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 BY JEFF FALK

 LANCASTER –  The Cedar Crest boys’ basketball season has been a study in steadiness. The Falcons have been nothing, if not consistent.

 But last night proved that there is an exception to every absolute.

 On Friday evening at J.P. McCaskey High School, Red Tornado forward Makai Ortiz-Gray knocked down a game-winning 15-footer at the buzzer to lift the home side to a 60-58 upset victory over Cedar Crest. Out of a timeout with 2.2 seconds left, Ortiz-Gray accepted an in-bounds pass, took a quick dribble inside the circle and knocked down the decisive shot, despite apparently being fouled on the play.

 It was Ortiz-Gray’s only bucket of the evening.

 The result slowed, but did not derail, Cedar Crest’s drive to a Lancaster-Lebanon Section One championship. While it snapped the Falcons’ streak of ten wins in their last 11 outings, Cedar Crest, now 17-3 overall and 8-3 in the circuit, still controls its own destiny.

 All the Falcons have to do to secure their third section crown in head coach Tom Smith’s tenure is win their remaining regular-season games against Penn Manor and Manheim Township. McCaskey, which had dropped a 64-52 decision to Cedar Crest in South Lebanon back on January 15th , improved to 9-9 on the year and 7-4 in the section.

  “I just told them we didn’t play well enough to win,” said Smith of the post-game address to his troops. “There were plenty of plays throughout the course of the game that we didn’t execute. It was a one-possession game where we missed some plays earlier.

 “We were on a nice little run,” continued Smith. “We were playing well. We played well for the first three quarters. But they made the plays down the stretch.”

 After they had relinquished a 20-point second-quarter cushion, the Falcons regained the lead at 53-52 on two Logan Horn free throws with 2:32 remaining. Two foul shots from Jason Eberhart 35 seconds later made it 55-54 Crest, and a pair of charity tosses by Ileri Ayo-Faleye extended the Falcons’ lead to 57-54, with 1:40 to go.

 But the Red Tornado responded with inside baskets from, first Isaiah Thomas, and then Brian McKenzie to knot the score at 58, with 23 ticks remaining. A Cedar Crest turnover set the stage for Ortiz-Gray’s heroics.

 “We had fouls to give,” said Smith. “We wanted to foul on the bounce. We didn’t get it early and then it looked like he was fouled on the shot. You have games like that, when you don’t play a complete game.

 “I could be wrong, but I don’t think the play was designed for him,” Smith added. “He’s a very good basketball player and he made a tough shot. He averages double-digits and he was on our scouting report.”

  Cedar Crest led by double figures through most of the third quarter, including 39-21 on an inside move from Ayo-Faleye, 1:37 into the second half. A three-pointer by Horn gave the Falcons a 42-25 margin midway through the third stanza.

 Even early in the fourth period, an Jaquan Andino driving lay-in had the Falcons ahead 48-38. But a 14-3 run propelled McCaskey to a 52-51 edge with less than three minutes to play.

 “It was definitely both,” said Smith to the notion that the outcome was a result of his side not performing well and the home team playing well. “I give their guys credit. They made important shots down the stretch.

 “That (the Falcons are still in the driver’s seat) was our point in there (the locker room),” added Smith. “We’ve got to fix things, but at the end of the day, we put ourselves in this good position. We still control our own destiny.”

 Leading scorer Horn paced the Cedar Crest attack with 19 points, while teammate Trey Shutter canned 11 points. The Falcons outscored the Red Tornado 18-9 from beyond the arc, and 16-5 at the foul stripe.

 “Sixteen-for-twenty-seven is not awful, but it’s not great,” said Smith of Crest’s free throwing. “But if we’re going to accomplish the things we want to accomplish, we’ve got to be better than that. “

 Cedar Crest put on a clinic in the opening quarter.

 An overwhelming 25-2 run gave the Falcons a 21-point lead early in the second period. During the eight-minute spurt, six different Falcons contributed points, including Horn, who dropped in ten, Shutter, who collected five and Eberhart, who tallied four.

 “I thought we definitely started well,” said Smith. “We were executing offensively. But in the second and third quarters, we had a lot of one pass and done, and we didn’t get back on defense.

 “If it’s a half-court game, it’s our game,” continued Smith. “If it’s a full-court game, it’s McCaskey’s game. But we’ve got to be able to understand what we’re trying to do offensively.”

 Despite the fact that McCaskey finally got itself going, the Falcons led comfortably though the second stanza.

 A Shutter trey halfway through the quarter put Cedar Crest up 33-14. And thanks to a late lay-in from Eberhart , the Falcons led 35-21 at the break.

