Chargers Challenge Crusaders But Fall Short April 17, 2017
"Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical." - Yogi Berra
Team and individual character is tested in the tough times, something the Mt. Calvary Chargers are finding as they are experiencing a stretch of tough losses, suffering defeat in both of last week's pairings.
Tuesday, the Charger team took their home field to host the Christian School of York Crusaders, and though they played with heart and enthusiasm, fell short 8-3.
Initially the Chargers found themselves in an offensive slump, having trouble adjusting to Crusader pitching.
When it was the Charger's turn in the field, team captain Stephen Leed took the mound and rose to the challenge, throwing precise strikes across the plate. Unfortunately, costly fielding errors created the opening the Crusaders needed to start to pull away as the game progressed.
Working around an error and a single in the first, Leed kept his composure and was able to pick a runner off at second followed by two strikeouts to close the inning.
After four innings, the Chargers found themselves buried by a 6-0 Crusader lead, and knew it was pivotal they take action to remain in contention.
Tyler Masters, a sophomore, drove a single into left field, and continued his aggressive play with his base running, stealing both second and third. Noah Hoffman was the next Charger bat to connect, producing a Crusader error and allowing Masters to cross the plate.
Despite the Charger momentum surge, the Crusaders were able to retaliate in the fifth, collecting two additional runs adjusting the scoreboard to 8-1.
Displaying a tenacious spirit, the Chargers capitalized on another opportunity to gather impetus in the sixth. Masters again sparked the offense, this time with a patient eye at bat resulting in a walk. Jared Landis propelled a double into the left-center field gap advancing Masters to third.
With two runners in scoring position, freshman Dakota Lamb took his turn at bat and efficiently put down a single driving in two RBIs to narrow the deficit 8-3.
In spite of Charger comeback efforts, the Crusaders were able to retain control, extinguishing the Charger rally and closing the game with no further change to the scoreboard.
"In the end, it was our inability to make adjustments offensively, and our fielding errors that kept us out of the game," acknowledged head coach Jim Sintic.
The crippling effect of errors was underscored by the stats, as only three of the Crusaders total eight runs were earned.
Lamb, Landis, Masters, and David Ellis each tallied a hit in the loss.
Leed took the loss for the Chargers after five innings, delivering five strikeouts, five walks, and allowing three earned runs. Masters and Ellis both pitched in relief, each picking up a strike out in their innings of work.
Thursday's road trip took the Chargers to the home field of the High Point Baptist Eagles, where they got off to an encouraging early lead, before eventually succumbing to the Eagles 11-1.
Leadoff hitter Tyler Masters reached base on a walk thanks to discerning eye, followed by a single from Landis. Once again, Lamb did his part, singling to load the bases. After a force out at the plate, Hoffman managed to draw a one out RBI walk providing the Chargers with a temporary one-run lead.
The Eagles responded with effective defense, closing the inning with the remaining two outs and leaving all three Charger runners stranded.
With their first offensive chance, the Eagles took control of the game going up 4-1 and had another definitive inning in the third where they collected an additional four runs.
"Defensive woes plagued us early on and continued to be a theme for us throughout the game," summarized Sintic. "When you allow a good team extra opportunities each inning you put yourselves in a difficult position to be successful."
Landis was saddled with the loss, tossing two innings and giving up seven runs and earning one strikeout.
Focusing on positive highlights for the Chargers, they see evidence that they are improving as a team. Leed had a productive day at the plate collecting two hits. Sophomore Taiji Fukasawa made his season debut, immediately making an impression by stealing two bases and working on the mound in relief. Fukasawa threw two innings, striking out two and allowing zero earned runs.
"As a team, we obviously don't want to lose. However, we are growing and learning. We started this season focusing on personal and team growth and we'll continue to do that," encouraged Sintic.
The team headed into an extended weekend with time to rest and refocus. More significantly, the weekend served as a time to align priorities and concentrate on their ultimate goal, to honor and glorify their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in all that they do, both on and off the field.
When the Chargers resume their season on Tuesday, they will host Conestoga Christian at In The Net in Palmyra.
Charger Baseball Struggles on the Diamond April 9, 2017
"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way." - Babe Ruth
Squeezing in games between an abundance of April showers, the Mt. Calvary Chargers faced a tough week of competition culminating in two losses.
In Monday's pairing against the Steelton-Highspire Rollers, the Chargers found themselves struggling to make contact against the Rollers' remarkable pitching efforts, which led to a 5-0 Roller win.
Unable to gain offensive momentum, the Chargers had difficulty getting on base, due largely to the performance of Steelton's Isaiah Lockette who was awarded the win after six innings of work.
"Lockette did a great job throwing his high velocity fastball for strikes, putting a lot of pressure on us," acknowledge head coach Jim Sintic.
Despite their woes at bat, the Chargers in turn displayed encouraging highlights from the mound. Senior Jared Landis threw six innings for the Chargers, striking out seven while scattering five hits and four walks.
"He [Landis] was able to spot his fast ball while mixing in his off-speed pitches, keeping the Roller hitters off balance for much of the game," praised Sintic.
The top of the third was when the Rollers scored the bulk of their runs, advancing their lead to 4-0.
Defense was a key factor in the relatively low-scoring contest. Sophomore Ethan Niedwick stepped up to make critical plays at third base, keeping Roller offensive damage to a minimum. Niedwick snagged a hard-hit line drive in the third, and also came up big in the sixth with back-to-back outs to squelch potential Roller runs.
In the top of the fifth, the Rollers were once again gathering offensive impetus, but Charger centerfielder David Ellis made a running catch to halt the Roller rally.
Stephen Leed pitched an inning in relief for the Chargers, picking up a pair of strikeouts and only allowing one run.
Landis showed patience at the plate, reaching base twice on walks. Freshman players Dakota Lamb and Scott Lane each reached base as well, with a walk and HBP respectively.
"We were able to keep ourselves in striking distance throughout. Our good defense allowed us to keep the game close," elaborated Sintic. "It's easy to get frustrated, but we did a good job keeping our composure and positive attitude even though we struggled to score runs today."
Friday, the Chargers once again fell behind early, in a home contest against the Lancaster County Christian Lions, and were unable to battle back, surrendering 14-3.
Fielding errors in the top of the first led to an initial Lion 5-0 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the second, the Chargers rallied and started to create some offensive action. Noah Hoffman got things rolling with a single, followed by Niedwick reaching on an error. Freshman Scott Lane, secured an RBI single to bring home Hoffman, but the momentum was squelched as the Lions managed to catch Niedwick attempting to steal home, ending the inning.
Masters led the next offensive spark for the Chargers in the subsequent inning, reaching on a single and pushing Leed into scoring position. Lamb further advanced the Charger cause crushing an RBI double into left-center field to bring Leed home. Masters crossed the plate on the next play bringing the score as close as 6-3, but the Lions closed the inning with a strikeout.
The top of the fourth proved to be a turning point as the Lions pulled away with an offensive surge. Consistent contact with the ball allowed them to collect an additional five runs.
