The Lancaster Catholic Crusaders (6-0 league, 10-2 overall) won the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Four championship Monday with a 55-40 defeat of Elco at Catholic’s gym.
As usual for generations of Catholic teams, defense did it. Elco (4-2, 12-6) had 17 turnovers, not a colossal number, but they came in game-turning bunches.
“They wear you down,’’ said Elco coach Ashli Shay. “They force you to play a different way. What I talked about (with the players) is when you get physically worn down, you can’t get mentally worn down.’’
The Raiders walked that tightrope nicely through the first quarter, with just two turnovers and trailing on the scoreboard by just 10-9.
Then came six TOs in seven second-quarter possessions, and suddenly it was 18-9.
Speaking of which, the win means Catholic advances to the semifinals of the L-L League playoffs against the winner of a quarterfinal Tuesday between Elizabethtown, which won the Section Two play-in over Ephrata on Monday, and Section Three champ Cocalico.
Catholic came into Monday seeded third in District Three Class 4A, Elco seventh. The Raiders got 11 points from Kailey Eckhart and 10 from Ashley Yoh.
Standings Section 4: