MILTON - Lewisburg guard Emily Conrad missed the shot but sprinted after the loose ball and ran into the wall behind the basket. That set up Haley Stanko hitting a 3-pointer seconds later.
Effort was not a Lewisburg problem Wednesday. Southern Columbia was.
Southern executed well on both ends, shot well and had good balance while pulling away in the second half and defeating Lewisburg, 54-40 in the District 4 Class AA semifinals. Southern (19-5) earned a spot in Saturday's final against Mount Carmel while Lewisburg meets Muncy Friday back at Milton for the district's final state tournament berth.
"We have to regroup and keep our heads up and get back at it," Lewisburg coach Phil Stamm said. "We have a pretty talented team and we have to prepare well and get ready."
Southern never trailed and built an eight-point halftime lead when Mallory Tomaschick hit a buzzer-beater to end the second quarter. Lewisburg (17-8) pulled within one on a Maria Kelleher 3-pointer with three minutes left in the third quarter, but Kayla Lavella answered with a 3-pointer that changed everything.
The Tigers ended the quarter on a 12-3 run and Lewisburg never pulled closer than 10 again.
"Kayla hits a lot of those for us and to have her hit that was big," said Kirstin Blass, who scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds. "For us we said everything we've worked for this year has come down to these last 16 minutes."
Lavella, is a 1,000-point scorer and finished with 14. It was Tomaschick (12 points, 6 rebounds), Mackenzie Clark (14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals) and Blass, though, who gave Lewisburg fits throughout the first half.
Lewisburg tied it at 17-17 early in the second quarter, but Southern would not let it get over the hump and ended the half on a 10-2 run.
"It was nice to see Kirstin play like that," Southern coach Kevin Collins said. "She and Mackenzie Clark are like floor generals out there."
Lewisburg had its chances it in the fourth quarter, but missed four straight shots after pulling within 10 in the final three minutes. Senior Lois Lesher came on strong and had eight points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Stanko was outstanding and scored a career-high 11 points while Emily Conrad made three steals.
Kayla Lavella 5 1-2 14, Mallory Tomaschick 4 1-2 10, Mackenzie Clark 4 6-8 14, Kirstin Blass 5 0-1 12, Haley Levan 1 0-0 2, Jeanna Shutt 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 8-13 54.
Maria Kelleher 3 0-0 9, Emily Conrad 1 2-2 4, Lois Lesher 4 0-0 8, Kasey Conrad 1 2-2 4, Haley Stanko 5 0-0 11, Lenore Doyle 0 0-0 0, Kirsten Blakeslee 2 0-0 4, Emily Aukerman 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 4-6 40.
Southern15 12 14 13-54
Lewisburg13 6 12 9--40
3-pointers: Souhern 6 (Lavella 3, Blass 2, Tomaschick). Lewisburg 4 (Kelleher 3, Stanko).
Records: Southern 19-5. Lewisburg 17-8.