19, Lycoming 16. Technical fouls--None. A-467