WILMINGTON — Maddie LaFrance heated up in the second half, hitting a trio of three-point shots to help Central Dauphin (Pa.) to a 50-44 win over Ursuline in the Diamond State Classic on Dec. 28 at the St. E Center. With the win, the Rams advanced to the championship game of the First State Orthopaedics Cup.
The game was tight throughout, with Central Dauphin, out of the Harrisburg area, holding a one-point lead at the half and a two-point advantage as the fourth quarter began. Ursuline had tied the game with 27 seconds left in the third when Emily Rzucidlo scored on a runner in the lane, but LaFrance untied it on a left-handed scoop shot of her own in the closing seconds of the third. That set the stage for a compelling fourth quarter.
LaFrance struck again in the first minute of the fourth, hitting a three from the right elbow to extend the Rams’ lead to five. Neither team would score for the next minute and a half until Audrey Weigl drained a 10-foot jumper in the key, staking Central Dauphin to a 42-35 lead. The Raiders’ Emma Raftovich ended the Rams’ seven-point run with an old-fashioned three-point play just over three minutes into the fourth.
About a minute later, Sophia Filipowski fed Raftovich in the lane for another field goal, cutting the Rams’ lead to just two. But LaFrance was there for her team. The junior guard nailed a long triple to stem the Raiders’ momentum. She hit three free throws down the stretch to help seal the win.
The Raiders enjoyed a 15-8 lead after the first quarter, thanks in large part to their long-distance shooting. They hit four field goals in the first, all of them from three-point land. Hannah Kelley caught fire late, draining two threes in the final 90 seconds to put the Raiders in front by six.
But the shooting faltered in the second, and the Rams found a way to get inside to 6-3 Caroline Shiery. They also got a boost off the bench from Marlie Dickerson, who drove twice for three-point opportunities. She converted one of those.
Kelley, a freshman, had her best game yet as a Raider, leading the team with 12 points. Raftovich added 10. The Raiders (3-3) are back on the St. E Center Court on Monday at 1 p.m. to meet Caravel.
LaFrance scored a game-high 18 points, and Shiery put up 11. Central Dauphin takes on Archmere for the First State Orthopaedics Cup championship on Monday at 6:15 p.m. in the final game of this year’s Diamond State Classic.