In response to the incessant Lion hitting, the Charger outfield had ample opportunity to display their fielding skills, and were not without highlights. David Ells robbed the Lions of an additional hit with a textbook running catch in straightaway center field.
As a unit, the Charger outfield combined for nine put-outs, but critical mental mistakes paired with Lion relentlessness at bat created an insurmountable difference.
Masters, Lane, Hoffman, and Lamb each contributed a hit to the Charger effort, with Lamb, Ellis and Lane each picking up an RBI as well.
"Ultimately, we made too many mistakes to keep us in the game," commented Sintic. "However, we grew as a team today. If we're able to learn from our mistakes and apply what we work on in practice every day, we'll only get better."
Looking ahead, the Chargers continue their streak of home games hosting the Christian School of York at In the Net on Tuesday.
Chargers Crush Lebanon Catholic 13-0 April 3, 2017
"There are three types of baseball players; those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens." - Tommy Lasorda, MLB Hall of Famer
The first few weeks of the 2017 season may have been characterized by soggy fields and postponed games, but the Mt. Calvary Chargers were finally able to kick off their baseball season last Wednesday during a two-game week of split results, claiming their season opener with authority before having the roles reversed the following day.
Wednesday's sunny skies set the tone for the home contest held at In The Net sports complex in Palmyra, where the Chargers hosted the Lebanon Catholic Beavers and picked up their first victory, 13-0, in five innings.
Senior captain Jared Landis was first to take the mound and made quick work in the top of the first, striking out the side while impressively keeping his pitch count to a mere 10 pitches.
"Jared is typically a contact pitcher who throws a high volume of strikes. It was exciting to see him throwing with precision, causing the batters to swing and miss," praised head coach Jim Sintic.
Landis' commanding presence on the hill transferred to Charger confidence at bat. Fellow captain Stephen Leed led off for the Chargers, reaching on a walk, and was advanced to third by a sharp line drive single into left field by shortstop Tyler Masters.
The Chargers scored their first run of the season displaying heads up base running as Masters looked to steal and Leed capitalized on the opportunity to cross the plate.
An accumulation of walks allowed the Chargers to load the bases, after which, David Ellis, a sophomore, stepped up for his first at bat and flared a double into left center field pushing across two more runs.
By the time there were two outs, the bases were again loaded and the Chargers had batted around, giving Leed his second chance to swing the bat. He connected for a three RBI single which doubled the Charger's early lead before the close of the first inning.
"I was very encouraged to see our team come out with offensive energy and feed off of each other's success," pointed out Sintic. "Our players approached each at bat with a discerning eye and it paid off."
Third baseman Ethan Niedwick highlighted the top of the second with a diving stop and strong throw to beat Lebanon Catholic's runner by half a step, halting the Beavers' momentum before it had a chance to start.
On the very next play, fellow sophomore Nathan Lerro snagged a line drive headed into right field, further frustrating Lebanon Catholic's offensive attempts.
Landis completed three innings of work on the mound, earning him the win in addition to five strikeouts and allowing zero runs and zero hits. Nathan Hatzfeld was tagged with the loss for the Beavers, allowing seven runs in his innings pitched.
Leed and Masters each stepped up to throw an inning in relief, and neither surrendered a run to keep the shut out alive. Leed picked up two strikeouts while Masters closed the game with one of three strikeouts.
The pitchers also got it done offensively as evidenced by their at bat contributions. Leed nailed two hits while driving in three RBIs. Landis crossed the plate three times in addition to an RBI, and Masters came up with two hits.
Ellis drove in three runs, and Nathan Lerro contributed an additional two RBIs.
Thursday's match on the road pitted the Chargers against the Columbia High School Crimson Tide, and the Chargers fell behind to an early deficit they were unable to overcome, losing 16-6.
In the top of the first, the Chargers swiftly found themselves with two outs and desperate to get some momentum going. Landis demonstrated patience at bat, drawing a walk to get on first, before stealing second.
Next up, freshman Dakota Lamb stepped up to the plate lining a single into left. Unfortunately the Crimson Tide's left fielder was on his game, hustling to the ball and returning it swiftly to the infield where Landis was thrown out attempting to score and putting an end to the inning.
"We knew this was going to be a challenging game, so we wanted to set an aggressive tone," noted Sintic.
Challenging was an apt description of the flip side of the first inning for the Chargers. The Crimson Tide demonstrated their ability to connect with pitches, coupled with too many walks given up by the Chargers, causing the bulk of the contest's runs to be scored in that half inning alone, as the Tide rolled in a formidable 10 runs before the close of the first.
Despite finding themselves in a substantial hole, the Chargers regrouped and fought back in subsequent innings.
Lamb and Ellis rose to the challenge offensively in the fourth, paving the way for the Chargers to get back into contention. Lamb drove a double into the right center gap for two RBIs and Ellis followed suit with a perfectly executed hit and run to drive in a RBI of his own.
Lamb, the catcher, continued his impressive performance defensively saving the Chargers from additional Crimson Tide runs by blocking several wild pitches and holding runners at third.
"We were able to narrow the gap to 13-6, and felt confident in our ability to play with our opponents," elaborated Sintic. "Unfortunately, their offense was too much, and we came up short."
Leed picked up the loss for the Chargers allowing eight runs and three hits, and was supported in relief by pitching from Masters who earned three strikeouts.
Ellis and Lamb each collected two hits in the loss, and Noah Hoffman, Masters, and Leed each contributed a hit to the effort.
"We have learned a lot about ourselves through these first two games. I was proud of our guys' attitude-we never stopped playing hard," encouraged Sintic. "I think we're starting to feel more confident as a team, even after a loss," he added.
The Chargers look ahead to hosting two home games at In The Net this week, taking on Steelton-Highspire early in the week and Lancaster County Christian on Friday.
Mt. Calvary Caps Season In PIAA Opener March 12, 2017
That's a wrap for the Mt. Calvary Chargers, and a job well done, as they concluded their 2016-2017 season last week after making an appearance in the PIAA state tournament where their journey was halted by St. John Neumann Regional Academy in a first round loss, 62-31.
Coming off a long stretch following their District 3 third-place finish, the Chargers were forced to wait more than a week before facing the number two seeded Neumann team.
In Friday night's match, the Neumann Knights came out blazing and quickly took command of the game. At the conclusion of the first quarter the Chargers trailed by 14, and were forced to adjust their strategy.
"I think that we were able to get shots that we wanted on offense, but we were unable to finish. The result forced us to play faster than we wanted to, and into the type of game that we did not want to play," explained head coach Jared Griest.
As the game progressed, the Knights continued their barrage, but the Chargers were able to find some offensive success, led by senior Jack Lachance's 13 points.
Fellow senior Ben Sheard exemplified a finish strong attitude, doing whatever needed to be done to promote the Charger squad, demonstrated in his nine rebounds and seven points.
Despite their efforts, for each Charger bucket scored, the Knights managed to retaliate with twice as many, reflected in the final score 62-31.
"We knew coming into tonight's contest that we needed to control pace, and we were unable to do that," summarized Griest.
