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Meadowbrook clinches ACAA East

Feb. 2—MILTON — Kailey Devlin was like a force of nature in the second quarter of Friday's game, the personification of Meadowbrook Christian's aggressiveness in the face of its latest challenge.

The host Lions fell behind after one quarter and responded with suffocating pressure that forced a dozen turnovers — including three Devlin steals — to shut out Juniata Christian while turning around their key Allegheny Christian Athletic Association matchup.

Devlin scored nine of her game-high 21 points in the second quarter, teammate Maddy Fasnacht dropped 10 more in the third, and Meadowbrook Christian clinched its second consecutive ACAA East championship with a 50-21 victory.

"We haven't been coming out strong and we haven't been doing the little things, so we kind of needed a wake-up call," Devlin said. "I think coming out at halftime, or really in the second quarter and then extending that was like, 'OK. This is what we need to do.'

"As much as you don't want to come out like that, we needed to find it within ourselves to gut it out."

Meadowbrook Christian (21-1 overall, 9-0 ACAA) rebounded from a loss Saturday at Lourdes Regional by knocking off archrival Northumberland Christian on Tuesday, then halting Mount Calvary Christian's eight-game winning streak Thursday before snuffing Juniata Christian's five-win spree.

"Having Lourdes scheduled where they were, we knew those games after that would be games that we were going to have to play and build through to get ready for the playoffs. Try to get ourselves on a run, one way or the other, regardless of the result with Lourdes," said Meadowbrook coach Shane Devlin. "It was a game to refocus us, whether we won or lost. These teams that were after them ... we weren't playing any powder puffs."

Juniata Christian (11-8, 6-2) could have tied Meadowbrook in the loss column with games remaining against Columbia County Christian and Northumberland, which are tied in third place at 4-4. Instead, after getting nine first-quarter points from senior Erin Sheaffer to seize a 10-6 lead, Juniata was scoreless on two shots in the second quarter and fell behind 19-10 at the half.

Juniata committed 12 second-quarter turnovers — nine on 10 possessions to open the period, including seven in a row at one stretch. Shane Devlin, who was short-handed at times during the week due to illness and injury, switched from man-to-man to zone for the second quarter. "We just weren't staying in front of people," he said. Meadowbrook's full-court 2-2-1 pressure created a thicket, thoroughly flustering Juniata.

"I really think it was the defense that changed the game and made the big difference. The girls definitely communicated better in the second quarter," he added. "I'm proud of the girls for the way they fought through that first quarter, and then settled in and played the kind of basketball we're capable of."

Meadowbrook went in front 11-10 when Kailey Devlin ran off a screen to drill a 3-pointer, then all-state guard began to break down her shadow defender off the dribble. She scored off a determined drive for a 13-10 lead, and later converted steals in transition as the margin neared double digits.

"I think I've been trying to dish more because we have so many good shooters that I've noticed myself not driving as much, and that's really my game," said Kailey Devlin, who surpassed the 1,700-point mark on senior night. "So I was coming into this game with the mindset that I'm looking to attack, and if I have a dish I'll dish it."

Emma George, who scored a career-high seven points against Mount Calvary, opened the second half with an elbow jumper to make it 21-10. Maddie Warner then ended Juniata's 11-minute scoring drought with a driving bucket. By the time the visitors scored again, Annika Martin's drive stopped a 13-0 Meadowbrook run highlighted by a pair of Fasnacht 3-pointers. Kailey Devlin hit a triple for a 20-point cushion, and senior classmate Audrey Millett — honored post-game with Devlin and Alayna Smith — closed the third with a baseline jumper that made it 38-16.

Meadowbrook's seniors were taken out midway through the fourth quarter, just beforte the margin hit a high of 32 when Fasnacht found Hannah Millett cutting to the hoop. Fasnacht backed Devlin with 17 points and pairs of rebounds, assists and steals. Smith had four points, three rebounds and two steals. Audrey Millett added two points, two boards and two assists.

Sheaffer topped Juniata with 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

"We talked in the locker room that Norry and all those other teams, they shouldn't want to play us after we had that loss to Lourdes" said Kailey Devlin. "So we want to have that mentality, from here on out, that every game is going to be a battle."

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MEADOWBROOK CHRISTIAN 50, JUNIATA CHRISTIAN 21

Juniata Christian (11-8, 6-2) 21

Maddie Warner 1 0-0 2, Erin Sheaffer 5 3-3 14, Annika Martin 1 1-2 3, Abby Warner 0 2-2 2. Totals 7 6-7 21.

3-point goals: Sheaffer.

Did not score: Jenna Glick, Kathryn Peachey, Morgan Hoover, Rachel Zeiders, Natalie Hoffman.

Meadowbrook Christian (21-1, 9-0) 50

Kailey Devlin 9 0-0 21, Emma George 1 0-0 2, Maddy Fasnacht 6 3-4 17, Audrey Millett 1 0-0 2, Alayna Millett 2 0-0 4, Hannah Millett 1 0-0 2, Addison Nevius 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 3-4 50.

3-point goals: Devlin 3, Fasnacht 2.

Did not score: Grace Ask, Taylor Nevius, Cassidy Miller, Faith Lubold.

Score by quarters

Juniata Christian;10;0;6;5 — 21

Meadowbrook Christian;8;11;19;12 — 50