Elba outscores Romulus 24-2 in first quarter, cruises to 70-15 win in Class D2 quarterfinal
ELBA, N.Y. --- The Elba Lancers came into Tuesday night riding a 20-game winning streak dating back to last season. And they showed exactly why by outscoring the Romulus Warriors 24-2 in the first quarter en route to a 70-15 win in the Class D2 quarterfinals.
In the first quarter, Romulus opened the scoring as Lilah Champion hit a jump shot to put the Lancers down 2-0. But the Lancers responded with a vengeance, scoring nine points in just under a minute to take the lead.
The main advantage for the Lancers in the first quarter was their full-court press defense. As soon as the ball was inbounded, two Lancer defenders crashed hard, forcing the Warriors into double-digit turnovers. Elba head coach Tom Redband said postgame that the plan early on was to pressure the Warriors into making mistakes.
"We were looking to put pressure on them with a full-court press and getting in the passing lanes. We were hoping to get some turnovers that could lead to some easy offense on the other end," Redband said.
With such an early lead and aggressive defensive style, the Lancers began to cycle in players off their bench in the second quarter. But that did not mean the defensive havoc would not continue. In the second quarter alone, Romulus shot 0-12 from the field. Overall, their two-point showing in the quarter came from the free-throw line.
Meanwhile, the Lancers offense started to struggle, putting up just 12 points in the second quarter. Five of those came from senior Brynn Walczak.
With the lead in hand, Elba cooled their full-court press in the second half, allowing Romulus to get the ball over the half-court line. But while the press went away, the speed of Elba's defensive scheme didn't. During each possession, Redband often switched from a 2-3 zone to man defense, which confused the Warriors.
Overall in the third, the Lancers forced another quarter of double-digit turnovers and twenty more points on the scoreboard. The third had more of a balanced scoring attack for the Lancers, as Walczak, Leah Bezon, and Taylor Augello each had over four points.
With the game on cruise control, the Lancers relaxed their intensity and ultimately walked out of their home gymnasium with the 70-15 win.
But while the focus was on the game, Brynn Walczak continued her offensive tear. Tuesday's double-digit performance for the senior was her thirteenth consecutive game of at least 10 points dating back to last season. The last time Walczak did not score over 10 points was on March 6th, 2020 against Andover, where she had nine.
Walczak said postgame that the mantra in the locker room was simple; take it one possession at a time.
"[Coach] said to go in with our heads high but to play like its any other team. We started off a bit slow, but we got into our rhythm, had elite passing, and we weren't selfish," Walczak said.
There is a reason why the Lancers have won three consecutive sectional titles: scoring. On this year's roster, the senior trio of Walczak, Maddie Muehlig, and Leah Bezon each have over 1000 points in their careers for the Lancers. And this is not something new for the Lancers, according to Walczak.
"We all have been together since third grade. We all know how to pass together, shoot and play defense and just click well together," she said.
With the win, the #1 seeded Lancers now move on to their fourth-consecutive Class D2 semifinals where they take on #4 seeded Northstar Christian on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. for the right to go to the finals.