Though perhaps not the way the Chargers hoped to finish, their season remains full of accomplishments and evidence of hard work. Securing an 11-1 season record in league competition propelled the team to the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference tournament in which they were the runner-up in the championship game.
In PIAA District 3 competition, the team excelled and obtained the third-place finish. Their district success also earned them the right to progress onto states, a distinction the team has only held three times prior to this season.
Individual highlights abounded as well, including Lachance reaching his 1000th career point in January. Lachance, Sheard, and Jared Landis were each named to the CCAC west all-conference team for their season long contributions.
Graduating five seniors, the Chargers used the season to emphasize leadership and heritage.
"Our theme for the year was building a legacy. With our seniors, it was important for them to build a foundation for the younger players," pointed out Griest. "They also leave a legacy of hard work for those that are coming behind them. I look forward to working with our group in the future and showing the seniors that the example they set this season had benefits beyond the 2016-2017 year."
Chargers Place Third in District 3A Bracket March 6, 2017
Momentarily knocked down by a tough early week loss, the Mount Calvary Chargers regained their momentum and ended their District playoff performance with a victory, clinching the third-place spot in the PIAA District 3 Class A tournament.
The week began with a semifinal round match up against the York Country Day Greyhounds, in which the Greyhounds prevailed 83-41.
Having met in the regular season with a similar result, the Chargers hoped to improve on their ability to combat against York's all-around dominate game.
"We thought that we'd be more competitive than the first time we played York Country Day, however they are a very good, athletic team," acknowledge head coach Jared Griest. "I am still proud of the work the boys have put in," he added.
At the onset, the Chargers were able to keep pace with the Greyhounds by choosing to look for high percentage shot opportunities from outside. It was the second quarter in which the Greyhounds pulled away going on a 27-10 run to extend their lead to 26 at the half.
The Greyhounds clearly held a size advantage as they outscored the Chargers 44-24 in the paint and claimed 23 offensive boards before the contest came to a close.
Despite the significant point differential, there were still noteworthy individual Charger highlights. Jack Lachance netted 15 points along with five rebounds, and Jared Landis chipped in with eight. Sophomore Wyatt Hawthorne stepped up to contribute six points, six rebounds, and two blocks, while fellow sophomore Tyler Masters came up with three steals for the Charger effort.
Though disappointed by their early week defeat, the Chargers refocused their energy on preparing to face the West Shore Christian Bobcats in Wednesday night's duel to determine third place in the tournament.
Having squared off twice in the regular season, with each ball club claiming one victory apiece, the teams were eager for this third match, and this time the Chargers celebrated a 47-39 victory.
The outcome of the first three quarters demonstrated the close-matched talents of the two teams as each quarter was narrowly claimed by the Chargers outscoring the Bobcats by one point.
Entering the final quarter with only a three-point advantage, 34-31, the Chargers were aware that composure and persistence would be essential to put the Bobcats away.
Missed opportunities from the line, going only 1-of-7 as a team, and a meager four buckets from beyond the arc were uncharacteristic struggles the Chargers needed to overcome.
"Even though this was not our best shooting day, I'm proud of how our team played offense tonight. They were patient, took advantage of mismatches defensively, and ran our offensive sets with high levels of execution," noted Griest.
Defensively, the Chargers made up for their moderate point total by thwarting the attempts of the Bobcats to retaliate. Suffocating Charger defense led to a flustered Bobcat team, and the Chargers seized the opportunities for steals and transition baskets.
The Chargers also demonstrated control when in possession of the ball, giving up only eight turnovers, a season low accomplishment.
In the final quarter, a confident Charger squad played with uniformity and pulled away from the Bobcats with a 13-8 run, allowing them to claim the victory by eight.
Jack Lachance led scoring with 16 points and six rebounds. Jared Landis produced a double-double matching his 11 points with 11 rebounds as well as four steals. Brandon Taylor knocked in 11 points and grabbed two steals. Wyatt Hawthorn added six points and four rebounds, and Sheard's supportive role provided as many assists as points, coming up with four of each.
"Today we accomplished, one of our goals, which was at least third in the district. We now set our sights on the first round of states next Friday," concluded Griest.
The Chargers have only reached state level competition three times prior to this appearance, with the most recent being in 2014.
The Lady Chargers wrapped up another exciting season as their District 3 playoff run came to halt last Tuesday after falling to a 50-27 defeat at the hands of the Harrisburg Christian Knights.
The contest was held at Central Dauphin East High School to determine advancement in the PIAA District 3 tournament and a potential state tournament berth.
The first half painted a dismal picture for the Chargers, featuring a cold streak of shot attempts and an ankle injury for senior Lydia Ewing.
With a low scoring first half for the Chargers, it looked as if the Knights would easily walk away with the victory, leading 25-6 at the midway point.
"Our message at halftime was clear, decide to fight for our season. Who was going to give their all and fight together until the end?" motivated head coach Phil Ferrari.
Despite facing a large deficit, the Lady Chargers rallied for a much improved second half, matching the Knights point for point in the third and outscoring them 12-8 in the fourth.
"As we do every time we are challenged and have our backs to the wall, we stayed together and played much better basketball, especially on the offensive end," pointed out Ferrari.
Even with their notable comeback efforts, the damage done in the early minutes proved to be insurmountable, and brought the Charger season to a close.
Senior, Abigail Rutt, gave a strong last performance leading the Lady Chargers efforts with a double-double comprised of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Younger players that will be called upon in the future of the program made their presence felt on the stat line. Freshman, Haley Witmer tallied in five points along with six rebounds. Jaylyn Maulfair and Nonoka Matsumoto had mirrored contributions, each scoring four points and grabbing seven rebounds.
Reflecting on the season as a whole, the Lady Chargers have much to celebrate. They started their season by winning their opening tournament, and Ewing receiving the tournament MVP recognition.
An overall 13-12 season record exhibited a tough schedule and a 7th place ranking in District 3A.
"Overall it was a good year, as we did accomplish a lot together as a team, as well as on an individual level," summarized Ferrari.
Among those individual achievements both senior players, Rutt and Ewing, reached their 1000th career point milestone. Rutt also managed to average a double-double for the season, and Ewing accrued a remarkable total 42 three-point buckets for the year.
"I feel we have grown closer together as a team throughout the year, and that we've been able to grow spiritually through the many challenges and opportunities we had. We are building and investing in our future. The credit for that goes entirely to the players, led by our two senior captains, who have put in a lot of work and have trusted the coaches throughout the process," concluded Ferrari.
Lady Chargers Topple Cougars in District Opener February 27, 2017
You might say the Lady Chargers had something to prove when they took the court Tuesday night, and it was abundantly clear they were determined to prove it, as they faced off against the Conestoga Christian Cougars in the first round of District 3 playoffs and toppled the Cougars 55-42.
Just a week prior, the Chargers were paired against the Cougars in the first round of the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference end of season tournament, and met with a reversed result at which point the Cougars ushered the Chargers to an early exit in the single elimination tournament.
Eager to redeem themselves, persistence paid off for the Chargers in their second meeting as they turned the tables on their opponent and placed a definitive stamp on the opening quarter, rocketing ahead on a 23-2 run.
