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IMG_4557BY JEFF FALK

SOUTH LEBANON – A point guard. And a post player. Miss Inside. And Miss Outside.

For as much as Ariel Jones and Alyssa Austin are linked to Cedar Crest girls’ basketball, they will always be linked to each other. But their relationship goes beyond just being good friends on and off the court, great teammates and respected leaders.

IMG_4511Each are great players in their own right. And even though they would be just as good without one another, they’re better together.

Or perhaps to put a historical perspective on it, both Jones and Austin are two of the finest female basketball players that the Cornwall-Lebanon school district has ever produced. But as a tandem, one would be hard pressed to identify a better one.

In a few days, Austin and Jones will embark on senior campaigns that will culminate illustrious careers. But because they’ve already been defined, all Jones and Austin are really looking for is a little more of the same.

“When it’s all said and done, Alyssa is already a 1,000-point scorer, and Ariel will be a 1,000-point scorer,” said Cedar Crest head coach Jim Donmoyer. “And I can’t remember anyone in Cedar Crest history who has blocked more shots than Alyssa. They play different positions, but the way I look at it is that we kind of turned it around with them. That’s when the whole resurgence started. They’ve only lost 20 games in their high school careers. I think they’ll be remembered as winners. To have two players of their caliber in the same class, that’s a God-send.”

IMG_4539“We’re pretty good friends,” said Austin of her relationship with Jones. “We get along, on and off the court. It’s always just been me and Ariel.”

“We’re good friends on and off the court,” echoed Jones. “What I think makes Alyssa such a good player is the way she moves inside and gets open. She’s easy to find. And she finishes lay-ups.”

So Jones’ and Austin’s legacy will be one of winning and transformation.

When they burst on to the scene together two years ago, the Falcons were looking to continue success that had been established a few seasons prior. What Austin and Jones did was take  it to the next level.

In 2014-15, with Jones and Austin emerging as sophomore stars among a senior-oriented group, Cedar Crest went 24-6 overall. Last season, the Falcons compiled a 22-6 mark, won Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League and advanced to the semifinals of the District Three tournament and the state playoffs for the second year in-a-row.

IMG_4504Cedar Crest also has a Lancaster-Lebanon League championship as part of its resume.

“They’ve been really solid as players the last two-plus years,” said Donmoyer. “Ariel is, without a doubt, the best player I’ve ever coached, and there’s been some decent players through here. She’s the most talented, most skilled player I’ve ever had. She’s the kind of kid you want on your team. Respectful. Hard working.

“Alyssa has great feet. She’s athletic,” continued Donmoyer. “She rebounds, blocks shots, scores. She’s the best post player I’ve ever coached. They’re looking to go out on a high note. Those two, when all is said and done, they’re going to have a lot of wins here at Cedar Crest. They’re both very skilled. One is a post player and one is a point guard. And it’s not just them. We have complimentary players who can do things as well. Last year, we had a lot of people contribute.”

IMG_4474“I think things have gone good,” said Jones of her career to this point. “I just want to make it as far as we can go this year. We haven’t talked about goals yet, but I think we all have the same ideas – to win the section, to win the league and to make it to districts.”

“We’ve made it really far since our freshman year,” said Austin. “We all get along good. We’re like family, and everything clicks. I want to get further than last year. I just want to make coach proud and end on a high note.”

Jones and Austin are forces to be accounted for on both ends of the floor. And while opponents have been able to neutralize one with different game plans, they’ve never been able to take away both.

“Obviously our strength is two-fold,” said Donmoyer. “If someone goes zone, we have shooters. If someone goes man (-to-man), Alyssa is hard to cover and Ariel is hard to cover. I think our versatility is a strength – our inside game and our outside game.

“I think we’re just as good – if not better – than last year,” Donmoyer continued. “Twenty-two and six, it seems like we can beat that. Our goals are always the section first, the league second, districts third and states fourth. They’re all realistic. Nothing has changed. As long as the effort is there, the talent is there. I guess we’re always in the hunt, which is a good thing. The last four years we’ve been solid. We’re just trying to build on that. But this is all talk. We’ve got to go out and perform.”

“We need to make sure we’re supporting each other,” said Austin. “And working together as a team. But you couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to go out with, or a better coach to go out with.”

IMG_4561“We need to work hard and use everybody,” said Jones. “We can’t be a one- or two-person team.”

