Lady Lions win NPCC championship

The New Penn Christian Conference Champion WCCS Lady Lions. From left to right, back row: Lilly Sabella, Lindsey Carpenter, McKenna Phelps, Kiara Baker. Front Row: Coach Robert Marrone, Grace Sabella, Emma Marino, Allie Marino, Desirae Kerr, coach Monica Kerr.

The Warren County Christian School Lady Lions are New Penn Christian Conference champions.

WCCS defeated CCSI and Erie Bethel this weekend to claim the title.

The Lady Lions got the weekend started on Friday night by knocking off CCSI 51-29 in the semfinals. WCCS used a stifling defense to build and steadily add to a solid lead throughout the game.

“I felt the key to beating CCSI was to switch up the defense to prevent them from getting comfortable and keep Rachel Steiger uncomfortable in their offense,” said WCCS coach Robert Marrone. “While initially successful, Kirsten Lashbrooke had her way with our defense in the first half and accounted for 11 of the 17 first half points. In the second half we cut her avenues to the paint and were able to keep them in check. Offensively, Emma Marino lead with a game high 21 points, while many teams are aware that she is the number 1 option, the keys to our success is the ability to share the workload. Once teams start double teaming Emma, we rotate the ball to the empty spots in the zones to get baskets. It’s because of veteran players like Desirae Kerr (10 points) and McKenna Phelps (8 Points) that help our other options Rachel Brenner (4 Points), Kiara Baker (4 Points) and newcomer Grace Sabella (4 Points) get baskets. Coaches tend to want to take your best players out of the game, good thing for us, we are blessed with talented kids that will make you pay.”

The Lady Lions then faced Erie Bethel in the finals, with WCCS winning a 33-18 slugfest.

“The key to this victory was going to be stopping Maria Rose (of Erie Bethel),” Marrone said. “The night prior, in the Semi-Final Match up against Erie First, Maria Rose shot 5-7 from 3, and because of her defense, had 2 steals that lead to 4 points in transition and ended the game with 22 points. We (WCCS) used a press with man pressure and a box and 1 to keep her out of the game offensively. Defensively, I was ok with giving up long jumpers as long as we could get their rebounds and be active defensively causing turnovers. Again, offensively, Emma Marino lead with a game high 13 points, but when Erie Bethel tried to double team Emma, we were again able to get everyone involved to keep up point production.”

Marrone says the Lady Lions took huge steps forward this year on their way to an undefeated league season.

“The best part about this season, aside from going undefeated in the league (8-0), was watching the evolution of both the coaches and girls progress. When you compare their progress from last year, they’ve made huge improvements in both basic fundamentals and basketball I.Q. When you even compare the stats during the course of the season, you can see when people would step up in point production if shots were not falling for someone else. The senior leadership on this team was instrumental in both games and practice in order to help set the tone and pace for our season. Without the guidance of Seniors Desirae Kerr or the help of newcomer Allie Marino, things could have gone south very quickly in so many games.”

“This was my first year coaching the Lady Lions, so I leaned heavily on (assistant) Coach Kerr’s knowledge of the girls dynamics,” Marrone continued. “Coach Monica Kerr has had huge success with the girls in volleyball, it would be silly to ignore her established dynamic with the team. It was such a positive experience to coach with someone when you both have mutual respect for each other.”

Semifinals

CCSI (29)

Hemlock 4-0-0-8, Lashbrook 7-1-2-15, Steiger 0-1-3-1, Ashton 2-1-2-5 Total 13-3-7-29

WCCS (51)

E Marino 9-2-2-21, Kerr 5-0-1-10, Brenner 2-0-2-4, Phelps 4-0-0-8, Baker 1-2-2-4, G Sabella 2-0-0-4

Total 23-4-7-51

CCSI 7 10 5 7 29

WCCS 12 16 13 10 51

3-Pointers: E Marino (W)

Finals

Erie Bethel (18)

M Rose 1-1-2-3, Carson 3-0-0-6, 1-0-0-2, S Rose 3-0-0-7

WCCS (33)

E Marino 5-1-2-13, Kerr 2-0-0-4, Brenner 2-1-3-5, Phelps 1-0-0-2, Baker 2-1-2-5, A Marino 1-0-0-2

Erie Bethel 4 2 9 3 18

WCCS 7 7 6 11 31

3-Pointers: E Marino (W) 2, S. Rose (E)

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