Well-dispersed scoring set the tone for the Chargers, an area that at times has been a struggle for the squad. Five different Charger players contributed to the scoring surge, an achievement that not only built momentum but split the defensive efforts of the Cougars creating additional Charger opportunities.
"As a coach, it is always rewarding to have a good week of practice and put together a game plan, and then watch as your team executes to perfection," praised head coach Phil Ferrari. "We needed to keep them out of the lane and make them prove they could beat us from outside. Offensively, we wanted to protect the ball and give ourselves a chance to shoot better than the twenty percent we managed last game," he elaborated.
The contrast to their last match against the Cougars was readily apparent, comparing the Charger's 23 first quarter points to last week's contest in which the Chargers only managed to score a total of 34 in the entire game.
The rattled Cougars gathered their composure for a comeback effort in the subsequent quarters, and managed to outscore the Chargers 26-18 collectively in the second and third, as well as match the Chargers point for point, 14-14, in the fourth. Despite their resurgent efforts, it simply was not enough to compensate for the lopsided first quarter that went so definitively in favor of the Chargers.
"We battled foul trouble and injuries and fell back into some bad habits that allowed Conestoga to get back within 8 points," noted Ferrari. "As we so often do when we are challenged, we stuck together as a team and came right back to build the lead back to 18," he added.
Emphasizing the theme of diversified attack, seven Charger players contributed to their final point total of 55. Abigail Rutt blazed the way with 19 points 11 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals. Jayln Maulfair's produced a huge supporting role with a season-high 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists. Brittney Taylor and Haley Witmer collected eight apiece, with Witmer also supplying 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 assists.
"This game was a total team effort as we got major contributions from so many players, and every player got to play and contribute in one way or another," summarized Ferrari.
Friday night, the Lady Chargers headed to East Pennsburg to face Halifax High School in the quarterfinal round, and fell to a 62-42 defeat.
Entering the contest, the Lady Chargers knew they were up against tough odds taking on battled tested Halifax, the second seeded team in District 3.
"We knew that we were the underdog, but if we were going to give ourselves a chance in the game we had to stay together as a team and believe in us," explained Ferrari.
To their credit, the Lady Chargers played showing that very unity and belief Ferrari described. Offensively led once again by Rutt's contribution of 20 first-half points, the Chargers kept pace with Halifax, trailing by a mere four points at the close of the first half, 26-22.
Halifax registered a 20 point third quarter placing them up by a more comfortable 14 points entering the final quarter. With true Charger tenacity, the Lady Chargers continued to fight into the final minutes of the game, gaining some momentum midway through the quarter but falling just short of reducing the Halifax lead into single digits.
Rutt claimed a noteworthy 32 points and Ewing netted eight in the loss.
"While it's always disappointing to lose, I was very proud of our effort all game long, and it was a very positive experience for us against a very good team. We performed well and played good basketball," encouraged Ferrari. "It is games like these that we can identify as building blocks for our program," he explained.
While the defeat halts their journey toward the District championship, it places them into the consolation bracket, where they will face Harrisburg Christian this week. If they succeed, they will advance into state competition.
Thursday evening set the stage for the Chargers to compete in District 3 Class A playoffs, kicking off their first contest in the second round of play due to a first round bye earned by their regular season performance.
In front of an enthusiastic home crowd, the Chargers did not disappoint, squaring off against the Harrisburg Christian Knights, and rising to a dominant 62-36 victory.
The early minutes were full of traded possessions and exerted energy, but a lack of scoring, as the teams gained their bearings and sized up the competition.
With scoreboard still registering zeros a full two minutes into the contest, it was Charger senior Jack Lachance who squared up for a three and notched the first points of the game. The long-range shot was a fitting bucket to set the pace, as points from downtown would ultimately tell the story of the game.
The Chargers began to find their rhythm, following their shots for offensive rebounds and second chance scoring opportunities. Brandon Taylor and Jared Landis each contributed a three pointer in the first quarter, and at the end of eight minutes the Chargers found themselves up 15-6.
The second quarter continued to accentuate the long-range shot. Ben Sheard knocked one down for the Chargers, followed by a back-to-back three-point bucket response from the Knights. Despite their sudden offensive burst, the Knights were once again stifled as Landis nailed two additional threes in the quarter securing the Chargers with a sizeable 30-19 halftime advantage.
It was the climatic third quarter that truly highlighted the outside attack for the Chargers, and sealed the fate of the contest. Landis caught fire from deep and netted five additional three point baskets in rapid succession, propelling the Chargers on a 19-8 run and shattering the Knights' efforts at a comeback.
The fourth quarter displayed a composed Charger team that held on to the ball to retain their lead, spread the court with perimeter passing, and continued to diversify their attack. Stephen Leed added a three to the plethora of outside shots, while Harrison Crick, David Ellis, and Wyatt Hawthorne each chipped in with a field goal to diversify the offensive blitz.
Landis complimented his eight three-pointers with flawless 2-for-2 shooting from the line, giving him a game-high total of 26 points. Heavily guarded, Lachance still managed to slip in 11 Charger points, and Sheard contributed seven.
The team also managed to capitalize on their opportunities from the line, shooting 6-of-8 collectively.
Reducing turnovers was an additional highlight for the Chargers, cutting their total turnovers in half when compared to previous matches against the Knights in the regular season.
"We only had nine turnovers this game, and outscored them in each of the four quarters," acknowledged head coach Jared Griest. "We played efficiently, and I really appreciated the maturity of our players during this week," he added.
The outcome of the contest held extended ramifications for the Charger squad. Not only do they advance deeper into District playoffs, but the win ensures them a spot to compete in state competition, a distinction the Chargers have not held since 2014.
This week the Chargers take on York Country Day in the District 3 semifinal match.
"They [York] are the fourth ranked team in the state. I've been telling our players that we want this opportunity, and now it is in front of us," commented Griest.
Charger Teams Compete in CCAC Tourney February 20, 2017
It has been a long, tumultuous season with an abundance of success, as well as obstacles, for the Mt. Calvary Chargers, and last week was no exception. Earning a bye in the first round of the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference tournament due to their record, the Chargers then triumphed in the semifinals last Thursday, landing them in Saturday's championship game, where they fell short of claiming the tournament title.
Thursday's round paired them against the High Point Baptist Academy Eagles, and the Chargers rose to a 72-58 victory.
Not having crossed paths in the regular season, the initial minutes included the teams sizing up their competition and settling into a rhythm.
Early season challenges forced the Chargers to play much of their regular season without their full roster. Now playing full strength, the growth from overcoming those obstacles was evident in the playoff match as the Chargers dominated both ends of the floor and produced a diversified attack. Offensively, the Chargers seized scoring opportunities from all over the court, shooting 50% from beyond the arc, securing 7-of-9 free throws, and controlling the paint, more than doubling the Eagles points produced from the post.
The first quarter displayed impressive outside shooting from the Chargers, nailing four three point buckets, and forcing the Eagles to stretch their zone defense to contest the outside shot. This created defensive weakness for the Eagles on the inside, allowing the Chargers to switch tactics and drive the ball to the basket for inside points. The first quarter concluded 18-12 in Charger favor.
