Meadville had some concerns entering the 2006-07 girls basketball season with just one returning everyday starter. The Lady Bulldogs, however, removed those concerns Friday with a solid 59-45 win over Cochranton in the first round of the Meadville Sertoma Tip-off Tournament at the House of Thrills.

With the win, Meadville earned a spot in today’s championship game where it will face Saegertown, a 61-43 winner over Harbor Creek, for the second year in a row. Tip-off is set for 2:30 p.m.

“There were a lot of positives,” MASH coach Dean Henderson said following the win. “It was a good outing for going into this with the youth and not knowing. We’re happy.”

One of the biggest positives for the Lady Bulldogs was how they handled pressure.

Meadville led 18-8 midway through the second quarter, but allowed the Cards to go on a 14-9 run to cut the lead to just five points (27-22) at the break. But instead of folding and succumbing to the pressure, the Lady Bulldogs just got stronger.

In fact, it took the Bulldogs just under four minutes to push their lead back to 10 points (37-27) in the third quarter and they never allowed the Cards to get closer.

MASH shot a phenomenal 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) from the field in the third quarter and finished the second half 13-for-24 (54.2 percent). Jackie DeRemer led the Bulldogs with 12 second-half points. Kayla Nichols and Abby Henderson each added a pair of 3-point buckets.

“I was kind of concerned to see what we were made out of,” Henderson said. “We came into halftime and made some adjustments, and the kids played really well.”

One of those adjustments was moving to a zone defense, which Henderson said the Bulldogs have not played for an entire half during his five-year tenure.

“With three players in foul trouble we had to try to salvage them for a little while, so we went to a zone, and it basically worked,” Henderson said. “So we just stayed in it. That’s the first time we played a half of zone since I’ve been at Meadville. It needs work, but they did a nice job.”

The Cardinals, despite the loss, also put forth a good effort. Like Meadville, Cochranton entered the season with a ton of youth and minus the majority of its offense with the loss of 1,000-point scorer Lorena Babbitt.

Leann Bortner-Yasay helped fill that void, though, with a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double. Kristin Rynd added 14 points and Shelly Hill had 10 points for the Cardinals, who shot an outstanding 20-for-22 from the free throw line.

“We just had a couple mental lapses. We’re young; that happens,” Cochranton coach Gary Egli said. “I’m proud. We played well, we hung with them and I don’t think a lot of people thought we would.

“The bench played well. I’m really happy.”

Cochranton will play Harbor Creek in the consolation final at 1 p.m. today at the House of Thrills.

Bulldog notes: DeRemer led the ’Dogs with 18 points and five rebounds. Henderson added 11 points. Lindsay Heller chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds, despite missing most of the second half with four fouls. Nichols and Amanda Schreck had eight points each.

Lisa Byers can be reached at 724-6370, ext. 277 or by e-mail at

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