March 1, 2013

Vikings, Lions to meet in Class D final tonight

PLATTSBURGH — The Moriah Vikings and the Elizabethtown-Lewis Lions will meet tonight for the first time this season, and the winner will be crowned Section VII Class D girls’ basketball champion.

The Lions have had a fantastic season as they are 18-1, with their only loss coming against Class B’s Saranac.

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Elizabethtown-Lewis is led by the five veteran starters, four of whom have started for head coach Don Ratliff for four consecutive seasons. This season, Ratliff was fortunate enough to be able to rest his seasoned starters in a few games, as he received very good production from his bench.

“Our six, seven, eight, nine girls are good players; they deserve playing time,” Ratliff said. “We’ve had our share of injuries this year, but we survived that stretch because of our bench.”

The Lions love to create turnovers in order to run the floor. They are known for their aggressive man-to-man defense and full-court pressure.

“We’re going to work on beating their press,” Moriah coach Steve Pelkey said. “I know they enjoy pressing and getting teams to turn over the ball. We just need to slow things down and keep it a low-scoring game.”

Ratliff credited not only his team’s defense, but also its improvement in rebounding, which is the reason why it has been able to control the tempo of games and get points on the board.

“We have gotten better looks and more opportunities to score off of rebounds,” Ratliff said. “Our offensive rebounds have gone up in the second half of the year because we have a good idea when we have to shoot.”

So far this season, Ratliff has gotten the most point production from junior Lily Whalen and senior Shonna Brooks, who are averaging 14.6 and 12.4 points per game, respectively.

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