"We knew that we were facing a quality opponent tonight who would be confident," acknowledged head coach Jared Griest. "I think the first quarter really set the tone for us."
Despite their well-rounded playing, the Chargers only held a six-point lead at the halftime break, evidence of the tenacity of the Eagles' response. The scoreboard read 32-26 as the teams made adjustments and prepared for the second half.
"At halftime, we talked about finishing and not coming out flat to start the third quarter," noted Griest.
Griest's comments resonated with his team as they produced an explosive third quarter and extended their lead by an additional ten points. Jared Landis was a key component, starting and ending the quarter with momentum changing three point baskets.
The Charger energy was infectious, and led to well executed teamwork.
Jack Lachance netted a game-high 20 points, and dished four assists. Landis collected a total of 18 points, 4 steals and 7 rebounds. Brandon Taylor knocked in 13 points. Tyler Masters added 11 and grabbed 3 rebounds. Ben Sheard's team-oriented play produced 9 rebounds and 6 assists in addition to his 5 points.
Not for the first time, free throws played a crucial role in the game, with the Chargers registering 78% as a team from the line, in large part thanks to Wyatt Hawthorne's contribution of 3-of-4 from the line.
Extending the lead to as many as 20, the Chargers entered the final quarter with the game firmly in their grasp. The Eagles made a final push, managing to squeeze in a few threes to narrow the deficit, but not enough to challenge the Charger's established possession of the contest at the final buzzer.
"I appreciated our total team effort," summarized Griest and swiftly turning the team's attention to their next contest. "We look forward to the opportunity of playing LCCS on Saturday in the Championship."
The Lancaster County Christian Lions, a formidable opponent, entered the CCAC tournament at the top of the CCAC East rankings, while the Chargers held the same rank in the CCAC West division.
"They have not lost a regular season league game in four years and this may be one of the deepest LCCS teams we have faced. We'd like it no other way than to face the best in the conference championship and we look forward to playing," concluded Griest.
Saturday night set the stage for the head-to-head match, and as expected the game was high energy from the start, but the concluding score was anything but what the Chargers had hoped, reading a 62-39 Lions victory.
Early on, the Chargers responded to a Lions scoring run with Lachance and Taylor each hitting key three point shots to boost the Chargers and keep the scoreboard at a one possession game, only down 11-8 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, differences began to emerge that allowed the Lions to extend their lead.
"As well as we shot on Thursday, tonight was just the opposite. LCCS put pressure on us in the half court, and it forced us to rush shots just enough that we were unable to connect," explained Griest.
In contrast, the Lions hit a hot shooting streak in the second, sinking a total of four shots from three-point range, three of which were in consecutive possessions, boosting them to a 10-point advantage going into the half, 29-19.
In an effort to defend against the long-range shot, Charger defense was stretched in the second half, allowing the Lions to take advantage of inside openings and register uncontested layups to extend the lead.
"We over adjusted and were so concentrated on the three, that we went away from good help defense," elaborated Griest.
As the clock wound down, the Chargers continued to push the ball to the rim, but were unable to convert the baskets required to make a comeback. Trailing in the final moments put them in a desperate position to attempt to slow down the Lions with fouls, but the Lions capitalized on the opportunities and pulled away.
"LCCS is an incredibly well-coached team and is a very balanced attack," noted Griest. "Unfortunately, they made adjustments to how we defended them, and had success both getting to the basket and finishing," he concluded.
Lachance led Charger scoring with 13 points and Landis chipped in 10. Sheard pulled down eight rebounds and three steals in the effort.
This week the Chargers will plunge into the second round of District competition. Their earlier accomplishments have seeded them to earn a bye in the first round, placing them in their first contest against Harrisburg Christian on Thursday.
Last week the Mt. Calvary girls basketball team faced a disappointing blow, with their tournament journey cut short by a first round single elimination loss on Monday against the Conestoga Christian Cougars, 41-34.
The Lady Chargers got off to a strong start, claiming the first quarter by a margin of four, putting them up 12-8 entering the second.
Senior, Lydia Ewing scored half of the Chargers first quarter points, more than enough to propel her to her 1000th career point, a milestone she joins fellow teammate Abigail Rutt in achieving this season. The team celebrated Ewing's exciting accomplishment, but then needed to refocus on the team goal of advancing in the tournament.
The teams continued to battle and the Chargers were able to hold on to their lead by the slimmest of margins, up by only a point, 19-18 headed into the second half.
"Our biggest concern was on the defensive end where we gave up too many drives into the lane and could not secure enough rebounds to allow us to get out and run our transition attack," explained head coach Phil Ferrari.
The Chargers managed a third quarter that did not do much to extend their lead, but they continued to cling to a two-point advantage heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was the game-changer as the Cougars repeatedly attacked the basket and the Chargers experienced a field goal drought. The Cougars went on a 12-1 run to end the contest, and the surge was enough to overtake the lead the Chargers had clung to for three quarters of the game.
"Conestoga kept coming at us and we went cold from the field," pointed out Ferrari. "We played too tight and started making mental mistakes."
Despite the unwelcome outcome, Rutt produced a double-double, snagging 18 points and 14 rebounds along with 3 steals and 2 blocks.
Ewing supported her milestone moment with 13 total points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
Jayln Maulfair and Haley Witmer both made their presence felt on the boards coming up with 10 and 5 rebounds respectively. Witmer also added 3 points, 1 assist, and 1 steal to the effort.
The untimely loss, knocked the Chargers out of further play in the CCAC tournament, but the team still has District playoff aspirations to focus on.
Ironically, the Chargers are positioned to once again face off against the Conestoga Cougars in their first round of District competition this Tuesday.
"We are looking forward to the opportunity to play them again and prove to ourselves that we can play better," encouraged Ferrari.
Lady Chargers Cap 12-9 Regular Season February 12, 2017
The Lady Chargers experienced a mixed bag of results last week, registering a loss, a win, and a cancellation to bring their regular season schedule to a close.
In Monday's duel, the Lady Chargers played at the home court of the Lancaster Country Day Cougars, and bowed out 56-40.
Measured against a team like the Cougars, the smaller-sized Chargers knew they were going to have to capitalize on their strengths in transition scoring and long range shooting to have a shot at overcoming the inside game of their opponents.
The first quarter treated fans to a back-and-forth battle as the teams gauged the opposition and traded possessions. After the first quarter, the scoreboard showed a tight 9-6 in favor of the Cougars, but more importantly, highlighted the different strategies of play.
"It was obvious that our two styles were going to clash all day," noted head coach Phil Ferrari. "We like to score in transition and from the line, but we couldn't get our transition game going due to their effective pressure."
In the second quarter, the Cougars were able to slightly extend their lead, thanks to a dominant performance by their center, attacking in the paint and notching 10 of their 20 first-half points.
Responding to the challenge, Abigail Rutt fired up the Charger offensive cause, knocking in nine first half points and dishing out opportunities to teammates, allowing all five starters to get in on the scoring action, keeping them in contention and only down by four at halftime, 20-16.
