By Andrew Hunter
Knightly News Reporter
Photos by Dylan Bowman
The Central Penn Lady Knights were victorious, 62-59, in a closely contested match against the Christendom Crusaders on Friday night at East Pennsboro Middle School.
One thing Central Penn Athletic Director Kasey Hicks said about the women’s basketball team this year was, “We need to learn how to play together for 40 minutes, instead of just a half.”
The Knights did just that.
The Crusaders struck first, with a quick layup in the first 14 seconds, and then Tahniyaah Jackson responded seconds later with a mid-range jumper. The Crusaders were playing very tough defense, forcing a total of seven turnovers in the first quarter. Still, the Knights settled down and found their rhythm by scoring 15 points in the quarter, knotting the game at 15 at the end of the first.
The Knights defense maintained high intensity from the first quarter into the second, forcing multiple turnovers that turned into fast-break opportunities. With this defensive effort, the Knights went on an 8-0 run to start the second quarter until the Crusaders scored six minutes in.
With 26 seconds remaining in the half, the Crusaders’ Catherine Thomas hit a big three-pointer to shift momentum going into the half. But the Knights’ Cayla Thomas hit an astonishing half-court shot at the buzzer to keep the momentum going for the Knights, extending their lead to 30-23 going into the half.
After beating the buzzer to the end half, the Knights held the momentum by penetrating the Crusaders’ defense and continued their own stellar defense. Throughout the third quarter, the Crusaders kept cutting away at the Knights’ 11-point lead, reducing it to four going into the final quarter.
To start the fourth, both teams kept trading buckets, and midway through the fourth, the Knights led by six, but the Crusaders kept knocking on Central Penn’s door, answering with two layups and cutting the lead to two.
With 21 seconds left in the game, Jackson was fouled and sent to the line, making one of two shots.
Seconds later, the Crusaders came down the court and hit a clutch three to put the Crusaders down by only one. Quickly after, Jackson was fouled again and sent to the line, making both free throws, to put the Crusaders away with the Knights winning 62-59.
The Knights improved to 8-4 at the halfway point of the season, with Christendom falling to 5-2.
Jackson was the Knightly News Player of the Game, notching 25 points, 19 rebounds and 5 assists. Christendom’s Catherine Thomas scored 28 points and added 14 rebounds in the loss.
The Knights will have some time off for the holiday, as their next contest is Jan. 6, for the 2nd Annual Parrish Petry Classic at Penn State-York.
The Knightly News Media Club broadcast this game on its YouTube channel. Paul Miller and Tyler Coleman were on the call.