It had the pregame feel of a district championship game played at the Giant Center in Hershey, with both teams entering undefeated and the public address announcer being longtime Giant Center voice Bob Schellenberg.
It was competitive for a quarter, but then Cumberland Valley exerted its dominance in a 65-42 victory over visiting Delone Catholic in girls’ basketball action Saturday afternoon in New Kingstown.
“We probably won’t see a better team than this all year,” Delone head coach Gerry Eckenrode said. “I’m not disappointed that we lost, I’m disappointed that we didn’t play better. We have to learn from this experience and move forward. I told the girls that the sun will come up (Sunday) and we’ll get back to practice on Monday.”
Delone (15-1) began the game by scoring the first four points with hoops from Makenna Mummert and Giana Hoddinott putting the Squirettes in front just over two minutes in and the opening stanza was back-and-forth throughout.
Cumberland Valley then (15-0) opened up an 18-13 advantage following Julie Jekot’s triple off of a drive-and-kick assist from her sister, Jill, at the 1:17 mark of the first quarter.
Back-to-back makes by Mummert cut the deficit to 18-17 in the final minute of the frame, before Jill Jekot’s charity tosses produced the 20-17 count after one.
There were five lead changes and two ties in the opening quarter.
Hoddinott, who picked up her second foul late in the first quarter, began the second quarter on the pine and the Eagles ran off a 14-1 spurt in just over three minutes to take control.
Abbie Miller’s and-one, a pair of inside buckets by Dejah Hill and seven points from Jill Jekot comprised the spurt that had Eckenrode calling for time with 4:27 to go until the break.
The hosts went to the half leading, 39-24.
“We shot the ball poorly today and some of that has to do with their defense,” Eckenrode said. “Our transition defense wasn’t very good, we didn’t get back and it allowed them to shoot layups. That’s what we usually do to the other team.”
The Eagles didn’t take its foot off the gas in the third quarter as the lead grew to 52-30 heading to the final frame.
“They’re a really good team and I think we caught them on an off shooting night,” Cumberland Valley head coach Bill Wolf, a New Oxford grad and a member of the Colonials’ athletic Hall of Fame said. “I think Central Dauphin is a little bit better than them, but Delone is right there with Mechanicsburg among teams that we’ve played this season.”
Delone shot 15-of-48 (31 percent), while forcing only ten Eagle turnovers, an unusually low number for Squirette opponents.
“They rely a lot on their press and because they couldn’t hit their shots, they couldn’t really press us,” Wolf said. “We see full court presses frequently, we just saw one (Friday) night when we played Harrisburg. So I think that factors in, too. We’re not going to be caught off guard by a press.”
Hoddinott led the way for Delone with 15 points, while Mummert tossed in 12 to go along with a team-high six boards.
The Jekot sisters paced the winners with 20 points each. Julie, a senior, is a LaSalle University recruit, while Jill is a freshman and she holds NCAA Division 1 offers from LaSalle, St. Joseph’s University and the University of Richmond. Jill added eight rebounds and eight assists, as well as making 7-of-8 from the field.
Due to the game just being scheduled earlier this week, it won’t affect the District 3 power rankings, where both schools currently sit atop their respective classes. Delone is first in 4A, while Cumberland Valley holds the top spot in 6A.
Delone wraps up its regular season with a home contest with Fairfield on Tuesday.
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
Delone Catholic 17 7 6 12 — 42
Cumberland Valley 20 19 13 13 — 65
Delone Catholic (42): Abby Jacoby 1 2-2 5, Giana Hoddinott 6 2-2 15, Brielle Baughman 1 0-0 2, Ella Hughes 1 0-0 2, Makenna Mummert 4 4-4 12, Kaitlyn Schwarz 0 1-2 1, Emily McCann 2 0-0 5. Non-Scorers: Abigael Vingsen, Meredith Wilson, Maggie Hughes. Totals 15 9-10 42.
Cumberland Valley (65): Natalie Parsons 1 0-0 2, Abbie Miller 4 2-3 10, Parris Burns 0 1-2 1, Julie Jekot 7 4-4 20, Jill Jekot 7 4-4 20, Dejah Hill 6 0-0 12. Non-Scorers: Kate Berra, Reagan Basehore, Skylar Rozyckie, Ella Steinbrook, Alexa Holcomb. Totals: 25 11-13 65.
3-pointers: DC-Jacoby, Hoddinott; CV-Ju. Jekot 2, Ji. Jekot 2. JV: Cumberland Valley 51, Delone 37