ALLENTOWN - At times it looked more like a prize fight, as Bethlehem Catholic and Palmerton both didn't want Saturday's District 11 Class 3A quarterfinal to be their final game of the season. It was also evident neither wanted to take the easy road to the next round.
Four Golden Hawks finished the afternoon on the bench after fouling out. Bomber co-captain Kelsey Hay also went to the sidelines with five fouls and 1:31 left in regulation and her team with a three-point lead.
After putting in a 20-point, 21-rebound performance, Hay looked on as her teammates kept it all together even though they had to go overtime for a 59-53 victory.
The win moved them into the semifinal round where they will take on No. 1 seed Central Catholic (a 44-24 winner over Wilson), on Wednesday night at Northampton at 6 o'clock.
All of the Bombers (18-5) that were on the floor in the waning minutes of regulation and the overtime had a hand in the win:
– Casey Rinfret, who took a blow to the face with 1:48 left in overtime, refused to come out of the game and calmly sank two free throws to put the Bombers up by four. She was 9-for-11 from the line in the contest and also chipped in with 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
– Katie Reimer scored the first basket in overtime on a driving layup and added a free throw to complete a three-point play. She also came up with a couple of big defensive rebounds.
– Gina Farquhar, who was 7-for-9 from the charity stripe, made three of them in the overtime. She also complete a big three-point play in the final 1:30 of regulation.
– Jen Snyder sent the game into overtime making a free throw with 7.8 seconds left to tie it and then played tough defense down the other end to make sure the Golden Hawks didn't get off a good game-winning shot.
– Emelie Meinhart and Morgan Mummey, who both saw more action than they're used to seeing, came up big on the defensive end with Meinhart pulling down three rebounds and blocking a shot and Mummey adding a pair of boards.
"Casey took a heckuva shot in the face and she wanted to stay in the game," said Palmerton head coach Don Delich. "Then she makes two critical foul shots. She took a physical beating this game.
"My six and seven girls, Emilie Meinhart and Morgan Mummey, came up huge. We were in foul trouble so they played a lot of minutes. In a district playoff game against a quality team like Bethlehem Catholic they did great.
"When Kelsey fouled out we could have folded and we didn't. Jen Snyder is also just so underrated. She plays great defense and isn't a bad offensive player either as she showed when she banked in that free throw to save us."
In a matter of five seconds in the last minute of regulation, the Bombers saw a four-point lead go to a one-point deficit as pesky point guard Brianna Morales hit a three-pointer and then laid in a basket off a steal. Snyder's free throw gave Palmerton some much-needed life and it carried into the extra session.
Bridget Smith was able to hit a couple of open jumpers from the side for the Golden Hawks, but six straight free throws gave the Bombers a 59-51 lead and a jumper at the buzzer by Morales counted to make it a six-point difference at the end.
"We were a little tight early," said Delich, who had surgery today and has turned the team over to assistant and JV coach Ralph Andrews while he recuperates. "The last two games we've played we came out tight and we can't do that Wednesday."
Rinfret and Farquhar finished the day with 16 and 11 points respectively. Morales had 13 and Bridget Smith 11 for Becahi (13-11).
Plesko 0-4-6-4, S. Smith 3-0-0-6, Morales 6-0-0-13, Kessler 3-0-0-6, Carpenter 2-2-2-7, B. Smith 4-2-4-11, Deisher 2-1-2-6, Perez 0-0-0-0, Reightler 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-9-14-53.
Hay 5-9-15-20, Rinfret 3-9-11-16, Reimer 3-1-1-7, Farquhar 2-7-9-11, Snyder 0-3-4-3, Mummey 0-0-0-0, Meinhart 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 14-29-40-59.
Becahi 10 13 9 15 6 - 53
Palmerton 11 12 13 11 12 - 59
Three-Pointers: Becahi - B. Smith 1, Morales 1, Deister 1, Carpenter 1; Palmerton - Hay 1, Rinfret 1.