- May 18, 2022
As Lewisburg’s defense was putting the final touches on an outstanding performance, another player was also putting the final pieces together for her performance of the night. Lewisburg’s Grace Kelleher led the Dragons throughout its showdown with Shamokin, which had lost just one previous game up to that point. Kelleher, along with the Dragon’s outstanding
As Lewisburg’s defense was putting the final touches on an outstanding performance, another player was also putting the final pieces together for her performance of the night.
Lewisburg’s Grace Kelleher led the Dragons throughout its showdown with Shamokin, which had lost just one previous game up to that point. Kelleher, along with the Dragon’s outstanding defense, paced the offense throughout the final quarter, nailing five free throws to ice the 33-22 win over the Indians.
“We pride ourselves in defense and rebounding,” Kelleher said. “And now our free throw shots are getting a lot better. We really pride ourselves on defensive possessions and rebounding. I was really proud of that tonight.”
The Dragons had an edge on the glass, but no single play embodies the game more than a late sequence that saw Kelleher reach the foul line.
Kelleher was good from the line, but not perfect. She missed three attempts in the final quarter as the Dragons attempted to put the game away. In two of those instances, Kelleher was heady enough to follow her shot and grab the rebound. Immediately after getting her rebound she dribbled out to the top of the key to reset the offense. She didn’t attempt to drive for a bucket and get an easy putback. She knew the clock needed to run and waited for a player from Shamokin to take the ball away.
“Drain some clock,” Kelleher said of her initial thoughts after grabbing the rebound. “I think there were 45 seconds to go at that point and we needed to drain the clock. We had to keep them off the offensive side.”
Lewisburg made 14 free throws throughout the course of the game, but ten came over the final eight minutes. Kelleher knocked down five, Emily Sholly nailed three and Bethany Rippon came through with two. All ten of the Dragons’ fourth-quarter points came from the line.
“When you’re protecting a lead, Shamokin was trying to get the ball back, and we made enough free throws,” Lewisburg coach Phil Stamm said. “That’s what it comes down to. A lot of these girls are juniors and seniors, and they know how to handle situations. They did a good job of that.”
Kelleher helped the Dragons finish the first quarter with a two-point lead. As the defense clamped down to limit Shamokin to just three points in the first quarter, the offense went cold. Kelleher knew her team needed something to happen and she delivered with a drive, basket, and foul. After getting set, Kelleher drained her free throw to set the final total of the quarter.
With the Dragons holding a slim lead, Kelleher continued to perform. She hit two more free throws in the second along with canning a layup as the Dragon’s took an 11-7 lead into halftime. Prior to playing hero down the stretch, Kelleher excelled through the third quarter, connecting on her team’s only three and finishing with seven points.
“Our defense throughout the game was really good,” Kelleher said. “All of the girls worked really hard in the third quarter especially. It was my job to hit the shot in the third because everybody was stepping it up.”
Kelleher has been outstanding for the Dragons. If they can keep things moving there’s a good chance she will have an opportunity to convert that into something special in the postseason.