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IMG_6969BY JEFF FALK

NEFFSVILLE – So, what exactly makes the Cedar Crest boys’ basketball team so special? Well, the things it does are special.

The Falcons do things most teams don’t.

Their internal make-up – the commitment to their discipline, the commitment to themselves, the commitment to each other – is genuinely unique.

And they measure success, not by wins, but by championships.

IMG_7012On Friday night at Manheim Township High School, Cedar Crest became the 13th team in the 42-year history of the Lancaster-Lebanon League’s boys’ basketball tournament to win back-to-back championships when it held off a game McCaskey outfit, 70-66. After the Red Tornado had erased most of a 15-point deficit by getting the Falcon interior players into foul trouble, Cedar Crest made 12 of 20 fourth-quarter free throw attempts to stem the tide.

The Falcons had led 49-34 on two charity tosses from Nick Miller with 3:30 left in the third period. But McCaskey pulled to within three points of Cedar Crest’s lead twice – at 66-63 and 68-65, before the Red Tornado’s Kyaire Bynum made it a 68-66 game with 1:01 remaining.

Josh Bucher responded for the Falcons, in the form of two foul shots, with 24 seconds to go. Then, Cedar Crest came up with a huge defensive stop on McCaskey’s final possession, to secure its third triumph over McCaskey in four tries this season.

IMG_6919The Lancaster-Lebanon League championship was the third overall for Cedar Crest, which was making its third straight appearance in the title tilt, all against the Red Tornado. Now 23-2, the Falcons will carry a number-one seeding into Tuesday’s opening round of the District Three Class AAAA postseason, at 7 p.m. at home with Spring Grove.

McCaskey, which has won more league championships – 13 – than any other program in the circuit, fell to 19-7.

Cedar Crest has won four championships – and counting – over the past two seasons.

“I’m happy. This is our expectation,” said Cedar Crest head coach Tom Smith. “When you have an expectation and meet it, you feel awesome. I feel awesome for them (his players). They deserve everything they get. I don’t care if it’s midget football, high school basketball or the NFL, to repeat anything is special. You win one, there’s a bulls’ eye on your back. It’s definitely special.

IMG_6946“We took over the program five years ago and I told you guys we wanted to compete in Section One and compete for a league title,” continued Smith. “And probably some people laughed at that. We had a goal. We had a vision. We’re just executing that plan. Our kids work so hard. Early morning practices in July, that’s when this championship was won.”

“I think when you win it twice, it’s special,” said Falcon junior star Evan Horn. “It puts you up there with the best teams in Lancaster-Lebanon League history. Not many teams have been able to do that.”

With Cedar Crest having trouble guarding Red Tornado ‘big’ Tyler Owens, McCaskey ended the third period on a 10-3 spurt, thanks in part to a half-court buzzer-beater from LeDetrius Sibley that pulled it to within 52-44.  The Falcons managed to keep McCaskey at arms’ length at the free throw line, and with a Bucher drive that made it 60-50, and with a Miller bucket that made it 63-56.

IMG_6828But instead of going away, the Red Tornado just kept coming.

“What got them (the Red Tornado) back int it was we weren’t making free throws and they were hitting ‘threes’,” said Smith. “The momentum just switched. The half-court buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter was huge for them. They had all the momentum going into the fourth.

“They (McCaskey) played tough,” Smith continued. “When you get up 15 on them, there’s been times when they’ve put their heads down. But tonight they didn’t. I do think we took their best shot.”

“It made it more fun,” said Horn of the Red Tornado’s run. “I didn’t like it, but it made it more fun for everyone. They picked up the pressure a little more. The officials let us play physical in the first half, but they called more stuff in the second half. But when that happens, you’ve got to adjust.

IMG_6937“I knew they (the Red Tornado) were going to come harder,” added Horn. “I knew they weren’t going to like losing a championship game by ten points.”

With Miller stroking a trey, Horn scoring on a drive and Raymie Ferriera converting a couple of foul shots, Cedar Crest netted the final seven points of the first half to carry a 33-24 cushion to the locker room. It was more of the same for the Falcons at the start of the second half, as CC center Andrew Eberhart tallied four points and a Horn lay-in gave his side a 39-26 margin.

