Following a restful Thanksgiving break, the Lady Eagles of Emmaus were thankful to be back on the court, taking on their first conference game of the season. Their opponents were their in-state rivals, the Eagles of Faith Baptist Bible College. The Faith Eagles had graduated several key players last year, giving the Eagles the upper hand in this game. The EBC Eagles commanded the court from tip-off until the final horn, allowing Coach Graw to give his younger players a significant amount of game experience as they take on more challenging opponents in the rest of the season.
The starting five for EBC came out strong in the first quarter, demonstrating their team chemistry as they moved the ball around the court. Easy lay-ups off of steals by Tiffany Williams (Freshman #44) and Nakiah Kimble (Junior #1), and two 3-pointers by Madison Laib (Junior #24) gave the Eagles a 18-2 lead with over five minutes remaining in the quarter. At this point Coach Graw elected to send in his freshman team. Though they had a slightly shaky start, allowing the Faith Eagles a couple of lay-ups and free throws, the young EBC Eagles gave an equal response to each of their points, ending the quarter with a score of 24-8
Coach Graw put his starters back in for the second quarter, and after a few missed opportunites to score, Laib kicked off the quarter with her third 3 of the evening. Williams contributed two more lay-ups, one from a steal and the other from an offensive rebound, while Laib knocked down her fourth 3, placing the score at 34-8. After this, the freshman began to become comfortable in the game, with Amber Heubner (Freshman #33) hitting a couple of jumpers from assists by Lydia Rose (Freshman #12) and Nicole Gordon (Freshman #21), and Rose making her first 3 of the game. The Faith Eagles took advantage of a couple of defensive lapses to make a couple of lay-ups, but the EBC Eagles also made some easy lay-ups to close out the half with a score of 47-20.
The EBC Eagles were confident going into the second half, with Kaila Shock (Freshman #25) scoring the first lay-up of the half. This was quickly followed by a fifth and final 3-point shot from Laib, leaving her at 5 for 5 from the 3-point line. Consistent play from all of the EBC Eagles allowed them to gain an even larger lead on their opponents, as they continued to earn easy lay-ups and take advantage of free-throw opportunities. Strong defensive play only allowed the Faith Eagles to make two field goals during the quarter, leaving the score at 65-24 heading into the final quarter of the game.
Coach Graw played his freshman for the entirety of the fourth quarter, and they did not disappoint. They continued their consistent play, finding scoring opportunities and playing over-all solid defense. Rose seemed to unleash her full shooting power, knocking down four 3-pointers over the duration of the quarter. A few made free-throws by the Kerttula duo (Emma, Freshman #5, and Marissa, Sophomore #23), and another couple of field goals by Shock placed the final score at 89-33.
Though this game was not what one might call a nail-biter, this was the kind of game that helps younger players to get some playing experience under their belts and prepares them to take on more competitive teams. Rose led the team from off the bench, with 21 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. She was followed by Laib and Shock, each with 15 points and 3 steals.