"We challenged the girls to play our game and get back to doing what we do best on offense," explained Ferrari.
Defensively, the Chargers focused on alternating formations, but always working as a cohesive unit to try to minimize the size advantage held by the Cougars in the post.
Early in the third, Lydia Ewing sank a three, slashing the Cougars lead in half and creating a one possession game. Unfortunately for the Chargers, the Cougars responded with a three of their own and used the momentum to rocket ahead on a 7-0 run.
Despite trailing by as many as 14 points in the third, true to form, the Lady Chargers battled back, making it an eight-point game entering the fourth.
Drastic improvement was obvious for the Chargers as they honed in on key aspects of their game; holding the Cougar center to a minimal four second half points, reaching the foul line 13 times, and beginning to hit shots from beyond the arc.
"Even though we did what we wanted to do in the second half, we could not put together enough stops on one end followed by made baskets on the other to close the gap any closer than six points," elaborated Ferrari.
Trailing in the final minutes, the Chargers were forced to attempt steals and fouls in an effort to narrow the deficit, but the gamble also allowed the Cougars to extend their lead as the clock wound down.
"While we didn't come away with a valuable win, we continue to get better as a team, and have seen contributions from our role players increase, which will be crucial to our team's success in playoffs," summarized Ferrari.
Rutt finished with 17 points, Ewing added 13, and Jalyn Maulfair hit a trio of field goals for six points.
Wednesday evening the Lady Chargers were paired against the Dayspring Christian Warriors, and once again found themselves at a size disadvantage, but this time they were able to capitalize on their strengths and were rewarded with a 56-44 triumph.
In the initial minutes of play, the Chargers struggled to find their rhythm, resulting in uncharacteristic turnovers and a few easy baskets for the Warriors.
Regrouping and hitting their stride, the Chargers surged ahead at the end of the first, seized the lead 15-9, and never relinquished it.
Maulfair, Haley Witmer, and Brittney Taylor combined their efforts to balance the Charger scoring, together tallying half of the Charger's first-half points. Their contributions not only took pressure off lead scorers, Rutt and Ewing, but at the same time created a diversified offense that the Warriors struggled to defend against.
Entering the second half, the Chargers held a comfortable 11-point advantage, but needed to build upon that lead in order to execute their full game strategy.
"We wanted to get our subs plenty of playing time in the fourth quarter, and we challenged the girls to extend the lead to 20," explained Ferrari.
Attaining that goal early in the fourth, the Chargers led 52-31, but the Warriors were not about to give up, and fought back with a 13-4 run. Remaining composed, the Chargers did not allow the Warrior surge to rattle them, and maintained in control and up by 11 at the final buzzer.
Ewing led all scorers with 21, leaving her only four points shy of her 1000th career point, which is a milestone she will seek to achieve in playoff competition this week.
Rutt followed closely with 20 points, Maulfair (6), Taylor (5), and Witmer (4) also contributed.
Thursday's contest against Columbia High School was cancelled due to inclement weather, cutting the Chargers' week short and providing a breather before they enter the post season.
Closing out their regular season with an overall record of 12-9, and 7-4 in league competition, the Lady Chargers hope to build on their success as they enter CCAC playoffs this week. The first round will pit them against Conestoga Christian in single elimination play, in which they must win to advance.
"This is what we've been looking forward to and preparing for all year long. Now is the time to see if we have what it takes to become champions," encouraged Ferrari.
Though the Charger's only contest last week was a non-league paring against the Lancaster Country Day Cougars, the game held high stakes for PIAA District 3A rankings. Mt. Calvary entered the contest slotted in the third seed, and the Cougars held fourth, but in a brutally close conclusion, it was the higher seeded Chargers that suffered defeat.
In the high-energy match, the Chargers managed to hold a slim lead at the end of each of the first three quarters, but it was ultimately the fourth quarter that determined the outcome. During the final eight minutes, the Cougars were able to edge ahead of the Chargers, to narrowly claim the win 61-59, and consequently swap seed positions heading into the post season.
Intensity was high from tip off through the final buzzer, making each foul and bucket critical.
Charger senior, Ben Sheard snagged two early personal fouls, limiting his remaining minutes on the court and hindering his effectiveness. Despite having to tiptoe around foul trouble, Sheard continued to assist his team coming up with three steals and twice as many points.
Fellow senior, Brandon Taylor caught fire from beyond the arc, hitting four-of-six attempts during the first half to give the Chargers a scoring boost.
Defensively, the Chargers attempted to thwart the Cougars' inside attack with a 2-3 zone anchored by Wyatt Hawthorne, whose authoritative stance produced a formidable 11 defensive rebounds and denied the Cougars second chance opportunities.
The team's stifling defense, coupled with Taylor's hot shooting, put the Chargers in control of the contest at the halftime break 31-26.
"The first half was really a chess match between the two teams," noted head coach Jared Griest, pointing out the necessity of each team to adjust their strategy according to the defensive maneuvers of the opponent.
Moving into the third quarter, both teams showed signs of fatigue evidenced by missed jumpers and lack of ball control. Fouls continued to play a factor that would eventually prove detrimental to the Chargers. Neither team advanced their offensive cause with an even 9-9 scoring, allowing the Chargers to maintain their five-point advantage entering the final quarter.
Stretching their lead to as many as eight in the early minutes of the fourth, the Chargers appeared to have control, but their accumulation of fouls placed the Cougars in the bonus giving them ample opportunity to chip away at the lead with successful free throws.
As the Cougars clawed back into contention, the Chargers were forced to defend cautiously to avoid further fouls, and ultimately the Cougars capitalized on their opportunities from the line, which included an impressive 14-of-15 free throw shooting from Tayler Eynon.
In the final minutes, the Cougars gained the advantage on the scoreboard and despite late three point buckets from Charger's Jack Lachance and Jared Landis, the Cougars held a two-point lead with only seconds remaining. The Chargers found themselves out of timeouts and lacking fouls to give, and the Cougars were able to drain the clock in their final possession.
Taylor's long-distance shooting tallied 19 points, Landis knocked in 16, and Lachance collected 15 in the loss.
"If you look at it statistically, the difference in the game was the foul line," acknowledged Griest. "As difficult as it was to lose, it was an awesome game between two of District Three's best small schools. I hope that we have the chance to see them again in playoffs."
A reflection back on their successful season includes an 11-1 league run to clinch top spot in the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference, and a 12-6 overall record.
"It has been a joy to coach these young men through the regular season. I've seen tremendous amounts of growth as basketball players and as leaders on and off the court," explained Griest.
With a few days to shift into post season mentality, the Chargers plan to stay focused and sharp. Having already secured their spot in Thursday's semifinal round of the CCAC league tournament, they will wait to find out their first opponent to be determined in an early week contest.
"Our goal is to win the league tournament this week. I'd say we have a lot to play for moving forward," summarized Griest.
Lady Chargers Drop Non-League Paring February 6, 2017
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, you need a team." - John Wooden, legendary NCAA basketball coach
In a slow week on the brink of an intense end-of-season push, the Lady Chargers had only one contest, pitting them against the Steelton-Highspire Rollers, in which they fell to a disappointing final 76-30.
