WEEK ENDING January 5th
We all mature at varying rates.
So it may be that Adam Newhard recently experienced a growth spurt. Because the Palmyra boys’ basketball team’s senior guard certainly seems to have grown up, not just physically, but also emotionally.
Newhard has been a key cog in the Cougars’ recent winning streak. On Friday, Palmyra won its fifth straight outing by knocking off previoulsy unbeaten Susquehanna Township 65-57 in ‘Palm Town’.
And Newhard, more than any other Cougar, was responsible for the triumph. The sharp-shooting sniper connected on three three-point field goals and pumped in 16 points during a fourth quarter in which Palmyra held off, then pulled away from the Indians.
The Newhard-inspired win streak has Palmyra 8-3 overall and 4-2 in the Keystone Division of the Mid-Penn Conference. More of a role player last season for the Cougars, Newhard has evolved into Palmyra’s top scoring threat, as well as one of the most prolific point-makers in Lebanon County.
One of the keys to succes for the Elco girls’ basketball team this season will be identifying scorers to complement leader and bomber Cheyenne Hassler. And the list of potential candidates is as long as it is capable.
On Thursday and Friday, Halie Parker took her turn stepping up. And because she did, the Raiders took home a championship.
Parker, a southpaw senior point guard, was named the most valuable player of the Lebanon Booster Club’s Christmas tournament. It was a fitting reward for Parker, who, with her all-around play, led Elco to the tourney’s title.
The Raiders defeated Lebanon High 33-31 in the championship game of the event.
Parker’s scoring was only a part of her contribution to the Raiders’ performance. She nailed key free throws in pressure situations, dished out assists, came away with steals and provided a steadying influence for her teammates.
What Parker’s play – offensively and defensively – also did was limit and neutralize the contributions of Lebanon’s guard-heavy attack
There’s something different about Timmy Orr this season. He’s more physical, quicker and confident.
And there’s a bounce in his step.
Orr, a senior guard on the Lebanon Catholic boys’ basketball team who eats and sleeps basketball, worked tirelessly during the offseason to assure that he would enjoy a stellar season campaign. There was also the promise of possibly playing basketball on the next level.
To this point, Orr’s hard work has paid big dividends, for himself and the Beavers. Orr is the leading scorer and rebounder on a Catholic club that currently sports a 6-2 mark.
But Orr’s star has never shown more brightly than it did on Friday night at home against Lancaster-Lebanon Section Four front-runner Lancaster Mennonite. Orr’s strong drive to the basket with three seconds remaining proved decisive in the Beavers’ thrilling 70-67 triumph.
But Orr played an all-around good floor game, while piling up a team-high 28 points. When the Beavers need a spark, a big play or just simply a little bit of leadership, they certainly have a great place to turn.
How many times have you heard it? ‘So-and-so paced the winners offensively’, ‘John Smith showed the way with X-amount of points’ ”Joe Basketball poured in a game-high…’
Offense. Offense. Offense.
But can a player set the tone for his or team’s defense? And if he or she can, how valuable does that make them?
Richard Iwuagwu possesses that particular skill set. And that might make him the best male basketball player in Lebanon County who no one has ever heard of, or the locale’s most under-appreciated and under-rated performer.
A junior guard for the Northern Lebanon boys’ basketball squad, Iwuagwu is definitely one of the top defenders in the County. And he may be Lebanon County’s best defensive player, period.
On Tuesday night at New Schaefferstown, Iwuagwu’s defense was instrumental in getting the Vikings off on the right foot against Tulpehocken. Because of its defense, Northern Lebanon led 12-0 seven minutes into the non-league affair and 20-1 12 minutes in, then was never seriously headed.
The win improved the Iwuagwu’s Vkings to 2-1 on the season.
She can nail the ‘3’. She can drive to the basket. She can rebound. She can defend, tenaciously. She can slash. She’s a leader. She can ‘dish the rock’. She can provide an inside presence.
She’s Carly Richardson. And she’s the top female basketball performer in Lebanon County.
This weekend, Richardson was provided an opportunity to play her wares, during two days of action in the Northern Lebanon Tip-Off Tournament in Fredericksburg. And the junior wing didn’t disappoint.
