EAST ROCKHILL >> As Christopher Dock held a slim three-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Pioneers knew it would take a big effort to prevent a third loss to Faith Christian this season.
“We kept our composure,” Dock head coach Al Grenfell said. “The last three times we were here we lost by a total of seven points. I told them it was our time.”
Lanae Hunsberger had three steals to start the fourth-quarter, which propelled Christopher Dock to a 56-40 win over Faith Christian and saw them advance to the semifinals of the District 1-A playoffs.
Hunsberger played huge for Dock all night, scoring a game-high 23 points for the Pioneers on 9-15 shooting. Twelve of those points came in the crucial 4th quarter, which Dock won 21-8.
“She played under control,” Grenfell said. “It’s hard to put reigns on her. I told her to slow down; she walked the ball up a couple times. I was very proud of her.”
“Last game was close and I was taking the ball out and I kind of threw it away,” Hunsberger said. “I kind of felt like it was my fault so I had to make up for that.”
The Pioneers fell to Faith 51-49 in overtime last week in the Bicentennial Athletic League tournament. The Lions also beat Dock without Hunsberger 34-30 earlier in the season.
Dock’s defensive intensity was a key all night, as a 1-2-2 press led to 22 Faith Christian turnovers.
“I put a 1-2-2 trap press in with about two weeks to go in the season and the best thing is the girls liked it,” Grenfell said. “They liked it so they’re gonna play hard.”
“I knew they always pass it back and forth up top,” Hunsberger said about Faith’s strategy to breaking that press. “So I just kind of was watching where they were looking and I ran in when I thought they would pass there.”
In the second and third quarters, when Hunsberger only managed two points, Kate Strickland more than picked up the slack. The freshman scored all 14 of her points in the middle frames.
“Kate Strickland picked up her game,” Grenfell said. “I told her any time we overload one side and you get the ball drive to the basket. She likes to drive and finish.”
Olivia Longacre pitched in 10 points of her own for the Pioneers, including six points in the fourth alone. Nicole Ford cleaned up on the glass all night long, hauling in 12 rebounds including 7 in the final period.
Now that Dock has gotten over the Faith Christian hump, it looks to do some damage in the next round of the District 1-A playoffs Wednesday at Cheltenham.
“We haven’t beaten (Faith) in a long time. It was our revenge tonight.” Hunsberger said. “We are so hype. It was a big game for us tonight.”
Ashley Forker paced Faith Christian with 15 of their 40 points on the night.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair for the first four minutes, as the score was tied at seven. That’s when Dock turned up the intensity on defense and sprinted out on a 10-0 run to take a 17-7 lead and hold a 17-9 advantage after a quarter.
Faith really struggled on offense for most of the first half, mired by a lack of movement that resulted into turnovers. The Lions started a press with 2:38 to go in the half, however, which sparked the entire team to life. Faith ended the second quarter on an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to four. Dock led 24-20 after 16 minutes.
Lanae Hunsberger led Dock with nine points in the first half, all coming in the first quarter. The second-quarter scoring was taken over by Kate Strickland, who had all seven of the Pioneer points. Liz Hoffman did a nice job keeping Faith going on offense, scoring five of her seven points in the first half.
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