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BY JEFF FALK

WEST LAWN – The Cedar Crest boys’ basketball team’s championship campaign has been founded on defense. Up until this point of the season, the Falcons’ offense has been serviceable, nothing spectacular, but prolific and opportunistic enough.

But last evening, during its most important game of the year yet, Cedar Crest was abandoned by its offense.

On Tuesday night at Wilson High School, during the semifinals of the District Three Class AAAAAA playoffs, the Falcons struggled to score the basketball and dropped a 49-39 decision to the home-standing Bulldogs. Experiencing difficulties establishing any sort of offensive rhythm, the Falcons fell into a hole that ultimately they couldn’t dig themselves out of.

The outcome dashed Cedar Crest’s dreams of a third championship this year. Prior, the now 23-4 Falcons had captured Lancaster-Lebanon League and Section One titles.

Cedar Crest’s point total represented its lowest of the year.

Cedar Crest, the fourth seed, will now turn its attention to Thursday’s Class AAAAAA third-place game at second-seeded Central York and the upcoming PIAA playoffs. The Falcons have never won a District Three championship in boys’ basketball.

Top-seeded Wilson improved to 26-1 and moved into Saturday’s District Three Class AAAAAA championship tilt opposite third-seeded Reading High.

“That was the best defensive team we played all year,” said Cedar Crest head coach Tom Smith of the Bulldogs. “They do that night in and night out. We missed some shots and we had some turnovers.

“They are very aggressive,” Smith added. “They’re long. They’re quick. We were running our dribble-drive offense and we were having trouble beating them off the dribble. They’re long and strong and athletic.”

But despite all of their offensive woes, the Falcons nearly pulled off a monumental comeback.

Down 36-21 early in the fourth quarter, Cedar Crest benefitted from Wilson’s three-for-11 foul shooting over a three-minute stretch of crunch time, and the Falcons pulled to within 39-37 of the lead on an Amani Jones three-pointer, with 2:00 left. During that 16-3 run, Grant Allwein also converted five Falcon free throws, Ileri Ayo-Faleye tallied three points, Cole Miller tacked on two and Andrew Eberhart hit a foul shot.

But Wilson regained its touch at the charity stripe, and the Falcons managed just two more points the rest of the way.

“I was just like, ‘keep fouling them,'” said Smith. “As the deficit gets closer and closer, the foul shots get harder and harder. But hats off to Wilson. They made them when it mattered most.

“I wasn’t going to stop fouling them,” added Smith. “If we get ahead one or two points, I’m still going to put them on the line. I hate to say it was desperation. It was more like, ‘Let’s extend the game as much as we can. Give ourselves the best chance to win.'”

Cedar Crest was put into that unenviable position by scoring just two points in the third quarter, as the Bulldogs turned a seven-point lead into a 34-18 advantage. The Falcons went without a field goal for an 11:48 span that stretched from late in the first half, through the third period and into the early portions of the fourth.

“Offensively, in the third quarter, we didn’t have a field goal,” said Smith. “We really struggled. I don’t know that we’ve gone that long without a field goal before. That was a tough stretch.

“Offensively, we go through Andrew (Eberhart),” continued Smith. “We had to get him touches inside.”

With 11 points, Ayo-Faleye was the only Cedar Crest scorer to reach double figures. Cedar Crest committed a total of 20 turnovers.

The Falcons made 13 of their 15 free throws, while Wilson went 16-for-30 at the charity stripe. Bulldog junior star Stevie Mitchell poured in a game-high 22 points that included a pair of three-pointers and ten-for-13 foul shooting.

“We had to make Mitchell beat us,” said Smith. “He’s a very good player. We always say we’re going to make good players earn their points against us, and we did. We switched Ileri on him hoping his length would give him a little trouble, but he picked up two fouls.”

With Ayo-Faleye notching a pair of buckets, and Jones and Cole Miller scoring one each, the Falcons fought Wilson to an early eight-all draw. But the Bulldogs notched the last basket of the opening period and the initial basket of the second quarter to establish a 12-8 edge.

“Right now, they don’t see what’s ahead of them,” said Smith of his troops and the state playoffs. “They wanted a chance at another championship. They wanted a chance to go to Giant Center. But they’re resilient. They’re tough. They’ll be fine.”

The game was tied twice during the second quarter – at 14 on Cedar Crest’s Trey Shutter’s inside hoop, and at 16 on Falcon Max Scipioni’s lay-in. But Wilson posted the final seven points of the first half to take a 23-16 lead to the break.

