Lebanon Sports Buzz
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IMG_9460BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – No, winning isn’t everything. But associating oneself with winning does enhance self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence.

So is Cedar Pride still alive? Well, it has a pulse thanks to the boys’ basketball program.

While Lebanon High School has struggled in many other seasons and many other sports – both on and off the fields of play – the one lone constant at Lebanon County’s only inner-city school has remained basketball, most notably the brand currently being played by the Cedar boys. The Lebanon boys’ basketball program has been as consistent over time as other programs at the school have been inconsistent.

IMG_9452Or put an entirely different way: A bad season for the Lebanon boys’ basketball program would be a good one for some of the Cedars’ other athletic teams.

That makes the Cedar boys the school district’s torch carrier, its standard-bearer, and in some way out way, a morale booster. Whether they know it or not, the Cedars represent Lebanon High School like no other athletic team does.

“The standard is obviously raised for the basketball program,” said Lebanon head coach Tim Speraw. “We’re expected to win. The bar’s raised for our program. We need to give as much as we have every time out there because we have more people watching us. Friday night, on the court, at Lebanon High School. Where else would you rather be?

gone“At times it bothers me because I hear people say we’re a basketball school,” continued Speraw. “That’s when I’d like for the other programs to have more success. We have to get more kids out for sports. We need to make more two- and three-sport athletes. I think that would help with the success across the board.”

At 9-2 overall and 6-0 in Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, the Cedars are in the midst of a very Lebanon-like winter. This particular group of Cedars is deep, athletic, unselfish and disciplined – everything one is looking for in a good basketball team.

“I don’t think they really understand the magnitude of it,” said Speraw of his charges. “They’re teenagers. They have so many other things on their minds. I don’t think they think they’re carrying a torch for Lebanon. But they have to carry themselves a different way because more people are watching them. Sometimes it’s hard to understand.

lay-in“I think our school could use a lot of things,” continued Speraw. “I’d like to seem our other programs have more success, and I think they will. I think it helps with school pride.”

More than anything, where Lebanon High has struggled over the past decade has been participation, simply getting kids out for sports. But that doesn’t ever seem to be a problem for the boys’ basketball team.

“If you start at the bottom, it’s the biddy program,” said Speraw, himself a former Cedar player. “It’s been run incredibly well since John Wilson was there. That’s the backbone of our program. We have great guys running it. What they put into it, and just getting kids excited. The idea that being a Lebanon Cedar one day is important.

Matty“It becomes a family thing with the biddy program,” Speraw continued. “It’s a consistency with our coaches. There’s not huge turnover. Kids enjoy the coaches, and they want to be there. That makes it easier to come back.”

Historically speaking, the Lebanon boys’ basketball program is among Lebanon County’s most successful.

Only McCaskey has won more Lancaster-Lebanon League championships than Lebanon High. And the names who have donned the blue and red are legendary: Bowie, Lentz, Bechtold, Coletti, Kelliher, Daly.

“I think the history of it means a lot,” said Speraw. “We talk about it with the kids. We point out the banners and talk about the years. I can remember sitting in the stands and watching Kris Coletti knocking down free throws against Cedar Crest. It is special.

Cam“As kids, I don’t know how much they realize it,” added Speraw. “I know talking to kids who have come back, they say they miss it and they realized how special it was. One thing we do to help them understand is we have a hall of fame banquet, and they hear stories from the past. And it helps them realize how important it is and how special it is to be a part of this.”

And as the temperatures fall and the cold deepens, the Cedars only figure to keep representing and sparking memories of that glorious past. While Lebanon might be playing better than some around the program thought it would, it may be that the Cedars haven’t become as good as they can be.

Blouch“It’s going well,” said Speraw. “I always say to the kids, ‘Don’t get too high and don’t get too low’. Our record’s good, but I think we can play a lot better. We’re nowhere close to our ceiling. As a coach, you’re always concerned about that (overconfidence) when you have a good record. Right now, we’re fighting injuries and disciplinary things, and it hurts who we are. Hopefully we can keep this rolling a little while longer.

“Our depth is probably our biggest advantage right now,” Speraw added. “We can put three, four, five guys in who didn’t start, and we didn’t lose anything. We’re all on the same page. As long as they (his players) keep buying in, I think we’ll keep having success.”

Needless to say, the Cedars are on track for achieving their annual goals – winning Section Two, and qualifying for the Lancaster-Lebanon League and District Three Class AAAA postseasons. Over the next two months, it should be interesting to see exactly where Lebanon’s path leads it.

dude“I knew we’d be good,” said Speraw. “It’s still to be determined how good we’re going to be. We still haven’t won anything. That’s what I stress to the kids.

“Basically, our goals are to get better, win games we’re supposed to win and maybe steal a couple of games we weren’t supposed to,” concluded Speraw. “We want to win the section and have as much postseason success as we can. I think the schedule definitely gets harder, and we’re not looking past anybody.”

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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glare2015-16 Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/04 #
Lancaster Mennonite
7:30 PM W 69-56
12/05 #
Elco
7:30 PM L 60-61
12/11 *
@Manheim Twp.
7:30 PM W 45-32
12/14 *
Penn Manor
7:30 PM W 74-56
12/16 *
@Warwick
7:30 PM W 75-46
12/18 *
@Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM W 60-45
12/21 *
Ephrata
7:30 PM W 68-51
12/23 *
@Solanco
7:30 PM W 63-45
12/29 #
@Boiling Springs
3:30 PM W 53-28
12/30 #
@Mechanicsburg
7:00 PM W 45-37
01/02
@Governor Mifflin
1:00 PM L 40-50
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
01/05 *
@Elizabethtown
7:30 PM Elizabethtown High School
01/08 *
Garden Spot
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/11
Hempfield
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/13
@McCaskey
7:30 PM McCaskey High School
01/15
Cedar Crest
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/19 *
Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/22 *
@Ephrata
7:30 PM Ephrata High School
01/25 *
Solanco
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/28 *
Elizabethtown
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
02/02 *
@Garden Spot
7:30 PM Garden Spot High School
02/04
@Hershey
7:30 PM Hershey High School

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EscotoLancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Two Standings

TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL
Lebanon 6-0 9-2
Conestoga Valley 2-4 7-5
Garden Spot 2-4 5-5
Solanco 1-5 5-7
Ephrata 1-5 2-8
Elizabethtown 0-6 2-9

 

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