But while Jones and Austin will lead, the Falcons are also blessed with players who are willing to follow.

Rachel Witherite, a 5-8 junior, is a great shooter and zone buster, as is Gracen Donmoyer, a 5-4 junior guard. Sophomore forward Raven Morgan is an athlete who will support Austin on the inside, Kelsey Guth is a senior who will provide leadership and Jade Rolon will be counted on for ball handling and defensive pressure on the ball.

IMG_4460 - Copy“We have a very big sophomore class,” said Donmoyer. “Raven Morgan is very athletic and the other five sophomores have a lot of potential. Depth might be a weakness until some of those sophomores step up. But I’m happy with the top seven or eight. With Alyssa and Ariel, it’s pick your poison. It’s hard to take both away.

“The program is, I don’t want to use the word ‘rebuilding’,” added Donmoyer. “We’re just reloading every year. Continuity is a big thing. We have a system, and we have a system in the junior high. We have a great feeder program, and we have lots of numbers. Kids are interested. We’re winning. Everybody’s happy.”

“Not yet, but I’m close,” said Jones about her decision on where to play college basketball. “My top  two are Shippensburg and Bloomsburg. I think I’m going to make a decision in about a week. I want to get it out of the way. But it’s hard to make a decision on where I’m going to be over the next four years.”

IMG_4513“I’m looking at Millersville more closely than other schools,” said Austin. “But I haven’t made a decision yet.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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 2016-17 Cedar Crest Girls Basketball Schedule

Date/Time Opponent Location Status
Fri Dec 9
TBA
Cedar Cliff High School Cedar Cliff High School
Gym
T
Sat Dec 10
TBA
Cedar Cliff High School Cedar Cliff High School
Gym
T
Tue Dec 13
7:30PM
Wilson High School Cedar Crest High School
CCHS Gym A (New Gym)
N
Fri Dec 16
7:30PM
JP McCaskey High School Campus McCaskey High School
Athletics|Gym
L
Mon Dec 19
7:30PM
Warwick Senior High School Cedar Crest High School
CCHS Gym A (New Gym)
L
Wed Dec 21
7:30PM
Conestoga Valley Senior High School Conestoga Valley Senior High School
Rill Gym
L
Wed Dec 28
6:00PM
York Suburban Girls Holiday Basketball Tournament: Cedar Crest, Manheim Central, South Western, York Suburban York Suburban Senior High School
Gymnasium
T
Thu Dec 29
6:00PM
York Suburban Girls Holiday Basketball Tournament: Cedar Crest, Manheim Central, South Western, York Suburban York Suburban Senior High School
Gymnasium
T
Tue Jan 3
7:30PM
Manheim Township High School Cedar Crest High School
CCHS Gym A (New Gym)
L
Fri Jan 6
7:30PM
Hempfield Senior High School Cedar Crest High School
CCHS Gym A (New Gym)
L
Mon Jan 9
7:30PM
Lebanon High School Cedar Crest High School
CCHS Gym A (New Gym)
N
Tue Jan 10
7:30PM
Penn Manor High School Penn Manor High School
High School East Gym
L
Fri Jan 13
7:30PM
Elizabethtown Area High School Elizabethtown Area High School
Daubert Gym
L
Tue Jan 17
7:30PM
JP McCaskey High School Campus Cedar Crest High School
CCHS Gym A (New Gym)
L
Fri Jan 20
7:30PM
Warwick Senior High School Warwick Senior High School
large Gym
L
Sat Jan 21
7:30PM
Palmyra Area Senior High School Palmyra Area Senior High School
Gym
L
Tue Jan 24
7:30PM
Conestoga Valley Senior High School Cedar Crest High School
CCHS Gym A (New Gym)
L
Fri Jan 27
7:30PM
Manheim Township High School Manheim Township High School
Arena
L
Tue Jan 31
7:30PM
Hempfield Senior High School Hempfield Senior High School
Buchanan Gym
L
Thu Feb 2
7:30PM
Cocalico Senior High School Cocalico Senior High School
HS Main Gym
N
Fri Feb 3
7:30PM
Penn Manor High School Cedar Crest High School
CCHS Gym A (New Gym)
L
Tue Feb 7
7:30PM
Elizabethtown Area High School Cedar Crest High School
CCHS Gym A (New Gym)
L

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