In what was sure to be an instant classic, the No.4 seeded Fleetwood Lady Tigers took on No.5 seed Berks Catholic at Exeter. The two teams had previously played twice, splitting the regular season series, with both games being decided by six points.
The Lady Tigers jumped out to an early 7-0 run before a Courtney Wensel shot put Berks Catholic on the board. However, Wensel’s basket did not immediately trigger the Lady Saints offense. The Lady Tigers then followed with another long run on 11-0. Led by Kendra Bamberger’s 7 first quarter points, the Lady Tigers held an 18-4 advantage after one.
In a game of runs, the Lady Saints, after trailing 21-5, would head into the half down only eight, 25-17. The sharp shooting of sophomore guard Haley Kubinak played a major role in sparking the Saints late first half success.
The Lady Saints, led by Courtney Wensel would cut the Fleetwood lead down to two after three quarters, 30-28. It was at that point that everyone in the gym knew that this game would end just like each of the previous.
Devon Merritt, Berks Catholic’s highly touted sophomore center was able to briefly pull the Saints into a tie, before an Olivia Zdradzinski layup gave BC a two point advantage 34-32. However, the Lady Tigers would turn to their senior captain Kendra Bamberger. Bamberger would score 8 of her game-high 22 points in the final quarter. Bamberger’s efforts, combined with the foul shooting of Lauren Lister and Xiomara Toledo, would push the Lady Tigers to a 48-40 victory.
After the game Bamberger said “we stuck together as a team, even when our bigs got in foul trouble. We were patient on offense and we kept rebounding.” She also added “I honestly didn’t think we’d come out as well as we did. The big lead at the beginning definitely helped us.”
A very emotional coach Matt Kellett after the game said “These girls finished the game very nicely. They’ve done everything I’ve asked of them.” Kellett fought back tears as he could not quite put into word the excitement he had for his team to be playing at Hershey on Wednesday.
The Lady Tigers will take on top-seeded Susquehannock at the Giant Center Wednesday evening. When asked what would be the key to taking down Susquehannock, Bamberger stated “we just have to keep our game plan, keep practicing hard, and most of all keep playing like a family.”