Richardson led the Cougars to the championship of the event, as her club defeated Pine Grove 64-37 in Saturday’s title tilt. Richardson poured in a game-high 19 points and through her efforts was named to the all-tourney team.
Behind Richardson, Palmyra opened the event by dismantling Lebanon High 59-19 on Friday night.
If you’re under the impresssion that Richardson and Cougars are pretty good, you might be on to something.
It’s way too early in the 2012-13 season to name the Lebanon Valley College men’s basketball team’s most improved player. Let’s just say that Matt O’Brien is well on his way.
On Saturday afternoon at the LVC Gymasium in Annville, O’ Brien tallied a team-high 19 points to lead the Flying Dutchmen to a 63-56 victory over Widener. O’Brien, a senior forward, knocked down all nine of his foul shots, drilled two three-point field goals, collected three assists and three rebounds and picked up two steals.
Because of O’Brien’s inspired play, Lebanon Valley evened its overall mark to 3-3 and upped its Commonwealth Conference record to 2-1.
To this point of the season, O’Brien, who hails from Brick, New Jersey, is averaging nearly a dozen points an outing. Last season as a junior, O’Brien started only one game for the Flying Dutchmen and averaged about four points per game.
It might be a stretch to say that the Lebanon Valley College women’s basketball team goes as Kiely Chaklos goes. In reality, Chaklos is just another cog in the Flying Dutchmen’s very talented wheel.
But a very important one.
On Wednesday, Chaklos led the Flying Dutchmen to a 63-38 triumph over Elizabethtown, in the Commonwealth Conference opener for both clubs. What made the victory even more significant was the fact that Lebanon Valley has won the last two conference championships.
Chaklos was on top of her game, as the Flying Dutchmen put the outcome out of reach early in the second half. The sophomore point guard notched a game-high 17 points on five-of-11 shooting, seven-for-eight free throwing, and hauled down eight rebounds, as Lebanon Valley improved to 3-0 on tbe season.
Despite being only a sophomore, the 5-4 guard is one of the Flying Dutchmen’s two captains. Last season, Chaklos was the Commonwealth Conference’s rookie of the year and was named the most valuable player of the conference’s postseason tournament.
The Lebanon Valley College men’s basketball team’s offense must run through Danny Brooks. What could determine the degree of the Flying Dutchmen’s success this season is what Brooks does with the ball once he gets his hands on.
During Lebanon Valley College’s season-opening Rinso Marquette tournament this weekend, it became obvious that Brooks would be the object of every LVC opponent’s defensive focus this season. It was no coincidence that the Flying Dutchmen enjoyed two strong showings and that Brooks was in mid-season form.
In Saturday’s championship game of the event, against Middleburg, the fourth ranked Division Three team in the country. Brooks kept the Flying Dutchmen close throughout with game-highs of 30 points and 13 rebounds. The night before, Lebanon Valley had reached the title tilt with a 66-58 triumph over the College of Staten Island, thanks in part to Brooks’ play inside and 16 points.
A 6-6 senior forward out of Abingdon, Maryland, Brooks was an all-Commonwealth Conference performer last season when he led the circuit in scoring with a 20.7 points per game average.
Track and field, field hockey or basketball? Let the debate begin.
The subject of the debate is Katie Dembrowski and exactly which sport is her best. It may be whichever one she is currently involved in.
What isn’t debatable is the fact that Dembrowski is Lebanon County’s top field hockey performer.
Dembrowski, a sophomore forward, figured in both goals, as the Palmyra field hockey team recently endured a heart-stopping, 3-2 season-ending loss to Villa Maria, in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs, at West Chester East High School in Chester. Dembrowski finished the season as the Cougars’ leading scorer.
Eight minutes into the second half, Dembrowski converted a penalty stroke to give Palmyra a 2-1 edge. Midway through the first half, ‘Katie D.’ had set up teammate Megan Miller for the goal that tied the game at one.
