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IMG_6747BY JEFF FALK

SOUTH LEBANON – Of course, it would’ve been nice to win.

Sure, it would’ve been great to beat Manheim Township.

And yeah, it would’ve been a fairy tale ending to a cinderella story to win the section.

But when one arrives ahead of schedule like the Cedar Crest girls’ basketball team has, it’s important to remember the type of accomplishment it is just to put itself in that position.

On Thursday night at ‘The Cage’, the Falcons’ magical run at the Lancaster-Lebanon Section One championship effectively came to a close, when it was beaten by evil step-sister Manheim Township, 36-32. After trailing by as many as nine points as late as five minutes to go, a furious Falcon comeback allowed them to get to within a point with less than two minutes left.

IMG_6784But the Blue Streaks used two Jamie Relin free throws with 31 seconds remaining to push their lead to 36-32, and make it a two-possession game. On what would prove to be its last trip down the floor, the Falcons wasted way too much of the clock, and then turned the ball over.

With four games remaining on its Section One schedule, Cedar Crest, now 13-4 overall and 10-2 in the circuit, is two games behind unbeaten Manheim Township in the loss column. The Blue Streaks, the top-seeded Class AAAA club in District Three, improved to 16-0 on the year and 11-0 in the section.

On Dec. 20 in Neffsville, Manheim Township defeated Cedar Crest 48-44.

“I knew coming into the season we were definitely going to be better,” said Cedar Crest head coach Jim Donmoyer. “Did I think we’d be competing at this level with Manheim Township this late in the season? Maybe not. But it didn’t take me long to realize we can compete. Maybe early I would’ve said, ‘No.’ I couldn’t imagine 11 games in, the section coming down to a showdown. We’re building and trying to get better.

IMG_6728“A play here or a play there,” Donmoyer continued. “Years before we would’ve folded. The kids buckled down, and our defense brought us back. The little things. We’re there. They beat us by four points at their place, and they beat us by four points here.”

Facing a 30-21 deficit two minutes into the final stanza, Cedar Crest buckled up its boot straps and held Manheim Township to a mere two points over the next five minutes of action. During that time, the Falcons got two charity tosses out of Alex Rich, four points by Rachel Miller, a steal and lay-in from Nicole Wagner and a coast-to-coast cruise from Rich that pulled the Falcons to within 32-31, with 1:42 remaining.

But before getting over the hump, Cedar Crest ran out of gas. A foul shot from Rich with 42 ticks left moved the Falcons to within 34-32, but would prove to be their last gasp.

“Yeah, we just couldn’t get over the hump,” said Donmoyer. “We were down six or seven and we came back. We’re not going to quit. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. For whatever reason, we can’t get over the hump against them (the Blue Streaks). We were down four, but we took 30 seconds off the clock. At that point, we need to get a shot off.

IMG_6641“They’re (the Blue Streaks) a good team,” Donmoyer continued. “I told our girls, ‘If you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.’ Right now, they’re the best. Both teams played great defense. We didn’t shoot the ball real well. We didn’t have a lot of good looks. But I attribute that to them.”

Right out of the break, Manheim Township hit Cedar Crest with a 7-2 spurt to grow a two-point halftime margin to 20-11. But the Falcons refused to wilt, and when Rich knocked down a jumper a minute into the final stanza, the Falcons were only down 25-21.

“We can’t win the section now,” said Donmoyer. “They’re (the Blue Streaks) not going to lose two games. I hate to concede it. But right now, we’re playing for second.

“We still have our eye on the prize,” Donmoyer added. “If we win the next four games, we’ll be in the playoffs. We control it. We want to be in the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs.”

Last night’s defensive chess match featured Cedar Crest trying to take away Manheim Township’s height inside versus the Blue Streaks attempting to neutralize the Falcons’ perimeter games. And both were successful, thus the low-scoring affair.

IMG_6740With its packed-in zone defense, the Falcons held Blue Streak ‘Bigs’ Alexandra Leslie and Kaitlyn Van Tash to a combined 14 points. But Manheim Township held the sharp-shooting Falcons without a trey for the entire contest.

Despite converting eight-of-ten foul shots, Cedar Crest was outscored by five points at the free throw line.

“We made it as tough for Leslie and Van Tash as possible,” said Donmoyer. “We weren’t going to let Leslie and Van Tash beat us. But some of their kids made outside shots. We’re going to take away what they do best, and they’re going to take away what we do best.

“They’ve (the Blue Streaks) got seven seniors,” added Donmoyer. “Experience definitely plays a part in all of this. They made plays down the stretch and we didn’t. We didn’t make a ‘three’ all night. Their defense was good. We’re going to live or die with that. If we play them again, we’re doing the same thing.”

IMG_6797Cedar Crest enjoyed a couple of modest leads early, including 7-5 on a charity toss from Caitlynn Albright two minutes into the second stanza. But the Falcons managed only four points the rest of the half and faced a 13-11 deficit in the locker room.

“The foul trouble didn’t help, but we were hanging in there,” said Donmoyer of difficulties experienced by inside players Ashley Munnion and Alyssa Austin. “I’m not going to get into the officiating. Our freshman (Austin) played big. But yeah, the foul trouble hurt.

“They’re (the Blue Streaks) good. They’re undefeated,” concluded Donmoyer. “They’re number one in the district. They’re number ten in the state. I use them as a measuring stick. We’re not far off. We’re not too far away.”


