The Susquehanna Lady Sabers were home for the holidays, but they were less than cordial hosts.
After a tough preseason against some of the better teams throughout District II, the Susquehanna took out some frustration on some of their local rivals on their way to capturing their third straight Denise Reddon/Jill Hoffman Memorial Holiday basketball tournament held at Susquehanna Community High School.
In the championship game against Elk Lake, both teams got off to sluggish start as the Lady Sabers led 5-4 after the quarter’s buzzer.
In the second quarter tournament MVP Makenzie Steele began to take over scoring seven of her game-high 15 points as Susquehanna opened it up and led 19-11 at the half.
“We relied on our defense to get us going,” said Susquehanna Coach Kirk Fallon. “We were able to make things tough for both of our opponents and it provided a spark offensively.”
After intermission Susquehanna didn’t let up holding the Lady Warriors to six points while six different Lady Sabers scored to extend the lead to 35-17.
Another balanced quarter resulted in a 46-26 final score as Steele’s 15 was followed by Taylor Huyck’s nine and Cortney Bennett’s eight.
Fallon praised Steele for recognizing what defenses were doing to her and taking advantage of what was available.
“I think she’s starting to realize that defenses are game planning different ways to stop her,” said Fallon. “She did a good job of accepting what they were giving her.”
Lily Decker led Elk Lake with seven points.
Elk Lake Coach Kevin Tewksbury was proud of his relatively young squad and credited Susquehanna’s defense, especially on Elk Lake’s leading scorer Krista Jones.
“Taylor (Huyck), did a nice job denying Krista Jones the ball,” said Tewksbury
The Lady Warriors made some adjustments to their rotation heading into the tournament and started two freshmen and a sophomore.
“I think the girls learned a lot from this game,” added Tewksbury.
In the consolation Montrose took out its frustrations of the day before running away with a 51-15 win over Blue Ridge.
The Lady Meteors scored 16 points in the first quarter and led 30-8 by halftime.
Tangi Smith and Mia Snyder led the balanced attack with nine points while Ciara Hundley and Mya Snyder added eight and Haley Pompey chipped in with seven.
Steele was joined on the All-Tournament team by Huyck, Elk Lake’s Destiny McCarey, Montrose’s Lizzy Lathrop, and Blue Ridge’s Kara Wdowiak.
Susquehanna reached the final in a rematch of last year’s championship. The Lady Sabers defeated Montrose 60-32.
Steele scored 10 of her 16 points in the first quarter as Susquehanna built a 23-7 lead.
Montrose tightened down defensively in the second quarter but Susquehanna led 33-16 at the half.
Huyck finished 15 points and Bennett chipped in with seven.
Elk Lake reached the final with a 54-23 drubbing of Blue Ridge.
The Lady Warriors held Blue Ridge to three points in each of the first two quarters and built a 29-6 halftime lead.
“We shot the three ball well,” said Tewksbury who believes his team can shoot well from the arc but has been inconsistent so far this season.
Krista Jones and Lily Decker each scored 12 points to pace Elk Lake. Tamara Voda added eight and Mercedes Zajaczkowski chipped in with seven. Rayne and Savanaah Glover each scored six for Blue Ridge.