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IMG_8143 BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – It was a competitive game.

It was an interesting game.

It was an intense game.

IMG_7993It was vintage Cedar Crest-Lebanon.

But it wasn’t one for the purists.

On Saturday night at Lebanon High School, Cedar Crest captured the championship of the Cedars’ annual tip-off tournament by knocking off the host team 49-46, down the stretch. With neither team leading by more than six points the entire way, it was the the battle-tested Falcons who made the plays, the shots and the free throws in crunch time.

In fact, Cedar Crest’s 6-0 run with under two minutes to play – a driving lay-in from Logan Horn, a drive by Dylan Miller and two Horn free throws – snapped a 43-all draw, provided the Falcons their biggest lead of the evening and proved decisive. After that the Cedars were never able to possess the ball in a one-possession game.

In addition to serving as an encore to last year’s championship in the same event, the triumph pushed Cedar Crest to 2-0 in the early going. Though the result left them 1-1, the Cedars will get up to as many as three more cracks at the Falcons this season.

IMG_8080Horn was voted the tournament’s most valuable player as much for his defense as his scoring down the stretch. He fronted an all-tournament team that also featured teammate Jaiden Melendez and Cedars Sincere Scott and Felix Kortright.

“It was a fun game,” said Cedar Crest head coach Tom Smith. “It was a game for the fans. But it wasn’t a good game. As far as execution goes, we didn’t play well.

“A win’s a win,” continued Smith. “I’m happy with it. Tim (Speraw) has them (the Cedars) well-coached every year. It’s one to grow on. We’ll get better. A win at Lebanon, we’ll take it.”

“I don’t think it was one crucial play,” said Speraw, Lebanon’s head coach. “I thought it was a couple of turnovers. We missed shots and a couple of free throws. Both teams played hard. It was a physical game. It was a good high school basketball game.

“We didn’t execute well either,” added Speraw. “It was just knocking down shots.”

Melendez and teammate Blake Thomson each tallied six points, as the final quarter featured a handful of lead changes and a number of ties. The final tie of the game came with 1:43 remaining, courtesy of two foul shots from Jahlil Young of Lebanon.

“Any win versus Lebanon is a good win,” said Smith. “Do I think we played well? No. It was a win on the road against a good team.

“We missed a lot of lay-ups,” Smith continued. “I thought we were taking some poor shots. We didn’t do the things we are capable of doing. The second quarter killed us.”

IMG_8041“I thought we played well at times,” said Speraw. “I thought we played hard all the time. I’m extremely proud of our effort. We battled. We scrapped.

“But at the same time, I’m not a moral-victory kind of guy,” Speraw added. “We’ll take something from this. We grew up a little bit.”

Cedar Crest pieced together a 10-2 run in the middle of the third quarter to turn a three-point deficit into a 26-21 lead. Horn and Miller each drained three-pointers in the spurt, while Thomson and Cole Laney both threw in deuces.

But the Cedars registered the final eight points of the stanza – thanks to four points from Scott, Josh Kauffman’s drive and a Jessy Martinez lay-in – to forge 31-29 margin.

“I talked about Sincere’s skill set, and then we went from there to make the match-ups,” said Smith. “I think they’re very important, especially with the style of defense we play. I’m fortunate. I have a lot of guys to put here and there, and to go to a plan B if we need to.

“Logan’s a kid who has a skill set that allows him to defend a point guard or bigger kids,” added Smith. “Logan is a good match-up for Sincere.”

IMG_8006“Some of it’s based on size,” said Speraw of the match-ups. “Some of it is based on speed. Sometimes you’ve got to adjust things. There’s a ton of things that go into it.

“They’re (the Falcons) very guard heavy,” continued Speraw. “Even with Cole (Laney), he’s the biggest kid on the floor, but I still consider him a guard. It makes it a little easier.”

Horn led the Falcons with 14 points, while Thomson contributed 11 points and Melendez collected ten. Scott struck for 15 Cedar points.

Both teams connected on 13 deuces and four three-point field goals, but Cedar Crest went 11-for-16 at the charity stripe.

“I didn’t pick it, but I’m OK with it,” said Smith of Horn’s selection as MVP. “I thought Blake Thomson had a great weekend. When he was in the game, he was making plays.

“But that’s what this team has to offer,” Smith continued. “At times, they were trying to do it by themselves.”

IMG_8011“His potential is huge,” said Speraw of Scott. “It all starts with his basketball IQ. He sees the floor very well and he’s unselfish. He doesn’t have a weakness.”

