Elizabethtown rallies in second half to put down No. 5 Messiah 62-57
GRANTHAM, Pa. — The last time Elizabethtown defeated Messiah, this group of Blue Jays were still in elementary school. E-town put a 22-game losing streak and 11-game road losing streak to Messiah in the rearview mirror on Wednesday, climbing out of an eight-point hole at halftime to shock the fifth-ranked Falcons 62-57 in a Commonwealth Conference game at Brubaker Gymnasium.
After trailing for large portions of the first half and most of the second, Elizabethtown (9-7, 7-4 CC) chipped away at the Falcons' lead and finally pulled in front after back-to-back layups from Alyssa Aichele with just under six minutes remaining in the game.
Messiah (16-2, 10-1 CC) came into the game having beaten the Blue Jays in every game since a 72-59 defeat Feb. 24, 2001. With a 29-21 lead at the break, it seemed like the Falcons would extend that streak to 23.
After Chelsea Danel's 3-pointer extended the Falcons' lead to 11 right out of halftime, the Jays dug in and battled their way back into the game.
The Falcons' lead stood at 10 with 10:42 to go. During the next two minutes, the Jays cut the advantage down to one. Messiah continued to hold the lead, but could not push it to more than three. After Taylor Kreider's two foul shots, Aichele converted two layups to put Elizabethtown in front at 52-49 with 5:37 left in the game.
The Jays went up by as many as five with just over two minutes to go, but four consecutive points from Messiah's leading scorer Dori Gyori (20 points) brought the Falcons back to within a point.
Aichele hit two big free throws with 24 seconds remaining, coming after a Kreider steal, to give the Jays a three-point cushion at 60-57. After a Messiah timeout, Kira Maier missed a layup, got her own rebound and gave it up to Gyori, who missed a jumper of her own. Nadine Yunginger was then fouled with one second left. She hit two foul shots of her own, completing the comeback and providing the contest's final margin of victory at 62-57 for Elizabethtown's seventh consecutive win.
Kreider led the way with 23 points (9-for-15), eight rebounds, and three steals. Kendra Beittel notched double figures in her third consecutive game. She finished with 12 points, including 2-for-2 from beyond the arc. Taylor Alwine contributed eight points and seven rebounds, while Yunginger finished with seven points, four boards, three steals and two free throws that iced the game with one second remaining.