The Rollers came out hot, going up 22-5 in the first, and never relinquished their steady lead. The Lady Chargers continued to battle, providing flashes of individual highlights, but not enough to overcome the deficit.
Three-point shooting from senior Lydia Ewing, who drained four baskets from beyond the arc, gave the Chargers a needed boost in the second and fourth quarters. Abigail Rutt attacked the basket to collect 12 points and 10 rebounds, and freshman, Haley Witmer found ways to gain position inside, boxing out Roller players and grabbing seven boards.
In spite of these efforts, suffocating defensive intensity by the Rollers continued to create Charger turnovers, and allowed the Rollers to extend their lead in each subsequent quarter.
"Despite winning our share of possessions, they won more than we did, and we couldn't recover from our slow start. We reverted to making too many of the same mistakes we made earlier in the year," noted head coach Phil Ferrari.
Channeling the lessons learned from the defeat into positives, the Charger coaching staff hopes to capitalize on this experience moving forward.
"During challenging games like this one, we tell the girls not to worry about the final score, but to focus on winning possessions, playing good basketball, and fighting alongside each other. The little things will make the big things happen," encouraged Ferrari.
When the final score is not the desired outcome, there is added opportunity to demonstrate composure and maturity. It is easy to celebrate a victory with a smile, but attitudes of the heart are on full display in the midst of disappointment.
"We want to make sure that everything we say and do shines the light of Christ to the world around us, no matter what is happening to us," pointed out Ferrari.
Another team goal for the Lady Chargers is to finish strong. An intense end-of-season schedule will demand the squad to play three games in a span of four days this week, followed by what they hope to be a successful post season run in the subsequent weeks. Currently slotted in the third-place ranking of the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference with a 7-4 record, the Lady Chargers still have plenty of time to achieve their year-end aspirations.
"At this time of year, it is natural to start to wear down and burn out. We have been trying to focus on finishing the race well, and not letting our goals slip away at the end of the year," acknowledged Ferrari.
Juggling to find the balance between necessary rest, and equally vital sustained intensity can produce both physical and mental exhaustion as teams enter their post season stretch. The Lady Chargers are hoping to combat that depletion by spending rejuvenating time together. On the itinerary, is a trip to watch an Elizabethtown College game and planning a team service project to put energy into serving others in the community.
On a personal achievement level, Ewing looks ahead to upcoming games, knowing that she currently sits a mere 38 points shy of her 1,000th career point. Should Ewing attain that milestone, she will be the second Lady Charger to do so this season, following Rutt who joined the milestone club in December.
The Lady Chargers kickoff their three-game week at Lancaster Country Day, followed by back-to-back home games Wednesday and Thursday against Dayspring Christian and Columbia High School.
With a single contest last week, it might have been tempting to let down their guard, but the Mt. Calvary boys' team rallied for a decisive 66-31 victory Tuesday over the Hershey Christian Warriors.
Once again, the Chargers took the court without their complete first-string lineup intact, missing two senior starters in the league matchup.
Defense set the tone for the evening, with the Chargers stifling the Warriors with intense man-to-man defense from tip off, and holding the Warriors to only four first quarter points.
Utilizing a well-spread offense, the Chargers registered points from five different players to accrue their 13 first quarter points. The second quarter mirrored the first, this time with the Chargers rocketing ahead on a 19-6 run, which left the scoreboard reading 32-10 at the half.
"With only one game this week, every moment of this game was important for us," explained head coach Jared Griest. "Early in the game we attempted to establish a defensive presence and a balanced offensive attack."
Extending a comfortable lead before entering the second half was also critical to Charger strategy.
"This allowed the second half to be a bit more about the development of our younger players," elaborated Griest, noting that freshman players, Hansen Crick and Sam Robinson, each contributed substantial minutes on the floor.
Another freshman, Scott Lane, kept Charger intensity high in the second half, with defensive awareness and denying the Warriors' passing lanes. Lane's concentration led to Warrior turnovers and consequential Charger offensive conversions. Lane's defensive efforts transferred to offensive success as he gathered a season-high 10 points.
Chip Stambaugh, yet another freshman with a noteworthy contribution, balanced his eight points with four rebounds.
Tyler Masters pulled down five offensive rebounds and put up eight points to further the Charger cause.
Seniors Ben Sheard and Brandon Taylor helped develop opportunities for younger players during their minutes on the court, while also making contributions of their own, collecting 12 and 7 points respectively.
Prior to the game, Charger coaching staff expressed a focus on a balanced offensive attack, and their directions were exemplified in the even distribution of points, with 10 Charger players contributing to the final accumulation of 61.
Stephen Leed and Wyatt Hawthorne each collected six points, David Ellis knocked in four, Jack Hilsher sank a three-point bucket, and Sam Robinson produced a field goal to round out the diverse offensive blitz.
While celebrating the team victory, the Chargers also took time to discuss their actions and examples as individuals and as a unit.
The season theme for the Chargers has been 'Legacy', taken from the New Testament book of Hebrews and keying in on the 'Hall of Faith' displayed in the eleventh chapter.
"We want our basketball program to function as an example; our legacy to be more than just wins and losses, but the character qualities we develop. The way we conduct ourselves, how hard we play, and how we treat our opponents, will leave a legacy in the minds of those we contact," described Griest.
With this most recent triumph, the Chargers have secured exclusive possession of the top spot in the CCAC rankings, with their 11-1 league record.
Despite attaining their goal of the highest seed in their league, the Chargers cannot afford to lose focus. Looking ahead, they square off against Lancaster County Day in a non-league match that will have critical implications for District playoffs.
Chargers Top Covenant Christian, West Shore January 29, 2017
Playing without your full team is difficult in any situation, but in both of last week's league contests, Mount Calvary's boys' basketball team was forced to play without the contributions of their leading scorer, and rose to the challenge as a team, coming up with two monumental victories.
Tuesday, the team took on Covenant Christian, and despite being without senior captain, Jack Lachance, the Chargers came out on top, 63-29.
In the first quarter, the teams traded possessions and remained close, ending the first eight minutes narrowly in Charger favor, 13-10.
In spite of wanting to rest senior Ben Sheard due to a previous injury, the coaching staff made the decision to utilize Sheard to kick start some momentum. Sheard's second quarter contributions changed the tempo of the game as he scored six points and led the team in an explosive 19-3 run.
Entering the second half with a comfortable 32-13 lead, the Chargers were able to rest Sheard, while fellow senior, Jared Landis stepped up to blaze the way, notching a career-high 25 points, and creating an insurmountable deficit that Covenant was unable to reduce before time expired.
"It was tremendous to see his (Landis) tenacity to go after the ball, and his hard work paying off," acknowledged head coach Jared Griest.
With missing players and altered on-court formations, younger players were called upon to take on new roles and provide support.
"I appreciated the contributions from players such as David Ellis and Wyatt Hawthorne. As we enter the final stretch of the season, we need to develop our depth as well as build for our future, and they are a part of that," noted Griest.
