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IMG_7563BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – ‘Effort’ and ‘Effective’ are sort of homonyms, words that sound alike, but have different meanings – even though they’re based in similar concepts. It’s hard to have one, without the other.

Cedar Crest and Elco are boys’ basketball teams whose fortunes will rest in their efforts. But on this evening, the experienced Falcons’ effort was a little more consistent, and a lot more effective.

On Friday night, in the opening game of the Lebanon High Booster Club’s Tip-Off Tournament, Cedar Crest’s turned their effort into a 68-44 victory over the young Raiders. The Falcons established themselves early, then pulled away with a 23-7 run through the third quarter.

The season-opening result pushed Cedar Crest into Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. championship game of the tourney, opposite host and rival Lebanon. You can bet the quality of effort will be key in that one as well.

IMG_7586Elco will get another chance when it takes on Red Lion in the event’s consolation tilt, Saturday at 6 p.m..

“I felt like we were ready,” said Cedar Crest head coach Tom Smith. “We had three long weeks of practice. When you lace ’em up for the first time, there’s nothing like it. It was fun.

“We need to continue to get better every single day, every single practice,” Smith continued. “We can’t take a minute off. It’s a long season. It’s a grind. We’ve got to go into every single game with a sense of urgency. I think we have the talent to compete.

“We’ll accept the loss,” said Elco head coach Brad Conners. “I’ve got a young team, and they’re (the Falcons) good. But I thought we could’ve played a lot harder. Tommy’s kids played hard. They came up with the 50-50 balls and rebounds.

IMG_7556“We had jitters, but we’re better than we showed,” continued Conners. “But the effort was unacceptable. There’s talent there. They’re capable. I expect a lot more from them. Young teams that are good can win games too.”

Cedar Crest tallied 15 of the contest’s first 23 points. Then on three points from Jaiden Melendez and a pair of free throws by Blake Thomson, the Falcons closed out the opening period with five straight points, and a 24-13 margin.

“It was a good first win,” said Smith. “We’ve got a lot of things to clean up. It was the first time we competed for real.

“I thought we played a good first quarter,” added Smith. “We took our foot off the gas pedal in the second and did our own things. That was message at halftime.”

“I don’t expect us to get blown out in any game,” said Conners. “Tonight was a little upsetting. I don’t expect any game to be a 20-point game. I promise you’ll see a better effort tomorrow.

“They’re (the Falcons) an experienced team,” Conners added. “They’ve got a lot of pieces. We were excited about the opportunity. The pressure they put on the ball, we can’t replicate in practice.”

A Cole Laney free throw 2:31 into the second period pushed the Falcons’ lead to 27-15. But Elco used a 7-2 burst – a couple of Jeff Lorah drives and a Braden Bohannon three-ball – to pull within 29-22, 1:19 before the break.

“It feels good,” said Smith of his club’s versatility and balance. “I do think we have some size. We can match up with some teams. I have a veteran group. I have good guards. I have a lot of good things in that locker room.

“They’re (the Raiders) young,” Smith added. “They’re competitive. They shot the ball really well.”

“We had some moments,” said Conners. “But when I say ‘playing hard’, I mean all the time. Cedar Crest is really good at pushing the ball up the floor. If you’re just coasting, they’re going to get you. We need to sprint back. Giving up an offensive rebound on a free throw, we did that twice and on both occasions we had key guys pick up their third foul. At times, we looked scared.”

IMG_7439Melendez tallied a game-high 17 points. He was supported by teammates Laney’s 14 points and Thomson’s 13.

Lorah scored ten points for Elco, as did Blake Weary.

Cedar Crest outscored Elco 42-16 on field goals inside the arc, and by seven points at the free throw line, despite 11-for-23 shooting there.

“I got what I expected out of Jaiden,” said Smith. “He scored well. He’s worked his butt off in the off-season.

“There’s a lot of fire power on this team,” Smith continued. “Any time, they can go off. But I want to see it for four quarters.”

“I guess we’ll see how it plays out,” said Conners. “It’s going to come down to playing hard on a nightly basis. The talent’s there. It’s going to have to be effort every night. We do have a big ceiling. I expect to see us grow every game.”

IMG_7464The Falcons emerged from the locker room and ripped off the first 13 points of the second half, turning a nine-point lead into a 46-24 bulge. During the burst, Laney scored five points, and Melendez and Thomson popped for four apiece.

“We were really applying pressure defensively,” said Smith, “and we were scoring the ball at the offensive end. That’s what was going well for us.”

“We just have to get better everyday,” said Conners. “We have to improve our team defense. What I like about this group is that they’re unselfish. They want to please.”

With some of Cedar Crest’s regulars on the bench, the Raiders started the final period with a 13-1 run to move to within 57-44 of the Falcons’ advantage. But they would prove to be the last points Elco scored.

“It helped out last year,” said Smith of an early season meeting with the Cedars. ‘We’ll find out what we’re about tomorrow.

“It’s super early,” continued Smith. “Our goals are the same every year. We want to win Section One (of the Lancaster-Lebanon League). We want to compete for the league championship. And we want to make a run in districts.”

 

 

 

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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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Cedar Crest 68, Elco 44
Elco (44)
Coletti 2 2-2 8, Huey 2 0-1 5, Lorah 4 0-0 10, Martinez 0 2-2 2, Kemble 1 0-0 2, Weary 4 0-0 10, Bohannon 2 2-4 7. Totals: 15 6-9 44.

Cedar Crest (68)
Thomson 4 4-6 13, Miller 1 1-2 3, Horn 2 0-0 4, Andino 1 0-0 2, Loehr 1 0-2 2, Melendez 7 2-4 17, Dunlop 1 2-4 4, Laney 5 2-4 14, Wenrich 1 0-0 2, Eberhart 2 0-0 4, Ayo-Falaye 1 0-0 3, Showers 0 0-0 0, Dorvil 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 11-22 68

Elco 13 11 7 13 – 44
Cedar Crest 24 9 23 12 – 68
3-pointers: Elco – Lorah 2, Coletti 2, Weary, Huey, Bohannon. CC – Laney 2, Melendez, Thomson, Ayo- Falaye.

 

 

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2017-18 Cedar Crest Boys’ Basketball Schedule

Date Teams  
12/08
7:45 pm
Cedar Crest
Elco
at Lebanon
12/09
TBD
Cedar Crest
TBA
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 Elco Boys’ Basketball Schedule

Date Teams  
12/08
7:45 pm
Cedar Crest
Elco
at Lebanon
12/12
7:30 pm
Manheim Central
at Elco
12/15
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Elco
12/18
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Mennonite
12/20
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Elco
12/22
7:30 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
12/27
2:00 pm
Elco
at Ephrata
1/05
7:30 pm
Pequea Valley
at Elco
1/09
7:30 pm
Columbia
at Elco
1/12
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
1/13
2:30 pm
Solanco
at Elco
1/16
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
1/19
7:30 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Elco
1/20
12:00 pm
Conrad Weiser
at Elco
1/23
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lebanon Catholic
1/24
7:30 pm
Elco
at Middletown
1/26
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
1/30
7:30 pm
Elco
at Pequea Valley
2/02
7:30 pm
Elco
at Columbia
2/06
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco

 

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