|High School Basketball:
Willingboro Wins Battle of the Undefeated at Highland
Saturday, January 26, 2002
By Art Redd
SJSports Staff Writer
It was a game that many wanted to see who would win. When there are two teams who have played double digit games without a loss, it's definitely a must see. The Lady Chimeras from Willingboro traveled to Highland High School to decide which of these teams would remain undefeated. It was a classic game against two well coached and talented players showing why South Jersey basketball is very popular. In a non-league game, Willingboro's Crystal Langhorne sank two free throws with five seconds remaining in the game to defeat the Lady Tartans (14-1) by a score of 60-58.
If you looked at Saturday's high school basketball schedule, most teams would get the opportunity to test their skills against a non-league opponent. There were several good games scheduled that should have been marked on this month's calendar. Highland's basketball program for both the boys and girls are having successful seasons representing their school on top of the Olympic Conference Patriot division. Willingboro can also hold up that first place banner with both of their teams leading the Burlington County Conference with undefeated divisional records. So it was not surprising when the gymnasium at Highland was packed with fans from both schools waiting to see who would win this contest.
Right from the start of this game, the Lady Chimeras right away established their game plan of working the ball inside. The starting front court of Langhorne and Shana Oaddams gained their position under the basket waiting for their scoring chances. Highland's widely know starting sophomores Lisa Steele and Danielle Hemerka also have been making everyone realize they are also one of the best teams in the area.
At the beginning of this game, the Tartans couldn't get the ball to fall through the hoop. Most of their offensive chances bounced off the rim and into the hands of Willingboro. Langhorne was the player with the hot hand for the game shooting 72% from the floor. She made all five of her shots in the second quarter and finished with 16 first half points. Langhorne's success allowed the Chimeras put together a 14-0 run in the second to post a 33-19 lead through two quarters.
This game would come down to the final quarter. With a nine point deficit, Highland began to close in on their opponent behind the shooting of Lisa Steele. Her 18 points in the second half made the ending of this game very dramatic. With 2:41 remaining in the game, Highland trailed Willingboro by one point, 56-55. Steele's next basket gave Highland their first lead of the game. Willingboro went right back to their game plan and got the ball inside to Langhorne. Her basket put Willingboro back in front with just over a minute remaining. With forty seconds remaining, Danielle Hemerka was fouled and only made one free throw to tie the game at 58. That's when Langhorne was given the ball again, but this time she was fouled. Her two free throws sealed the game. Willingboro (13-0) was lead by Crystal Langhorne's game high 31 points, while Lisa Steele added a team high 25 points and Danielle Hemerka added 17 points for Highland.
Photos by Art Redd