 “That’s our first goal,” said Smith of the section championship. “It’s what we want every year. It starts from there. If we’re competing in our section, we’ll have a good seed in districts. You can’t goals Two and Three without getting One first.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 2018-19 Cedar Crest Boys’ Basketball Results

 
 
Date Opponents Outcomes  
12/07
6:00 pm
Cedar Crest
Elco
at Lebanon
67
36
 
12/08
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
53
43
 
12/10
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Wyomissing
73
47
 
12/14
7:30 pm
Elizabethtown
at Cedar Crest
47
74
 
12/17
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
56
46
 
12/19
7:30 pm
Ephrata
at Cedar Crest
41
58
 
12/21
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Warwick
42
52
 
12/22
6:30 pm
Palmyra
at Cedar Crest
46
63
 
12/28
7:30 pm
Mount Carmel
at Cedar Crest
56
79
 
12/29
7:30 pm
Lebanon
Cedar Crest
at Falcon Tournament (at Cedar Crest)
52
58
 
1/03
7:30 pm
Conestoga Valley
at Cedar Crest
40
65
 
1/05
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
Lower Dauphin
at Lebanon Valley College
54
49
 
1/08
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Hempfield
49
54
 
1/11
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Cedar Crest
30
48
 
1/12
3:00 pm
Red Land
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Central
59
81
 
1/15
7:30 pm
McCaskey
at Cedar Crest
52
64
 
1/17
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Township
69
66
 
1/23
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Carlisle
49
37
 
1/25
7:30 pm
Hempfield
at Cedar Crest
41
62
 
2/01
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at McCaskey
   
2/04
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Penn Manor
   
2/05
7:30 pm
Manheim Township
at Cedar Crest
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 PIAA District Three
 Class AAAAAA Power Rankings
 
AAAAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP  TWPW  OWPW  TWPL  OWPL
1 Wilson 18- 2- 0  0.812859  0.931330  0.668060  21.7  271.7  1.6  135.0
2 Cedar Crest 17- 2- 0  0.776826  0.930394  0.589132  20.1  232.0  1.5  161.8
3 Reading 13- 5- 0  0.738285  0.800532  0.662206  15.1  264.8  3.8  135.1
4 Central Dauphin 13- 5- 0  0.736611  0.805556  0.652345  16.0  265.7  3.9  141.6
5 Chambersburg Area 15- 4- 0  0.727912  0.858156  0.568726  18.2  221.0  3.0  167.6
6 Harrisburg 12- 5- 0  0.717921  0.790191  0.629590  14.5  237.5  3.9  139.7
7 Central York 15- 5- 0  0.714837  0.813364  0.594415  17.7  232.0  4.1  158.3
8 Cumberland Valley 14- 5- 0  0.713204  0.815348  0.588363  17.0  231.1  3.9  161.7
9 Waynesboro Area 14- 3- 0  0.709467  0.856369  0.529920  15.8  208.6  2.7  185.0
10 Manheim Township 11- 6- 0  0.695224  0.742466  0.637483  13.6  235.6  4.7  134.0
11 Warwick 13- 6- 0  0.683509  0.759036  0.591198  15.8  223.0  5.0  154.2
12 HEMPFIELD 10- 9- 0  0.646487  0.636605  0.658566  12.0  272.4  6.9  141.2
13 Dallastown 10- 8- 0  0.630277  0.641304  0.616799  11.8  253.4  6.6  157.4
14 J P McCaskey 8- 9- 0  0.624790  0.585075  0.673332  9.8  269.4  7.0  130.7
15 Penn Manor 10- 8- 0  0.622968  0.659218  0.578662  11.8  229.2  6.1  166.9
16 Lebanon 9- 10- 0  0.593812  0.571031  0.621655  10.3  250.9  7.7  152.7
17 Exeter Township 8- 10- 0  0.592322  0.536145  0.660982  8.9  259.7  7.7  133.2
18 Governor Mifflin 8- 11- 0  0.587393  0.528926  0.658854  9.6  268.5  8.6  139.0
19 Carlisle 7- 12- 0  0.579395  0.490085  0.688553  8.7  282.1  9.0  127.6
20 Central Dauphin East 7- 10- 0  0.577860  0.532308  0.633534  8.7  252.4  7.6  146.0
21 Red Lion 9- 10- 0  0.558671  0.552561  0.566139  10.3  232.4  8.3  178.1
22 York County School Of Technology 12- 7- 0  0.549503  0.629333  0.451932  11.8  189.5  7.0  229.8
23 Conestoga Valley 3- 16- 0  0.381182  0.203762  0.598029  3.3  227.6  12.7  153.0
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Lancaster-Lebanon League
 Section One Standings
 
 
  League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT PF PA
Cedar Crest 8 3 72.73 17 3 85.00 1222 954
Manheim Township 8 4 66.67 13 6 68.42 1206 1052
McCaskey 7 4 63.64 9 9 50.00 1106 1158
Hempfield 6 6 50.00 11 9 55.00 1052 972
Penn Manor 4 8 33.33 10 9 52.63 978 960
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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