"Our inside game was gone without her, and they went to a box-and-one on Kelli (Brandt)," said Warriors coach Jack Wichser, whose team was aiming for a second straight trip to the quarterfinals. "Even when they were in a straight man, they were basically able to take Kelli out of the offense."
Casperson, who averaged 13.5 points and 10 rebounds per game, had 18 rebounds in the Warriors' 61-58 opening-round win over Bishop Hafey on March 14.
"When Steph went out, they were just taking off the press," Wichser said. ''More important than her scoring and even her rebounding against Elkland was the job she was doing to beat the press. We were getting layup after layup on that press with her in there."
With Casperson gone, the Elkland press worked more effectively and the Warriors struggled for rebounds.
"Our rebounding was poor, our shooting was poor - both in the field and on the foul line," Wichser said. "And they did just the opposite: They rebounded well and they shot well."
The loss was not easy for the Warriors, said Wichser.
"The girls were upset," he said. "They didn't like the fact that we lost a game we could have won. It just didn't sit well at all."
There was a milestone for the Warriors as they raced to a 16-6 lead through one quarter. Brandt, a junior guard, became the third player in school history to reach the 1,000-point career mark when she sank a three-point basket.
Brandt, who finished the game with 12 points, has 1,005 overall. Doreen Landolfi and Barbara Woods have also scored more than 1,000 for the Warriors.
The Warriors, who are 42-16 in two years under Wichser, will lose two four- year varsity players, Holly Brandt and Cindy Faight. Holly Brandt, Kelli's older sister, had a team-high 13 points against Elkland, and Faight added 4.
"Our future still looks good," Wichser said. "But a lot of improvement needs to be made to take a couple more steps in the state tournament. A lot of off-season work has to be made on their basketball skills if we hope to go to the next level."