“We got some defensive tempo,” said Smith. “We got some push-outs. We got the game to our pace. But I don’t think anyone changed their style of play.”

IMG_6835“The first half was kind of slow,” said Horn. “But in the second half, it got physical. It was a great game on both ends. We just made our free throws at the end.”

Bucher dropped in 19 Cedar Crest points, while Horn struck for 17, Eberhart collected 14 and Miller had 11. Owens poured in 21 points for a McCaskey club that went 18-for-28 at the foul stripe.

Cedar Crest made good on 25 of its 37 free throw attempts. McCaskey was whistled for 23 fouls to Cedar Crest’s 18.

“Josh is strong with the ball, he got to the foul line and made free throws,” said Smith of Bucher. “He’s a senior leader, and I’d expect nothing less from him.

“He’s (Owens) just a tough player,” Smith continued. “I thought we defended him pretty good. He’s strong. He’s a good post player. He battles his butt off.”

IMG_7064“He was really physical down there,” said Horn of Owens. “I came in thinking I was going to cover (Kobe) Gantz. Soren (Frost) took it over in the second half, and he did a great job on him. I like playing defense. Defense wins championships.”

The game was tied on eight different occasions early – at two, five, seven, nine, 11, 13, 18 and 20 – before Horn converted an inside move into a three-point play to give the Falcons a 26-22 advantage, 1:42 before the break.

“Our next goal is to finish being undefeated at home,” said Smith of Tuesday’s game with Spring Grove at ‘The Cage’. “We just go one game at a time. But our ultimate goal is to win districts.

IMG_6902“I try not to think about last year’s district championship game (a heartbreaking loss to York),” Smith added. “We enjoyed the good things that happened last year, and try not to think about the bad ones. If it’s (last year’s district championship game) bothering my kids, I don’t know about it.”

“They were ready to play,” said Horn of the Red Tornado. “No one likes getting beat three times. They took their best shot. But they didn’t get the lead, and that was big. We got a little less aggressive.”

Cedar Crest (70)

PLAYER FGM FTM FTA 3PM PTS_TOT FT%
Josh Bucher 5 7 10 2 19 0.7
Andrew Eberhart 5 4 6 14 0.667
Raymie Ferreira 0 6 6 6 1
Soren Frost 1 0 0 2 0
Dominic Garloff 0 1 4 1 0.25
Evan Horn 6 5 8 17 0.625
Marq Kintzer 0 0 0 0 0
Nick Miller 4 2 4 1 11 0.5

IMG_6976McCaskey (66)

PLAYER FGM FTM FTA 3PM PTS_TOT FT%
Brandon Allen 1 0 0 2 0
Elijah K. Brown 1 0 0 2 0
Kyaire Bynum 3 3 5 9 0.6
Kobe Gantz 3 4 8 1 11 0.5
Tyler Owens 8 5 9 21 0.556
La’Detrius Sibley 3 2 2 2 10 1
Randolph Speller 3 4 4 1 11 1

 

  • Team 1 2 3 4 Final
    Cedar Crest
    13 20 19 18 70
    McCaskey
    11 13 20 22 66

 IMG_6995Cedar Crest 2014-15 Results

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/05
@Palmyra
6:30 PM W 62-44
12/06
CD East
5:00 PM W 70-60
12/10
@Central York
7:30 PM W 50-48
12/12 *
@Solanco
7:30 PM W 65-27
12/15 *
Ephrata
7:30 PM W 68-53
12/17 *
@Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM W 74-45
12/19 *
McCaskey
7:30 PM W 57-48
12/23 *
@Hempfield
7:30 PM W 46-43
12/29 #
Camp Hill
7:30 PM W 80-61
12/30 #
Hershey
7:30 PM W 53-42
01/02 *
@Manheim Twp.
7:30 PM W 58-56
01/06 *
Warwick
7:30 PM W 55-33
01/09 *
@Penn Manor
7:30 PM W 45-44
01/12 *
Garden Spot
7:30 PM W 66-23
01/14 *
@Elizabethtown
7:30 PM W 67-52
01/16 *
Lebanon
7:30 PM W 59-42
01/20 *
@McCaskey
7:30 PM L 54-58
01/22 *
Hempfield
7:30 PM W 58-54
01/27 *
Manheim Twp.
7:30 PM W 52-38
01/30 *
@Warwick
7:30 PM L 57-60
02/03 *
Penn Manor
7:30 PM W 72-43
02/05
@McCaskey
8:00 PM W 68-46
02/09 #
Lancaster Catholic
7:00 PM W 56-33
02/11 #
Manheim Central
7:00 PM W 45-40
02/13 #
@McCaskey
7:00 PM W 70-66

