In a lot of ways, it was a boxing match between Elizabethtown Area High School and Garnet Valley High School in the first round of the PIAA Girls Class 6A Basketball Championship. Whoever could survive the longest would come out with a victory.
Unfortunately for the Lady Bears, they were on the losing end of the game. Garnet Valley came away with a 56-53 victory in a thrilling contest.
Elizabethtown ended the first half with a 30-20 lead, 20 of those points coming in the second quarter. Garnet Valley responded with an 8-0 run early in the third, and from there on out, the two teams traded blows back and forth until the bitter end.
Garnet Valley went on another scoring run midway through the final period to seize control of the game. They led 53-48 with just over 50 seconds left. Elizabethtown refused to give up, narrowing the gap to one point off an Amber Orban 3-pointer and an Autumn Royer putback. Emily McAteer nailed two free throws for Garnet Valley, however, and a final midcourt heave from Marena Lonardi went wide right for Elizabethtown.
Lonardi led the Lady Bears in scoring with 22 points, also nabbing 9 rebounds and 4 steals. Sydney Pierson had 11 points and 9 boards, while Orban chipped in 10 points.
McAteer carried Garnet Valley for most of the night. She finished with a double-double, earning 28 points and 13 rebounds. The trio of Nicole Barnes, Brianna Borcky and Morgan Falcone all had 7 points, the latter hitting two key 3-point shots.
With the loss, Elizabethtown’s season has come to an end. Garnet Valley will face the winner of Upper Dublin and Cardinal O’ Hara in the second round of states.