The rivals evenly split the first ten points of the game, before Melendez sandwiched two foul shots and a drive around a Horn free throw to put Cedar Crest ahead 10-5. A trey from Thomson three minutes into the second quarter helped Cedar Crest regain the lead, at 15-13.

“I think there was a focus there,” said Smith, “and they (his players) did what we asked them to do. We run the dribble-drive (offense), that’s no secret. Not only did we get opportunities, we took advantage of them.”

“That’s what we talked about,” said Speraw. “Their (the Falcons’) experience pulled them through. They had very strong guard play, and they knocked down some free throws. If we knock down a few ‘threes’, it could’ve gone a different way.”

With Scott doing his thing and tallying points on plays in the open court, Lebanon closed the first half on a 6-1 run and with a 19-16 edge.

IMG_8071“Back when we were in four sections (in the Lancaster-Lebanon League), Tim (Speraw) and I talked and we agreed we needed to play more than once,” said Smith. “Now there’s an opportunity to play each other four times. It takes away from it a little bit.”

“There were times when the crowd really livened up,” said Speraw. “But I’m sure the weather kept some people away.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

 

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2017-18 Cedar Crest Boys’ Basketball Schedule

Date Teams Score
12/08
7:45 pm
Cedar Crest
Elco
at Lebanon
68
44
12/09
7:45 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
12/11
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Central
12/14
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at McCaskey
12/15
TBD
Cedar Crest
York
at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
12/18
12:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Township
12/18
7:30 pm
Warwick
at Cedar Crest
12/20
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Conestoga Valley
12/22
7:30 pm
Manheim Township
at Cedar Crest
12/28
TBD
TBA
at Cedar Crest
12/29
TBD
TBA
at Cedar Crest
1/05
7:30 pm
Hempfield
at Cedar Crest
1/06
7:00 pm
Lower Dauphin
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon Valley College
1/09
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Penn Manor
1/12
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
1/16
7:30 pm
McCaskey
at Cedar Crest
1/19
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Warwick
1/20
3:00 pm
Cedar Crest
Williamsport
at Reading
1/23
7:30 pm
Conestoga Valley
at Cedar Crest
1/26
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Township
1/30
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Hempfield
2/02
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Cedar Crest
2/06
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest

 

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2017-18 Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Schedule

Date Teams Score
12/08
6:00 pm
Red Lion
at Lebanon
51
59
12/09
7:45 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
12/13
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Governor Mifflin
12/15
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Manheim Township
12/18
7:30 pm
McCaskey
at Lebanon
12/20
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Warwick
12/22
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Lebanon
12/28
TBD
Lebanon
TBA
at Cedar Crest
12/29
TBD
Lebanon
TBA
at Cedar Crest
1/05
7:30 pm
Conestoga Valley
at Lebanon
1/06
5:00 pm
Palmyra
Lebanon
at Lebanon Valley College
1/09
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Hempfield
1/12
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
1/16
7:30 pm
Manheim Township
at Lebanon
1/19
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at McCaskey
1/22
7:30 pm
Ephrata
at Lebanon
1/23
7:30 pm
Warwick
at Lebanon
1/26
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Lebanon
1/27
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Hershey
1/30
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Conestoga Valley
2/02
7:30 pm
Hempfield
at Lebanon
2/06
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest

 

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IMG_8035Cedar Crest 49, Lebanon 46
Cedar Crest (49)
Thomson 4 2-2 11, Laney 3 0-0 7, Miller 2 0-2 5, Melendez 4 2-2 10, Horn 3 7-9 14, Dunlop 0 0-1 0, Showers 0 0-0 0, Eberhart 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 11-16 49.

Lebanon (46)
Young 1 2-2 5, Porter 1 0-0 3, Rivera 2 0-0 6, Scott 6 3-5 15, Martinez 1 0-0 2, Aquino-Rios 1 3-6 5, Kauffman 2 0-0 4, Apple 0 0-0 0, Kortright 3 0-1 6. Totals: 17 8-14 46

Cedar Crest 10 6 13 20 – 49
Lebanon 5 14 12 15 – 46
3-point field goals: CC – Thomson, Miller, Laney, Horn, L – Young, Porter, Rivera 2

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LEBANON SPORTS BUZZ’S

 All-Lebanon County Pre-Season Boys’ Basketball Rankings

1. Cedar Crest

2. Lebanon High

3. Northern Lebanon

4. Annville-Cleona

5. Palmyra

6. Elco

7. Lebanon Catholic

 

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