IMG_7020

Past Lancaster-Lebanon League

Boys’ Basketball Champions

1973: McCaskey

1974: Cocalico

1975: Ephrata

1976: Cedar Crest

1977: Cocalico

1978: Lebanon

IMG_69021979: Lebanon

1980: McCaskey

1981: Warwick

1982: McCaskey

1983: McCaskey

1984: Hempfield

1985: Lebanon

1986: Lebanon

1987: Warwick

1988: Warwick

IMG_69591989: Columbia

1990: Columbia

1991: Conestoga Valley

1992: Hempfield

1993: McCaskey

1994: Solanco

1995: Hempfield

1996: Lebanon

1997: Lebanon

IMG_69411998: Lebanon

1999: Hempfield

2000: Hempfield

2001: McCaskey

2002: McCaskey

2003: Lancaster Catholic

2004: Lebanon

2005: McCaskey

2006: McCaskey

2007: McCaskey

IMG_68532008: McCaskey

2009: Conestoga Valley

2010: Hempfield

2011: Hempfield

2012: McCaskey

2013: McCaskey

2014: Cedar Crest

2015: Cedar Crest

District Three

 Class AAAA Power Rankings

IMG_6877AAAA School W L T Rating

1 Cedar Crest 19- 2- 0 0.811602

2 Cedar Cliff 20- 2- 0 0.803052

3 William Penn 18- 4- 0 0.802332

4 J P McCaskey 17- 5- 0 0.788332

5 Reading 18- 4- 0 0.776121

6 Central York 16- 6- 0 0.760164

7 Northeastern 20- 2- 0 0.758480

8 Harrisburg 16- 6- 0 0.750694

9 Hempfield 15- 7- 0 0.746181

IMG_704010 Carlisle 16- 6- 0 0.737605

11 Exeter Township 17- 5- 0 0.730178

12 Warwick 14- 8- 0 0.71513

13 Cumberland Valley 14- 8- 0 0.710915

14 Hershey 13- 9- 0 0.693510

15 Central Dauphin East 13- 9- 0 0.692111

16 Red Lion Area 13- 9- 0 0.685730

17 Spring Grove Area 14- 8- 0 0.680733

18 Shippensburg Area 16- 6- 0 0.679236

IMG_699819 Governor Mifflin 12- 10- 0 0.654347

20 Lebanon 13- 9- 0 0.653790

21 Dallastown Area 12- 10- 0 0.649993

22 Conestoga Valley 12- 10- 0 0.637353

23 Lower Dauphin 11- 11- 0 0.633747

24 Waynesboro Area 13- 9- 0 0.627586

25 Elizabethtown Area 11- 11- 0 0.618086

26 Manheim Township 8- 13- 0 0.604186

27 Central Dauphin 8- 12- 0 0.601781

28 Wilson Senior 9- 13- 0 0.599806

IMG_700529 Mechanicsburg Area 9- 13- 0 0.598207

30 Chambersburg Area 8- 14- 0 0.589636

31 Greencastle Antrim 8- 14- 0 0.545404

32 South Western 6- 15- 0 0.519041

33 Penn Manor 5- 17- 0 0.495312

34 Solanco 7- 15- 0 0.491442

35 Northern York 7- 15- 0 0.488847

36 Red Land 5- 17- 0 0.480957

37 Ephrata Area 4- 18- 0 0.440761

IMG_688238 New Oxford 4- 18- 0 0.436323

39 Muhlenberg 3- 19- 0 0.397024

40 Garden Spot 3- 18- 0 0.393694

41 York County School Of Technology 4- 18- 0 0.318375

42 Daniel Boone 1- 21- 0 0.306320

 

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