When playoff time comes around, sometimes surprising heroes pop up to help a team survive.
In the first round of the District 3 Class AA girls' basketball playoffs on Tuesday night, the Biglerville High Canners got one such performance, and combined that with a stifling defense for a 49-43 home victory over the Tulpehocken Trojans.
On a night when Biglerville's leading scorer was held to five points and the Canners turned the ball over 24 times, junior Katie Camara scored a season-high 17 points to lead the Canners to a second round-showdown at Delone Catholic on Friday.
"We started timid," Biglerville head coach Rob Moore said. "No one wanted to make a mistake ... No one would attack the hoop. Thanks to Katie Camara for getting it going for us."
"In warmups, I was just knocking down shots, and I thought this could be my night," Camara said.
The Canners had just 18 points at halftime, but held a 3-point lead in large part due to seven Tulpehocken turnovers on the Trojans' first nine possessions of the game.
The scoring pace picked up considerably in the second half with Camara, who averages just under seven points per game, scoring a game-high 12 second-half points.
Fifteen seconds after the break, Nettie Baugher scored a layup after getting knocked around in the lane a little bit. The Trojans answered less than a minute later when Darian Gordon recorded a layup.
A minute later, Camara found Olivia Moore in the corner with a crosscourt pass, and the senior point guard knocked down a three to make it 23-17. Olivia Moore scored 14 points and added five steals.
Camara was the recipient of a breakout pass from Maddie Wenk that sprung her for a layup to push the lead to 25-17, but the fiesty Trojans fought right back with a 6-0 run.
Gordon and reserve forward Hannah Zerbe each crashed the glass for putbacks , and then, with three minutes to go in the third, Brooke Boyer whirled through the lane for a lay-up, and the Canners' lead was trimmed to just two.
Rob Moore had seen enough and decided to call timeout.
"I told them 'You're playing not to lose. You're going to lose'," Rob Moore said. " 'You've got to attack the bucket, and make (the officials) blow the whistle.'"
Moore also noticed some of the Delone Catholic players and head coach Gerry Eckenrode were in attendance.
"I said to (my team), 'Delone's bored over there. They are thinking, 'What a waste', and they've got to be licking their chops'", Rob Moore said. "Maybe it's good they saw us play like this. Maybe they will take us lightly."
Immediately out of the timeout, Camara found Rebecca Isaac for her only field goal of the night, a layup. Isaac came in leading the Canners with 13.9 points per game on the season.
Olivia Moore knocked down two free throws less than one-half minute later, and the Canners had stabilized the situation.
Morgan Firestine answered with a quick layup for the Trojans, but Camara scored six points in the final 1:43 of the third as the Canners closed on an 8-2 run to take a 36-27 lead to the fourth.
Isaac sank two free throws 18 seconds into the fourth to push the lead to 11. The Canners would stretch the lead no higher, but Tulpehocken never narrowed the deficit lower than six.
Taylor Boyer dropped in a putback layup with 5:25 to go and the deficit was six, but Camara took a pass and raced to the 3-point line where she hit a backbreaking three.
"We had team goals and we met them," Tulpehocken head coach Bill Moyer said, "so we've had a very successful season. We have almost everyone back next year. We only lose one senior. I wouldn't want to coach anywhere else right now."
Olivia Moore 4 4-4 14 , Wagner 0 0-0 0, Katie Camara 7 2-5 17, Baugher 3 0-4 6, Freed 2 0-0 4, Isaac 1 3-4 5, Trent 1 0-0 2, Wenk 0 1-2 1 Totals 18 10-19 49
Taylor Boyer 7 1-3 15, Morgan Firestine 4 2-3 10 , Boyer 1 4-6 6, Zerbe 3 0-0 6, Gordon 2 0-3 4, Fisher 1 0-0 2, Jonas 0 0-0 0, Stump 0 0-0 0. Totals18 7-15 43
Biglerville 11 17 18 13 -- 49
Tulpehocken 4 11 12 16 -- 43
3-point goals -- Biglerville 3 (Moore 2, Camara).