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

2019-20 Cedar Crest Boys’ Basketball Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
12/06
6:00 pm
Red Land
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
29
70

Nonleague
12/07
7:30 pm
Elco
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
55
59

Nonleague
12/09
7:30 pm
Wyomissing
at Cedar Crest
47
59

Nonleague
12/13
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Elizabethtown
45
41

League
12/16
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
55
57

League
12/18
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Ephrata
57
26

League
12/20
7:30 pm
Warwick
at Cedar Crest
50
55

League
12/21
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Palmyra
60
40

Nonleague
12/27
7:30 pm
Oxford
at Cedar Crest
38
51

Nonleague
12/28
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
49
59

Nonleague
1/02
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Conestoga Valley
52
46

League
1/04
4:30 pm
Cedar Crest
Lower Dauphin
at Lebanon Valley College
46
58

Nonleague
1/08
7:30 pm
Hempfield
at Cedar Crest
47
61

League
1/10
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Penn Manor
70
40

League
1/11
3:00 pm
Cedar Crest
Bishop McDevitt
at Manheim Central
58
55

Nonleague
1/14
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at McCaskey
48
62

League
1/17
7:30 pm
Manheim Township
at Cedar Crest
49
58

League
1/22
7:30 pm
Carlisle
at Cedar Crest
43
56

Nonleague
1/24
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Hempfield
56
51

League
1/28
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Cedar Crest
52
65

League
1/31
7:30 pm
McCaskey
at Cedar Crest
52
53

League
2/04
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Township
42
61

League
2/10
7:00 pm
Cocalico
at Cedar Crest
36
59

Playoff
2/12
5:30 pm
Lampeter-Strasburg
Cedar Crest
at Hempfield
43
48

Playoff
2/14
7:00 pm
Warwick
at Cedar Crest
41
45

Playoff
2/21
7:00 pm
Central Dauphin
at Cedar Crest
43
45

Playoff
2/25
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Wilson

Playoff

PIAA District Three

Final Class AAAAAA Power Rankings

AAAAAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1***Wilson21-1-0 0.845478 0.970930 0.692147 25.1 332.3 0.8 147.8
2***Central York18-3-0 0.777853 0.897704 0.631368 21.5 291.9 2.5 170.4
3***Reading15-5-0 0.763886 0.825581 0.688480 17.8 300.9 3.8 136.2
4***Cedar Crest19-3-0 0.757581 0.906375 0.575722 22.8 269.2 2.4 198.4
5***Central Dauphin17-5-0 0.748749 0.846311 0.629506 20.7 301.3 3.8 177.3
6***Cumberland Valley18-4-0 0.748520 0.880478 0.587238 22.1 277.0 3.0 194.7
7***Warwick17-4-0 0.736006 0.861635 0.582460 20.6 264.0 3.3 189.3
8***J P McCaskey15-7-0 0.720284 0.773859 0.654805 18.7 310.1 5.5 163.5
9***Chambersburg Area16-6-0 0.703824 0.807377 0.577259 19.7 270.9 4.7 198.4
10***Governor Mifflin13-9-0 0.692080 0.692478 0.691594 15.7 339.4 7.0 151.4
11***Harrisburg13-8-0 0.683714 0.725400 0.632765 15.9 283.7 6.0 164.7
12***Manheim Township13-8-0 0.681031 0.720824 0.632394 15.8 291.9 6.1 169.7
13Central Dauphin East14-8-0 0.678221 0.717842 0.629794 17.3 298.1 6.8 175.2
14Exeter Township13-9-0 0.658504 0.681193 0.630774 14.9 301.1 7.0 176.3
15Dallastown13-9-0 0.652726 0.680617 0.618637 15.5 294.1 7.3 181.3
16Lebanon12-10-0 0.609194 0.642857 0.568050 14.4 270.3 8.0 205.5
17Waynesboro Area12-10-0 0.585746 0.611872 0.553815 13.4 259.9 8.5 209.4
18Red Lion10-12-0 0.566068 0.533019 0.606460 11.3 287.3 9.9 186.4
19Carlisle8-14-0 0.562892 0.485294 0.657734 9.9 317.9 10.5 165.4
20Penn Manor8-14-0 0.530882 0.463054 0.613782 9.4 296.2 10.9 186.4
21HEMPFIELD6-16-0 0.505033 0.365979 0.674987 7.1 334.0 12.3 160.8
22Conestoga Valley7-15-0 0.482745 0.401515 0.582027 8.0 276.6 11.9 198.6
23York County School Of Technology4-15-0 0.306571 0.197403 0.440000 3.8 178.8 15.5 227.5

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