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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Lady Eagles Extend Winning Streak to 50 Games

  • Canaan Christian Academy's girls varsity hoops team copped a tourney title with two wins.
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  • Canaan Christian's girls basketball program never appears to experience a "re-building" season. Instead, the Lady Eagles just seem to re-load every winter.
    Under the direction of veteran head coach Jerry Birmelin, Canaan entered the 2013-14 having not tasted defeat in nearly two- and-one-half years.
    Heading into a Week One tournament in Lansdale, the local lasses were riding a mind-boggling 48-game winning streak.
    Once again, the Lady Eagles picked right up where they left off. Coach Birmelin's girls reached the 50-win plateau by capturing the title at the Calvary Baptist Tip-Off Classic.
    CCA downed Plumstead in the semis, 43-10, and was equally dominant in a 39-13 victory over West Mont in gold medal game.
    Weather permitting, the Lady Eagle will be back on the hardwood next Tuesday, Dec. 17 for an away game at Central Baptist.
    Opening tip is scheduled for 3 p.m.
    Game One
    Canaan's girls are coming off back-to-back undefeated seasons in which they won league and state titles.
    Despite graduating two of the school's top players, the Lady Eagles didn't miss a beat in rolling to a lopsided win against Plumstead.
    Coach Birmelin's squad opened the game on a 13-0 run and never looked back en route to a berth in the championship game.
    Veronica Oakley paced a balanced CCA offensive attack with 13 points. She was aided and abetted by Corrine VanDeLinde who contributed 11.
    Faith Swingle chipped in with seven, while Casey Guiffredo, Sami Beals and Alli Wittenbrader added four each.
    Using their trademark 2-3 zone defense, the local girls generated 19 turnovers and held the Panthers scoreless through intermission.
    Page 2 of 3 - Game Two
    Canaan wasted no time in taking control of the title tilt versus West Mont.
    The Lady Eagles once again played suffocating defense in creating myriad turnovers which led to scoring opportunities.
    As in the semifinal, CCA dominated the first quarter by jetting out to a 12-1 lead. From there, Canaan simply cruised to the crown.
    Oakley once again led the low post assault. A battle-tested senior center, Veronica powered her way to 14 points and 10 boards.
    She averaged a double-double and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
    "Veronica is a workhorse in the paint," longtime CCA athletic director John Ashley told TWI Sports.
    "She's fearless going to the rim and just this year has added a nice little hook shot to her arsenal."
    VanDeLinde also enjoyed another solid game, scoring 11 points and earning a spot on the All-Tourney Team.
    "Corrine is a power forward who combines good court vision with shooting touch and range," said Ashley.
    Wittenbrader didn't score in the title tilt, focusing on defense and distributing the ball to her teammates. She was rewarded with a berth on the All-Tourney Team.
    "Alli has excellent ball handling skills," Ashley said. "She also blends speed and quickness into a very nice point guard."
    Beals, Guiffredo and Swingle added four points each. Sami also led the way with seven assists.
    Cassie Palkovic came off the bench to contribute one basket and three dimes.
    "The girls looked really good in their first two games of the season," said Ashley. "I think they're going to be a lot of fun to watch this year."
    Page 3 of 3 - Coach Birmelin was quick to concur.
    "I'm very proud of the girls," he said. "If they keep playing like this, we'll be tough to beat."
    Score by Quarters...
    CCA (2-0) 12 19 8 0 - 39
    WM (1-1) 1 3 5 4 - 13

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