Landis was not unassisted in the offensive attack. Brandon Taylor came up with 11 points, Jack Hilsher nailed 8, and Hawthorne, Sheard, and Ellis chipped in 6 apiece.
Friday's contest against the West Shore Bobcats was expected to be a difficult task, once again without Lachance, but the Chargers didn't shy away from the challenge and were rewarded with a 49-28 victory.
Earlier in the season, the Chargers played the Bobcats and fell in a disappointing 30-point defeat, but this time they turned the tables in a cohesive team effort.
"Defensively we changed a few things going into this game," explained Griest. "The changes really paid off as we wore down the West Shore offensive system, and held their leading scorer to nine points."
Sophomore, Tyler Master's energy dominated the first quarter. His efforts produced layups, rebounds, and a block in the initial minutes, creating a contagious intensity.
The Bobcats responded bucket for bucket, and it appeared that the score would be at a deadlock for the first quarter, but with only seconds remaining, Landis pulled up for a three and nailed it, putting the Chargers at an 11-8 advantage entering the second quarter.
The subsequent minutes showed physical desperation from both teams with fouls beginning to play a role. The result was an 11-2 Charger run, with the scoreboard reading a low 22-10 at halftime.
Three-point shooting and free throw conversions created all the difference as the teams progressed in the second half.
Landis drained three additional three point buckets, netting 12 of his game-high 20 points from beyond the arc. Taylor and Stephen Leed each contributed a three-pointer giving the Chargers a boost at crucial moments.
As a team, the Chargers shot 88% from the line, sinking 7-of-8 attempts, and further hindering the Bobcats from creeping back into contention.
Taylor and Masters finished with 10 points apiece providing balance to the scoring surge.
Sheard's presence was felt on defense as he rattled the Bobcat players with his intensity, and forced four turnovers resulting in additional Charger offensive possessions.
"Defense is where this game started and finished tonight. We've been telling our guys that if we want to be the best, we need to be ready to play intense man-to-man," elaborated Griest. "Tonight, for the first time, we saw that intensity throughout the entirety of the game."
West Shore is a team that the Chargers will likely meet again in post season play, and with split results from their two regular season matchups, both teams will be anxious to dominate a third contest.
"They (West Shore) are a well-coached and disciplined team, and I think we caught them off guard tonight with our intensity," commented Griest.
During the evening's senior night honors, the coaching staff took the opportunity to point out the individual strengths of all five graduating seniors.
Stephen Leed is described as an ideal player to coach. Characterized by hard work, encouragement, and overall maturity, Leed has filled a unique role on the Charger team.
Ben Sheard has provided spiritual leadership in his years on the team, demonstrating thoughtful effort in both his basketball skills and intentional relationships with his teammates.
Jack Lachance is known for being a self-motivated, relentless worker. Setting personal goals, and then displaying the perseverance to achieve them, is something that has come to be expected of Lachance.
Brandon Taylor has provided quiet leadership for the team over the past three seasons. Being a selfless player that defers to others, while at the same time displaying strength and leadership, has made him a valuable teammate.
Jared Landis is described best by his coaches with the single word "tenacious." Landis' intensity and love of competition have served him well on the court and are evidences of life skills that he will retain in future endeavors.
Mt. Calvary continues to sit at the top of the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference standings with a 10-1 league record and 14-6 overall.
Last week may have held only two games for the Lady Chargers, but both games represented critical post season implications and the squad did not disappoint, capturing both league wins and placing them one step closer to their post season aspirations.
First up was Tuesday's 53-31 triumph over Covenant Christian. Having already bested the Covenant Falcons earlier in the season, the Chargers made specific goals entering this second matchup.
"We wanted to focus on playing good basketball for all four quarters, especially limiting our turnovers and getting better on the boards," pointed out head coach Phil Ferrari.
Initially off to a slow start, the Chargers began to methodically extend a lead as halftime approached, but lapses on defense and missed rebounding opportunities allowed the Falcons to remain within contention, only trailing by eight at the half, 25-17.
The Chargers came alive in the third quarter, led offensively by Abigail Rutt, who tallied 14 of her 17 points in that quarter alone. Taking strong drives to the basket and pulling down offensive rebounds for second chance buckets, Rutt's intensity allowed the Chargers to pull away, turning their eight-point advantage into 21 by the end of the third.
Having that buffer for the final eight minutes allowed the coaching staff to utilize younger players in less familiar roles, preparing them for post season strain.
"As we prepare for playoffs, we need to have players who are confident and ready to fill in whatever role is needed. We need someone to step up without missing a beat," elaborated Ferrari.
Lydia Ewing had a massive game totaling 25 points spread evenly throughout all four quarters, and Rutt's 17 points were accompanied by 12 rebounds. Jayln Maulfair added 4 points and pulled down 8 boards, while Brittany Taylor chipped in 3 points and 4 rebounds.
Friday night, the Chargers hosted the West Shore Bobcats, and once again led from start to finish, winning 57-38.
The game was clearly led by senior players Rutt and Ewing, a fitting scenario as the evening was also dedicated to honoring Mt. Calvary seniors.
Rutt got the momentum flowing, registering over half of the Chargers 17 first quarter points. The entire team showed up in the defensive effort, but allowed the Bobcats multiple offensive rebounds leading to second shot opportunities.
The second quarter brought a renewed Charger energy, as they looked to widen the gap and increase their lead, leaving the Bobcats trailing 27-14 at the half.
Fatigue appeared to be a factor for the Chargers in a disheveled third quarter, allowing the Bobcats to piece together some offensive momentum and benefit from shooting fouls committed by a tired Charger squad.
As the Bobcats threatened to narrow their deficit to single digits, Rutt dug deep and hit a buzzer beater three-point shot to end the third quarter, extending the Chargers advantage to a comfortable 43-28 lead going into the final eight minutes.
In the fourth, Ewing came out hot, hitting three shots from beyond the three-point arc, and silencing any further attempt at a Bobcat comeback. Nonoka Matsumoto and Natsumi Terada both played high energy fourth quarter minutes, giving the Charger team the boost needed to finish strong.
Rutt finished with a game-high 26 points, and Ewing collected 22.
Following the game, the coaching staff took time to honor their two seniors, Ewing and Rutt, and to acknowledge their on and off court contributions to the team.
Ewing's senior year accomplishments are best highlighted in her offensive consistency, currently shooting 65% from the free throw line and sinking 25 three-point baskets so far this season.
"It's been very rewarding to watch Lydia grow as a player. She has worked hard to improve her shot, has been a true leader on and off the court, and our program will not be the same without her," summarized Ferrari.
Rutt's stats, which include over 1200 career points and averaging double digit rebounds per game, give testament to her on-court influence, but Ferrari chose to focus on Rutt's leadership role for the team.
"What she (Rutt) has improved the most her senior year has been her leadership. Her basketball skills will certainly be missed, but more importantly, we will need to find someone to fill her leadership role," explained Ferrari.
Entering the last few weeks of the regular season, the Lady Chargers continue to climb in the rankings with a league record of 7-4, placing them in the third slot of the CCAC West, and an overall record of 10-7.