December 28, 2017
By: Erica Rose
Well I’ve been MIA for a while, but I am back and ready to blog! I hope everyone had a nice holiday.  We certainly did (after we got rid of the stomach virus – ugh! Let me tell you that is not fun) My first assignment back after a week was the 22nd Annual Easton Rotary Holiday Classic and it did not disappoint. I covered both girls’ semi-final games. The first of the night was between Nazareth and Phillipsburg. I went in expecting Nazareth to take care of business easily considering that the Lady Liners were winless, but I was greatly mistaken. A slow start didn’t help the Blue Eagles, who trailed 21-15 into the lockers, but after a halftime pep talk Nazareth came out with a little more energy. They also kept Sierra Stein, the Lady Liners leading scorer in the first half (15 points) scoreless the rest of the match. The Lady Liners got into early foul trouble, which didn’t help, as free throws became a big part of the game down the stretch. The teams were all tied up at 40 after regulation. Phillipsburg would never lead in OT trailing 43-40 with 36.3 left, but sophomore Malaysia Kellem, who would finish with 12 points, really stepped up for her team, hitting the final two buckets to send this game into a second OT. This is when the Blue Eagles would begin to pull away. Juliann Duignam would be involved in 6 of those points and Nazareth would come out victorious 56-49. 
The second game of the night would be just as close and just as exciting between Southern Lehigh and Easton.  Southern Lehigh’s Amanda Mobley is one heck of a player and she would have her team up 13-5 after the first quarter. The second quarter would be pretty even, although it felt like the tide was starting to shift in Easton’s favor. The Spartans would still be on top after the second 26-20, and still lead after the third 34-30. Easton also blamed a slow start as their problem, but credited the girls for shutting down the Spartan’s runs and coming together as a team near the end. Rebounding also became a crucial part of the game in the fourth, and despite the Spartans height, it was the Red Rovers who often saw the ball in their hands which led to several points – 18 in fact, while holding the Spartans to just 9. Up 47-38 the game appeared to be over with less then a minute to play, but credit the Spartans they fought until the end. Back to back triples and a late steal had them with a (minimal) chance but the margin was just too big, with just too little time remaining. Easton would hang on 48-43 would be the final.
All four teams will play again tonight.  The consolation game at 3, followed by the championship at 6.