As a freshman last spring, Dembrowski was anointed the ‘Outstanding Female Athlete’ at the Lebanon County Track and Field Championships. Dembrowski, a 5-7 point guard, is also expected to be a key contributor to what is expected to be a very competitive Palmyra girls’ basketball team this winter.
WEEK ENDING November 3
Early in the fall cross country season, Palmyra girls coach Barb Mellinger was an interested observer as to exactly who would step up and become the leader of her Cougars’ pack. At the Lebanon County Cross Country Championships, Mellinger was quoted as sayiing that any one of a number of her runners could finish first, on any given day.
On that particular day at South Hills Park, a sophomore, Maria Tukis, won the girls’ individual title and led Palmyra to the girls’ team championship. From that day forward, the Cougars never stopped following Tukis’ lead.
And ultimately, Tukis led Palmyra to a state championship.
That PIAA Class AA crown came on Saturday at Hershey’s Parkview Course, where the Cougars edged Dallas 91 team points to 94. And Tukis set the pace for Palmyra by finishing ninth overall.
Ten days earlier, Tukis and the Cougars had won the District Three Class AA individual and team championships on the same Parkview course. During the season, the Tukis-led Cougars were also crowned champions of the Mid-Penn Conference, the Keystone Division of the MPC and the Lebanon Valley College Invitational.
The state title was Palmyra’s first in cross country and just the school district’s four team championship overall.
Joshua Light is the classic soccer sweeper. Any scoring chances that find their way into the Annville-Cleona boys’ end of the pitch are sucked by the vacuum created by Light’s play.
Light’s protective and productive scholastic career came to an end on Thrusday, when his Little Dutchmen dropped a 1-0 decision to Lancaster Mennonite in a quarterfinal match of the District Three Class AA playoffs, at Lower Dauphin Middle School. The difference in the match was an early first-half goal by the Blazers.
But mainly due to Light’s play, the Lancaster Mennonite offense was shut down and shut out the rest. There were times when Light’s mere presence detered or altered any designs the Blazers had of making runs on the Annville-Cleona net.
On the other end, Light’s big foot on direct and indirect restarts helped jump-start the Little Dutchmen offense and generate scoring chances. There were also times the 6-0, 190-pound Light ‘pushed up’ and involved himself in the Annville-Cleona attack.
Light was one of the biggest reasons why, at 13-5-1, Annville-Cleona enjoyed its most successful boys’ soccer seasons in more than a decade. Though not fully concrete, Light has aspirations to continue his soccer-playing career on the next level.
He certainly possesses the skills to do so.
Control the midfield and you control the match. Meet Haleigh Echard.
No one controls the midfield like Echard. And she patrols it with her speed, her ball skills and a long, loping stride.
Echard’s play and play-making abilities recently helped the Cedar Crest girls’ soccer team win its first ever Lancaster-Lebanon League championship. The Falcons earned their rare distinction on Saturday at Manheim Central High School, with a finals victory over Cocalico.
Echard, a junior, plays the midfield position the way it was meant to be played. With her eye on back-checking and helping out on defense, Echard is constantly looking to take offensive opportunites when they present themselves.
First and foremost, Echard, who recently received all-state recognition, seeks to set up teammates with her precise services. But when she sees an opening, Echard isn’t adverse to using her speed and ball-handling to create chances for herself.
Because of her two-way abilities, Echard was named the most valuable player in Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, by a vote of the circuit’s coaches.
Young Evan Dissinger picked a great time to play the round of golf of his life. And because he did, Dissinger took home a championship.
And not only are championships something to build a career upon, they are things which can never be taken from us.
Dissinger, a freshman at Cedar Crest, recently won the Lebanon County scholastic golf championship. Besting his personal record by some four strokes, Dissinger fired a 78 on the Lebanon Country Club’s demanding par-72, 6,361-yard lay-out.
Dissinger put together idential nines of 39, to finish three shots ahead of runner-up Caleb Ginder of Northern Lebanon. Dissinger’s round consisted of one birdie, 12 pars, three bogeys and two double bogeys.
Dissinger also has interest in basketball and baseball. But given his performance at the Country Club, it would seem the talented freshman will be faced with some difficult decisions in the upcoming years.