The Bethlehem Lady Eagles cruised past the Catholic Central Crusaders 68-45 in Saturday's Section II, Class AA quarterfinal round at Schenectady High School.
Bethlehem's intensity went up in the second half, as the Lady Eagles turned a nine-point halftime lead into a 47-30 advantage in the third quarter.
The third quarter, we said, 'They are a strong team, they are a very good team,' said coach Mark Nealon. "All you have to do is mention something to them, and they fix it."
The Eagles were led by team captain Megan Olsen, who sparked the offense by scoring a career high 27 points. Olsen made 14-of-17 free throws to solidify her team's lead.
"It's been Megan's M.O. for four years; she makes her free throws," said Nealon. "When she goes to the line, you are thinking two (points)."
The Bethlehem offense was not reliant on Olsen completely, though. Alex McCullough scored 12 points, and Taylor Teal added 11 points.
In Teal's case, it wasn't how many points she scored, but how she scored them that proved to be the difference. Teal scored eight of her 11 points on fast breaks.
"She's underrated offensively. When she gets the ball, she can go to the basket, and she can do some things. She just concentrates so hard on defense that as a coach, you know what, I just appreciate it," said Nealon.
Catholic Central had a harder time getting its offense going. The Crusaders were never allowed to get into a rhythm because of the stout Bethlehem defense. Their passes were constantly stolen, and they were kept off the boards for most of the game.
The one shining light for the Crusaders was Carly LaBombard, who scored 14 points.
Bethlehem plays Schenectady in Wednesday's semifinal at Hudson Valley Community College.""