Timeouts were precious and the game close, but Lewisburg coach Phil Stamm did not care. His senior center was sitting by the scorer's table as a spectator and that was no good.
Lesher returned with 2:07 left after experiencing light-headedness earlier and made some of the biggest plays of her scholastic career to help Lewisburg edge Wyalusing 41-38 in a thrilling District 4 Class AA quarterfinal Saturday at Montoursville. After re-entering, Lesher hit three foul shots, grabbed two huge offensive rebounds and made a potentially game-saving block as Lewisburg (17-7) upset the No. 2 seed and earned a spot in the semifinals against Southern Columbia for the first time since 2009.
"I was like, 'Please,' (get in there)," Stamm said. "We got her back and she definitely came up big in the last couple minutes."
"I got really light-headed all the sudden in the third quarter and they thought maybe I hit my head or something but I'm pretty sure it was just dehydration," Lesher said. "I just wanted to get back in the game."
The senior leader entered with Lewisburg clinging to a one-point lead and swished both ends of a 1-and-1. Wyalusing cut it to 39-38 on an Arielle Kneller putback but Lesher hustled for an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and that led to fellow senior Maria Kelleher (9 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals) hitting a foul shot.
It looked like Wyalusing would tie the game with 21 seconds remaining when Kasey DeVoir caught a pass in the lane and had a clear path to the basket. Just as quick, Lesher hustled over and swatted the shot away, stunning the Rams. Kelleher hit another free throw and Lewisburg led 41-38 with 19.3 seconds left.
"We have been working on help defense a lot and I saw her coming and just thought I'd go for it because I knew I had a couple fouls to give," said Lesher, who had nine points, seven rebounds and five blocks. "It was definitely a good feeling to help my team out there. I felt like that might have been kind of sealing the deal."
Wyalusing had a chance to tie with a 3-pointer, but Lewisburg played outstanding defense and forced Wyalusing into dribbling away almost the final 19 seconds. Ally DeVoir had no choice but to try and off-balance 3-pointer with five seconds remaining, but Emily Conrad blocked it and time expired as the teams scrambled for the loose ball.
The final block was a fitting end for Conrad who played exceptional defense and held Wyalusing leading scorer Mackenzie Martin scoreless. Sister Kasey played strong defense too and scored eight points.
Wyalusing led 12-9 early in the second quarter but reserves Kirsten Blakeslee and Lenore Doyle came up big, scoring five straight points and sparking a 13-2 run that gave Lewisburg a 22-14 lead. The Rams tied it 22-22 early in the third quarter, but Kelleher heated up and hit two consecutive 3-pointers as Lewisburg built a 36-27 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Veronica Morrison (16 points) continued her torrid shooting as Wyalusing twice made it a one-point game. Her scholastic career flashing before her eyes, though, Lesher came up big when it mattered most.
"It was a great feeling," Lesher said. "Our team really came together tonight. It wasn't the prettiest win but we did what we had to do."
Maria Kelleher 2 3-7 9, Emily Conrad 2 0-0 5, Lois Lesher 2 5-6 9, Haley Stanko 0 3-4 3, Kasey Conrad 4 0-0 8, Lenore Doyle 1 1-2 3, Kirsten Blakeslee 2 0-0 4. Totals 12 12-18 41.
Mackenzie Martin 0 0-0 0, Kasey DeVoir 2 2-2 8, Arielle Kneller 2 0-0 4, Veronica Morrison 8 0-0 16, Paighton Martin 2 0-0 4, Ally DeVoir 0 0-0 0, Savannah Schools 2 2-3 6. Totals 16 4-5 38.
Lewisburg9 13 14 5-41
Wyalusing8 9 10 11-38
3-pointers: Lewisburg 3 (Kelleher 2, E. Conrad); Wyalusing 2 (K. DeVoir).
Records: Lewisburg 17-7. Wyalusing 17-6.