BC Hawks fall to top-seeded Lehighton
Spooky season? Not for Lehighton.
This is when the Indians feast.
A district runner-up the last two years, Lehighton enter this postseason as the top contender for the crown - and with a target on their back.
Don’t expect the Tribe to buckle under the weight of those expectations.
Lehighton lived up to its billing as the No. 1 seed with a 3-1 win over Bethlehem Catholic in the District 11 Class A semifinals on Monday.
The treat? The Indians will play Northwestern in the championship game on Wednesday, Halloween.
“It’s awesome,” said first-year Lehighton head coach Vanessa Rimbey. “They’re pretty excited. They got silver the last two years, and they really want it this year.”
A goal from Alison Miller broke the ice and put the Indians ahead 1-0 with 13:42 to play in the first half.
But the fifth-seeded Golden Hawks answered when Jaleesa Lanier tied it at 1-1 with 6:28 remaining before the intermission.
Rimbey knew Becahi was a resilient bunch. The Golden Hawks ousted No. 4 seed Northern Lehigh in overtime to reach the semis.
“We qualified for districts playoffs like 15 years ago. Last year we qualified and wanted to make sure it wasn’t an anomaly,” said Becahi head coach Lucas Wilde. “This is where we want to be and we have goals that are deeper into October. I think this really solidified to a lot of people. It’s sometimes tough to get the players to see and believe. We’re glad to be back here and it’s a more comfortable place for us.”
But, Alicia Shaffer scored after a well-executed corner with 43 seconds left before the intermission, putting the Indians back in control with a 2-1 lead.
“It’s the playoffs, it’s district playoff hockey,” said Wilde. “You’re going to have to, a lot of times, fall back on really simple principles, just making sure you’re marking correctly, you’re presenting passes, you make good, hard passes and stuff like that, because in the playoffs, at this point, it’s a really equal game.
“We’re playing against the top seed in Lehighton, they had a great season, and they’re a good program, historically.”
The Indians carried the momentum into the second half, controlling play before Kaia Slaw added a third goal with 11:57 to play.
“I think that after we got that goal it gave us the confidence to push through it, to get another goal, and win,” said Shaffer.
“We always usually come out harder during the second half, too,” added Slaw.
Despite the two-goal advantage, Rimbey knew the lead wasn’t secure.
“It’s never safe. I sometimes don’t even feel safe when it’s 2-0,” she said. “I just tell them to always keep playing your game - get more goals, keep your head in it. Especially since some games we’ve already comeback from down 3-0 and we’ve scored some goals with two minutes left, so anything can happen.”
Ashley Wotjon provided stellar play in goal for the Tribe, who lost their top two goalies during the course of the season.
“She’s kinda tossed around the idea a little bit,” Rimbey said of Wotjon. “She’s had pads on before, but nothing quite to this extent. So I’m very impressed with her. She’s taken to it, she’s 100 percent into it ... that’s all you can ask for.”
For Wotjon, it’s simply a way to help her team.
“It was actually kind of refreshing, knowing that they took care of most of it,” Wotjon said of Lehighton’s defense. “They really did all the work; it’s all them. I’m really, really proud of them.
“I’m wishing I could be up there (on defense), but knowing that I’m covering another aspect, it’s great.”