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IMG_5649BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE – A little more athletic.

A little more seasoned.

A little more balanced.

A little more versatile.

A lot better.

It’s official: The Annville-Cleona boys are the story of the local scholastic basketball season’s early going.

IMG_5578On Tuesday night at ‘The Barn’, the Little Dutchmen extended their best start in recent memory by thumping Tulpehocken 73-47. Annville-Cleona grabbed command of the outcome early in the second quarter when it outscored its guest 26-9 over an eight-minute stretch.

Annville-Cleona was coming off a championship at the Hamburg Tip-Off Tournament,  one of six earned by Lebanon County clubs this weekend. Now 3-0 overall, the Little Dutchcmen’s six-win 2015-16 campaign seems like a distant memory.

The Trojans slipped to 0-3 in the early going.

“We haven’t accomplished anything, yet,” warned Annville-Cleona head coach Chris Bradford. “We’ve been there before, where it turns like that. They (his players) should be happy how they played tonight. But tomorrow is tomorrow. If we can take care of those steps, we’ll get where we want to go. We ask our guys: ‘Why can’t it be us?’ If we answer that question night in and night out, we’ll be fine.

IMG_5565“You’re looking at guys who are on their second and third years at the varsity level,” continued Bradford. “Reps at a high level get you prepared. Now we’ve got juniors who made those mistakes mentally as sophomores. We’re a skilled basketball team. We have the capability to shoot the ball better. We’ve got to leave the mistakes behind and move on to the next one.”

What was even more impressive about what the Little Dutchmen did last night was how they did it. Annville-Cleona made its move with a guard-heavy lineup on the floor, and talented big men Noah Myers and Isaac Burris on the bench.

After relinquishing an early 6-1 advantage, Annville-Cleona scrapped on defense, got out in transition and rattled off ten unanswered point to assume a 16-6 lead, 23 seconds into the second stanza. The run was ignited late in the first quarter by Dashaun Archer’s three-pointer, and featured five points from Ryan Matthews and a Cole Waldhausen drive.

IMG_5682Then after the Trojans momentarily stemmed the tide, the Little Dutchmen ripped off another seven straight points, to push their advantage to 23-8. Hoch scored on two hard ‘takes’ to the cup around another Archer three-ball.

“We talked about what we wanted to do defensively,” said Bradford. “We built our defense around our strength, those big guys up front. I wanted to see how we’d do without those guys. We were able to ratchet it up with mostly guards on the floor. And we got out on the break.

“We’re still working through things on offense,” added Bradford. “We’re not taking advantage of them (Myers, Burris) on the offensive end. It doesn’t matter where it’s coming from, but we want to make sure we’re rewarding them. Our two guys coming off the bench (Matthews, Archer) shot it a little better. Cameron (Hoch) was just being a pain everywhere. Steady Cole (Waldhausen) was doing his thing. We’ll be whatever the game plan says we should be, but we’ve got to do a better job with our size.”

IMG_5674But the Little Dutchmen weren’t finished. Matthews, Hoch and Waldhausen all tallied baskets from in close to set off a 7-1 spurt that gave them a 30-12 lead, 3:37 ahead of intermission.

The Trojans did outscore Annville-Cleona 11-6 over the rest of the second quarter, but the damage had been done.

“We were 2-0 and not feeling good about it,” said Bradford. “I’m not disappointed, but we had a question to answer tonight. After a disappointing last game, I felt we answered the question. For the guys, they didn’t see Saturday as a disappointment. They fought back from that big (20-0) hole.”

Off the bench, Matthews led all scorers with 19 points. Donald Friday collected 14 points for Annville-Cleona and Hoch struck for a dozen.

Annville-Cleona’s total came from 27 deuces, a trio of three-pointers and ten-for-17 free throwing.

“I think we’re close defensively,” said Bradford. “That was our strength last year and I think that’ll be our strength this year. I just want us to be working it out on both ends of the floor. We have guys who are going to mesh as we go along. We’re going to continue to fight.”

Annville-Cleona closed the third quarter with an 8-0 run which included buckets from Burris, Friday and Matthews, and free throws from Myers. Then the Little Dutchmen opened the final period with nine more in-a-row – thanks to five by Myers and four from Friday – to push their advantage to 63-34.

IMG_5636“What I told the kids was: ‘We’re 0-0,'” said Bradford of the upcoming Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three schedule. “We’ve got a Lebanon County rival (Northern Lebanon) coming into our house on Friday. We can’t be happy with ourselves. It’s 2016. Last year was last year. We might have said something about it (last season) the first day of practice, but that’s it.”

 

 

 

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IMG_5706To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 2016-17 Annville-Cleona Boys’ Basketball Schedule

Date Teams Score
12/09
8:00 pm
Brandywine Heights
at Annville-Cleona
33
50
Nonleague
12/10
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern lehigh
51
45
Nonleague
12/13
8:00 pm
Tulpehocken
at Annville-Cleona
47
73
Nonleague
12/16
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
League
12/19
7:30 pm
Columbia
at Annville-Cleona
League
12/21
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Catholic
League
12/28
5:00 pm
Conrad Weiser
at Annville-Cleona
Nonleague
1/03
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
League
1/06
7:30 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Annville-Cleona
League
1/10
7:30 pm
Pequea Valley
at Annville-Cleona
League
1/12
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Middletown
Nonleague
1/13
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lebanon Catholic
League
1/17
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
League
1/20
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Columbia
League
1/24
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Annville-Cleona
League
1/27
7:30 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
League
1/28
2:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Oley Valley
Nonleague
1/31
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Mennonite
League
2/03
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Pequea Valley
League
2/07
7:00 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Annville-Cleona
League

 

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LEBANON SPORTS BUZZ’s

 Preseason All-Lebanon County Boys’ Basketball Rankings

1. Cedar Crest

2. Palmyra

3. Lebanon High

4. Elco

5. Northern Lebanon

6. Annville-Cleona

7. Lebanon Catholic

 

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 Lebanon Sports Buzz’s

 Preseason All-Lebanon County Boys’ Basketball Team

Isaac Blatt of Palmyra; Mason Bossert of Elco; Cole Laney of Cedar Crest; Shaquell Ortiz of Lebanon; Noah Myers of Annville-Cleona

 

 

 

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