By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
NORTHUMBERLAND -- Down under her own basket, Sunbury Christian's Tiffany Billings held the ball and looked to throw it in. The Eagles were up two points after Northumberland Christian rallied late to cut a deficit, and they needed a big play to swing the momentum.
Billings quickly sent the ball to Torri Erdman, who caught it and immediately put up a shot. She not only made it but was fouled and sank the free throw to make it a five-point game.
From there, Sunbury Christian kept at least a three-point lead in the final 1:17 and defeated Northumberland Christian, 39-26, in an ACAA semifinal at Northumberland Christian's Bingaman Activity Center.
For the Eagles, it will be their fifth straight appearance in the ACAA championship game, which tips at 1 p.m. today against Meadowbrook Christian. The Eagles have lost each of the last four appearances.
After a first half in which Sunbury Christian shot just 1-of-19 from the field, coach John Jones shifted his personnel, which paid off. In the second half, the Eagles ended up shooting 9 for 20.
"We actually moved Torri Erdman inside and she's one of our better passers," Jones said. "So getting her in the middle and being able to push the ball and get the shot, that was the difference."
Sunbury Christian came out big to start the third quarter, extending a second-quarter run through the break for a 9-0 run that built an eight-point lead, 15-7. The Eagles kept Northumberland Christian's offense from doing a lot of damage, allowing the Warriors to get within only five points in the third.
Northumberland Christian's go-to player Alyssa Wesner struggled in the first half, scoring two points on a layup with 3:10 left in the second quarter. She sparked in the second half however, ending the game with a team-high 13 points, seven rebounds and two steals.