Lancaster-Lebanon League

Section One Standings

 

Manheim Twp. 11 – 0 – 0 16 – 0 – 0
Cedar Crest 10 – 2 – 0 13 – 4 – 0
Hempfield 9 – 2 – 0 11 – 6 – 0
McCaskey 6 – 5 – 0 9 – 8 – 0
Warwick 3 – 8 – 0 4 – 13 – 0
Penn Manor 2 – 10 – 0 2 – 16 – 0

District Three

Class AAAA Power Rankings

 

IMG_6646RANK SCHOOL NAME POWER RANKING TWWP (55%) OWWP (45%)
1 Manheim Township (15-0) 0.822290 1.000000 (18.9-0) 0.605088 (199.8-130.4)
2 Cumberland Valley (13-2) 0.811453 0.923497 (16.9-1.4) 0.674510 (206.4-99.6)
3 Dover Area (13-1) 0.802809 0.956790 (15.5-0.7) 0.614610 (195.2-122.4)
4 Cedar Crest (12-3) 0.767261 0.868571 (15.2-2.3) 0.643436 (214.2-118.7)
5 Wilson (9-7) 0.766261 0.832000 (10.4-2.1) 0.685914 (156.8-71.8)
6 Red Lion Area (12-4) 0.751730 0.822222 (14.8-3.2) 0.665573 (223.1-112.1)
7 Central Dauphin (8-6) 0.746117 0.784615 (10.2-2.8) 0.699064 (194.2-83.6)
8 Mechanicsburg Area (12-2) 0.726511 0.888889 (14.4-1.8) 0.528050 (161.9-144.7)
9 Dallastown Area (12-5) 0.723070 0.786885 (14.4-3.9) 0.645074 (214.1-117.8)
10 Central Dauphin East (8-5) 0.715337 0.772727 (10.2-3) 0.645194 (191.3-105.2)
11 Lebanon (11-4) 0.706559 0.813665 (13.1-3) 0.575653 (183-134.9)
12 Exeter Township (12-3) 0.704227 0.862745 (13.2-2.1) 0.510483 (160.7-154.1)
13 Harrisburg (11-6) 0.685696 0.748571 (13.1-4.4) 0.608849 (189.9-122)
14 Spring Grove Area (10-5) 0.683859 0.751515 (12.4-4.1) 0.601169 (185.1-122.8)
15 Hempfield (10-6) 0.681279 0.726708 (11.7-4.4) 0.625755 (196.8-117.7)
IMG_677016 Muhlenberg (10-6) 0.666867 0.705882 (12-5) 0.619181 (199.5-122.7)
17 Cocalico (9-6) 0.666113 0.721854 (10.9-4.2) 0.597985 (195.9-131.7)
18 Conestoga Valley (10-6) 0.661502 0.743902 (12.2-4.2) 0.560789 (176.2-138)
19 Lower Dauphin (9-6) 0.652275 0.668966 (9.7-4.8) 0.631875 (202.2-117.8)
20 New Oxford (8-7) 0.648908 0.622517 (9.4-5.7) 0.681164 (231.8-108.5)
21 Governor Mifflin (8-8) 0.641694 0.637500 (10.2-5.8) 0.646820 (207.5-113.3)
22 J P McCaskey (8-8) 0.633694 0.637500 (10.2-5.8) 0.629042 (210.1-123.9)
23 Lampeter Strasburg (10-5) 0.628986 0.728477 (11-4.1) 0.507386 (147.7-143.4)
24 Garden Spot (10-5) 0.628410 0.717241 (10.4-4.1) 0.519837 (153.3-141.6)
25 Hershey (8-7) 0.593559 0.617450 (9.2-5.7) 0.564360 (174.5-134.7)
26 Ephrata Area (6-9) 0.588909 0.545455 (7.8-6.5) 0.642021 (208.4-116.2)
27 Red Land (7-8) 0.571828 0.539568 (7.5-6.4) 0.611256 (187.9-119.5)
28 Central York (6-9) 0.553349 0.503401 (7.4-7.3) 0.614395 (200.6-125.9)
29 Chambersburg Area (4-10) 0.506770 0.393939 (5.2-8) 0.644673 (200.3-110.4)
30 Warwick (4-12) 0.500757 0.362319 (5-8.8) 0.669959 (230.6-113.6)
31 York Country Day (8-4) 0.472412 0.636364 (7-4) 0.272027 (56.5-151.2)
32 Manheim Central (5-10) 0.451831 0.360000 (4.5-8) 0.564070 (177.4-137.1)
IMG_668633 Daniel Boone (4-13) 0.438631 0.307692 (4.4-9.9) 0.598668 (188.7-126.5)
34 Elizabethtown Area (3-12) 0.429334 0.272727 (3.3-8.8) 0.620742 (204.1-124.7)
35 Reading (2-12) 0.419685 0.224138 (2.6-9) 0.658687 (203.6-105.5)
36 Penn Manor (2-14) 0.417137 0.200000 (2.6-10.4) 0.682526 (232.4-108.1)
37 South Western (1-13) 0.374317 0.093220 (1.1-10.7) 0.717880 (239.7-94.2)
38 William Penn (3-11) 0.354815 0.227941 (3.1-10.5) 0.509883 (152.2-146.3)
39 Cedar Cliff (1-12) 0.348733 0.115044 (1.3-10) 0.634353 (195-112.4)
40 Solanco (1-14) 0.334689 0.082569 (0.9-10) 0.642836 (213.1-118.4)
41 Waynesboro Area (2-12) 0.328602 0.158730 (2-10.6) 0.536223 (169.5-146.6)
42 Carlisle (0-14) 0.310942 0.000000 (0-10.4) 0.690982 (224.5-100.4)

 

 

 

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