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IMG_8615BY JEFF FALK

LANDISVILLE – It’s not that it doesn’t know history. It’s not that it doesn’t care about history. It’s not that it doesn’t respect history.

The Cedar Crest boys’ basketball team just wants to author its own.

On Friday night at Hempfield High School, the Falcons flew in the face of history, and because they did, they won their first Lancaster-Lebanon Section One championship since 1976. Composed Cedar Crest had an answer for everything perennial league bully McCaskey threw at it down the stretch, before pulling away for a 59-51 triumph, in a special playoff for the Section One title.

After both teams had finished the regular season with identical 13-3 league marks, the Falcons improved to 20-4 overall, while McCaskey slipped to 15-9. It was the Falcons’ third win of the season over a dominant Red Tornado program that they hadn’t beaten in the previous 15 years.

IMG_8744The win also gave Cedar Crest a home game in next week’s Lancaster-Lebanon League postseason, on Tuesday at 7 p.m. opposite County brethren Northern Lebanon, the runner-up from Section Three. The Falcons have now won 31 of their last 38 outings, dating back to the middle of last season.

“It absolutely does matter,” said Cedar Crest head coach Tom Smith of both teams’ past in the section. “One of the things we said to the guys, ‘McCaskey is still the champions, until we beat them. This is our first goal. This is the one I wanted first. When I was first interviewed for the job one of the questions I was asked was, ‘What is your goal for the program?’ And I said, ‘to compete in Section One.’

“They’re (the Red Tornado) a very good team, no doubt about it,” Smith continued. “It was just the next game. I told the guys, ‘Let’s go out and play it’.”

“It’s pretty crazy,” said Falcon senior center Andrew Eudy. “The school hasn’t done this since 1976, and we did it. I wasn’t even thought of back then. But it’s a pretty good feeling bringing the program back into competitiveness.

“I don’t think history means too much,” Eudy continued. “We’re here now. We can’t do anything about what came before us.”

IMG_8629The outcome was decided where most championships are, in crunch time and at the free throw line.

The Falcons had enjoyed modest leads throughout, including 51-49 with 1:47 to go. But with Evan Horn stroking four, and Eudy and Josh Bucher converting a pair apiece, Cedar Crest went eight-for-ten at the charity stripe in the waning seconds.

The fact that it limited McCaskey to just two points during crunch time certainly didn’t hurt the Cedar Crest cause either.

“I think the foul shots were the difference,” said Smith. “They (the Red Tornado) missed some shots down the stretch, and we were able to rebound.

IMG_8731“This group is very resilient,” Smith added. “One of the things I’ve got to do is get the kids ready to play games they’re supposed to win. They don’t need me for McCaskey. They don’t need me for Hempfield. They get up on their own for those games. But that’s my off-season goal.”

“I think our intensity on defense was the difference,” said Eudy. “When it picked up, it helped our offense. We stopped them from scoring, and we scored ourselves.

“Playing them three times, you can’t know a team better than that,” added Eudy. “We know what we have to do to stop them. We executed all three times we played them.”

Nursing a 45-43 edge early in the final period, the Falcons tallied six unanswered points courtesy of Horn and Eudy, to extend their lead to eight. But Cedar Crest would go the next 2:22 without a point.

IMG_8536Earlier, Cedar Crest had weathered a third-quarter Red Tornado storm that saw its 27-18 halftime sliced to two points. The Falcons shifted the momentum with a drive by Horn, a Josh Bucher trey and a Dom Garloff jumper.

“The whole process started last year when we went on a nice little eight-game run,” said Smith. “It carried us over to the off-season, and into this season. I guess you could say it started with our loss to McCaskey in the (last season’s) league championship game. But the kids have bought into what we’re selling.”

“We’ve been playing together all of our lives,” said Eudy. “We’ve created a bigger bond. That’s what’s given us an edge.”

Horn stepped up in a big way and poured in a game-high 23 points, on nine-of-ten free throwing. Eudy contributed a dozen and Bucher struck for ten.

Cedar Crest held McCaskey to just nine two-point baskets.

IMG_8716“I think he understands when we need him and what we need from him,” said Smith of Horn. “Some nights it’s distributing. Tonight it was scoring.”

With the score knotted at 14 early in the second quarter, Cedar Crest hit the Red Tornado with a 13-4 burst to end the half. Horn notched seven of those points, while Eudy tossed in four and Bucher had two.

“I want to win leagues and win districts,” said Eudy. “Those are my expectations. And I want to compete in states. I know those goals are high, but I think we can accomplish them.”

 Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section One Final Standings 

IMG_8562

x-Cedar Crest 13 – 3 – 0 19 – 4 – 0
McCaskey 13 – 3 – 0 15 – 8 – 0
Hempfield 12 – 4 – 0 15 – 7 – 0
Manheim Twp. 11 – 5 – 0 13 – 9 – 0
Penn Manor 6 – 10 – 0 8 – 14 – 0
Warwick 6 – 10 – 0 7 – 14 – 0

x-won section championship

District Three

 Class AAAA Power Rankings 

Top 20 qualify for playoffs
RANK SCHOOL NAME POWER RATING
1 Wilson (20-2) 0.823626 0.947761 (25.4-1.4) 0.671905 (316.4-154.5)
IMG_85732 Central York (19-2) 0.817745 0.937255 (23.9-1.6) 0.671677 (312.8-152.9)
3 Cedar Crest (18-4) 0.786272 0.892308 (23.2-2.8) 0.656672 (311-162.6)
4 Reading (16-6) 0.764997 0.854772 (20.6-3.5) 0.655273 (293.3-154.3)
5 Harrisburg (16-5) 0.761816 0.845133 (19.1-3.5) 0.659985 (266.7-137.4)
6 Cumberland Valley (17-5) 0.760742 0.860000 (21.5-3.5) 0.639426 (280.9-158.4)
7 William Penn (16-5) 0.741502 0.839827 (19.4-3.7) 0.621328 (291.9-177.9)
8 Carlisle (15-6) 0.739028 0.812500 (18.2-4.2) 0.649229 (278-150.2)
9 Red Lion Area (18-4) 0.738512 0.880000 (22-3) 0.565583 (262.6-201.7)
10 J P McCaskey (15-7) 0.738411 0.797521 (19.3-4.9) 0.666166 (310.3-155.5)
11 Hempfield (15-7) 0.729802 0.797521 (19.3-4.9) 0.647034 (305.4-166.6)
12 Hershey (15-7) 0.714014 0.767544 (17.5-5.3) 0.648590 (296.6-160.7)
13 Mechanicsburg Area (13-7) 0.696194 0.738095 (15.5-5.5) 0.644982 (266.7-146.8)
14 Manheim Township (13-9) 0.695487 0.748879 (16.7-5.6) 0.630230 (287.7-168.8)
15 Lebanon (15-7) 0.690994 0.789256 (19.1-5.1) 0.570896 (260.5-195.8)
16 Central Dauphin East (13-9) 0.683475 0.723684 (16.5-6.3) 0.634330 (277.9-160.2)
17 Lower Dauphin (12-8) 0.671207 0.682692 (14.2-6.6) 0.657170 (276.8-144.4)
18 Waynesboro Area (15-6) 0.662945 0.756098 (15.5-5) 0.549093 (220.9-181.4)
IMG_868319 Cocalico (12-9) 0.659625 0.709677 (15.4-6.3) 0.598451 (278.1-186.6)
20 Exeter Township (12-10) 0.648147 0.672727 (14.8-7.2) 0.618103 (286.8-177.2)
21 Cedar Cliff (13-9) 0.647696 0.676724 (15.7-7.5) 0.612217 (270.6-171.4)
22 Daniel Boone (11-11) 0.641478 0.615741 (13.3-8.3) 0.672936 (311.3-151.3)
23 Lampeter Strasburg (14-8) 0.634332 0.686441 (16.2-7.4) 0.570644 (259.7-195.4)
24 Shippensburg Area (13-8) 0.623792 0.687204 (14.5-6.6) 0.546288 (232.5-193.1)
25 Central Dauphin (10-12) 0.622887 0.572139 (11.5-8.6) 0.684913 (297.8-137)
26 Ephrata Area (11-11) 0.603124 0.631818 (13.9-8.1) 0.568054 (262.1-199.3)
27 Dallastown Area (10-12) 0.594434 0.567308 (11.8-9) 0.627588 (297.1-176.3)
28 Penn Manor (8-14) 0.573605 0.500000 (10.2-10.2) 0.663567 (321.1-162.8)
29 Warwick (7-14) 0.554795 0.465969 (8.9-10.2) 0.663360 (307.6-156.1)
30 Governor Mifflin (7-15) 0.537238 0.413265 (8.1-11.5) 0.688760 (331.5-149.8)
31 Spring Grove Area (7-15) 0.525344 0.422330 (8.7-11.9) 0.651251 (309.8-165.9)
32 Solanco (7-14) 0.506830 0.475936 (8.9-9.8) 0.544590 (246.1-205.8)
33 Muhlenberg (6-16) 0.492181 0.364583 (7-12.2) 0.648133 (308.9-167.7)
34 South Western (5-16) 0.486462 0.326203 (6.1-12.6) 0.682335 (312.1-145.3)
35 Red Land (5-16) 0.456118 0.267442 (4.6-12.6) 0.686723 (309.3-141.1)
36 New Oxford (5-16) 0.429091 0.264368 (4.6-12.8) 0.630420 (283.5-166.2)
IMG_853737 Chambersburg Area (3-18) 0.423945 0.231788 (3.5-11.6) 0.658804 (270.9-140.3)
38 Northern York (6-16) 0.414174 0.303922 (6.2-14.2) 0.548927 (255.8-210.2)
39 Garden Spot (5-16) 0.413927 0.267016 (5.1-14) 0.593485 (266-182.2)
40 Conestoga Valley (3-19) 0.403970 0.214286 (3.9-14.3) 0.635806 (300.8-172.3)
41 York County School Of Technology (7-14) 0.350084 0.259259 (4.9-14) 0.461093 (183.1-214)
42 Elizabethtown Area (1-21) 0.333415 0.067073 (1.1-15.3) 0.658944 (315.7-163.4)

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