A LEANER — Delone Catholic’s Abigael Vingsen leans into a shot during Saturday’s non-conference game against Berks Catholic, in McSherrystown. The Squirettes pulled away from the Saints for a convincing 63-47 victory.

Locked in a one-point game a few minutes into the second quarter, Delone Catholic head coach Gerry Eckenrode turned to the Squirettes’ vaunted full-court press. The team responded by running off 21 consecutive points enroute to an easy 63-47 victory over visiting Berks Catholic in girls basketball action Saturday afternoon at Sonny Shephard Gym in McSherrystown.

Berks Catholic (2-1) kept things tight over the opening 10 minutes of the contest, which saw the opening stanza conclude with the count deadlocked at 11 after Saints’ sophomore Caraline Herb bagged a triple from the right wing in the dying seconds.

A trifecta by Delone’s Abby Jacoby from the right wing opened the second quarter, before Caroline Reedy answered for the visitors with a deuce with 6:14 to go until the half.

Berks Catholic didn’t score again for almost six minutes and in that time, the Squirettes seized control. It was Jacoby’s triple from the left corner that kick-started the run.

The deciding run saw points provided by six different Squirettes with junior Giana Hoddinott tossing in eight to spearhead it.

Hoddinott’s hoop with 47 ticks left in the half pushed the hosts’ edge to a game-high at 35-13.

“We had some very, very good today and also some not so good,” Delone head coach Gerry Eckenrode said. “We gave them too much easy stuff and we’ll give up some of that with the way we play, but it was too much. We’ve got to be better.”

Keziah Brantley’s trifecta and Herb’s bucket finally stemmed the bleeding for Berks Catholic and sent the teams to the break with Delone in front, 35-18.

Delone (1-0) was ahead 39-20 before Brantley and Herb each hit from downtown to narrow the lead to 13 and prompted Eckenrode to call for time at the 5:25 mark of the third quarter..

The teams traded buckets for the rest of the quarter and a pair of Hoddinott freebies with one second left gave the Squirettes a 49-35 lead heading for the final stanza.

Delone was never threatened in the fourth quarter, leading by as many as 19 and by no less than 13. The closest the Saints got was 60-47 on Herb’s charity tosses with 1:16 remaining.

Hoddinott, who finished with a game-high 23 points to go along with a team-high six boards, had an up-and-down performance shooting the ball, as she made 7-of-18 from the field. But she stayed aggressive, driving to the bucket and earning 12 free throws, canning eight of them.

“Giana is a better shooter than she was today, but she did a good job of being aggressive and getting to the foul line,” Eckenrode said. “She’s a very good player and I think she’s going to be a great player. It’s not a matter of if, but when it happens.”

Hoddinott, a third team all-state selection a year ago, was joined in double digits by classmate Maggie Hughes, who pocketed 11.

Brantley and Herb led the Saints with 15 points apiece and they also shared rebounding honors by snaring seven caroms each.

All told, Delone forced 25 turnovers, while committing 11.

“Berks was playing its third game and this was our first,” Eckenrode said. “But you’ve got to give them credit, they’re a good team. They’re actually better than I expected them to be.”

Delone returns to action when it begins YAIAA-3 play on Monday when Bermudian Springs comes to town for a 7:30 p.m. tip. The Eagles knocked off New Oxford, 65-47, in their season opener on Friday.

That game figures to not only have big implications on the division title race, but also the District 3 Class 4A power rankings, where both schools now reside.

The Squirettes and Eagles were the top two finishers in YAIAA-3 a year ago and both qualified for the PIAA tournament. Delone returns four starters, while Berm has three back.

“We’re gonna have to play better than we did today to beat Bermudian, they’re a really good team,” Eckenrode said. “But they’re gonna have to play well to beat us, too.”

Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas

Berks 11 7 17 12 — 47

Delone 11 24 11 14 — 63

Berks Catholic (47): Mackenzie Gordos 1 0-0 2, Sarah Painton 0 3-6 3, Keziah Brantley 5 2-4 15, Caroline Reedy 4 0-0 8, Caraline Herb 5 2-3 15, Aaliyah Dabney 2 0-0 4. Non-scorers: Birmingham, Hmel, Brown. Totals: 17 7-13 47.

Delone Catholic (63): Abigael Vingsen 2 1-2 6, Abby Jacoby 3 0-0 8, Giana Hoddinott 7 8-12 23, Ella Hughes 1 0-0 3, Makenna Mummert 3 0-0 6, Maggie Hughes 3 3-4 11, Kaitlyn Schwarz 1 1-1 3, Emily McCann 1 0-0 3. Non-scorer: Wilson. Totals: 21 13-19 63.

3-pointers: BC-Brantley 3, Herb 3; DC-Jacoby 2, M. Hughes 2, Vingsen, Hoddinott, E. Hughes, McCann. JV: Delone 47, Berks Catholic 21

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