MOUNT JOY – Sound the Horn. Ring the alarm.
Do whatever you have to do. Just be aware—the Cedar Crest boys’ basketball team served early notice that last season’s championship campaign was no fluke.
Cedar Crest coasted to a 62-44 victory over county-foe Palmyra in the first round of the Donegal/Lower Dauphin Tip-Off Tournament on Friday evening at Donegal High School.
The Falcons, reigning Lancaster-Lebanon League champions and 2013-14 District Three runners-up, jumped out to an 8-0 lead and never looked back against the non-league Cougars in the opening round of the six-team, two-day, two-gym battle royal.
Senior sniper Dominic Garloff led all scorers with 14 points, while well-rounded guard Evan Horn chipped in with 13 and whole bunch of everything – rebounds, assists, blocks and steals – to lead Crest to a convincing win against their Lebanon County counterparts. The blue and gray never trailed in the season-opener, leading by as many 25 twice in a lopsided affair.
“As much as you want to be in a position to win – and we thought we could compete with them – a couple things didn’t go our way early,” Palmyra head coach Pete Conrad said. “What game is going to get us more ready to play the (Mid-Penn) Keystone (Division) games than playing against them?”
Palmyra plays Elizabethtown in a contest today at 6:30 p.m. at Lower Dauphin High School. The Falcons, meanwhile, face Central Dauphin East today at 5 p.m in Hummelstown in the winners’ bracket.
Central Dauphin East dropped Lower Dauphin 58-49 in the first game of the Friday’s tripleheader in Mount Joy. Elizabethtown dumped Donegal 68-49 in the night cap.
“I want to win a District Three championship, that’s for sure,” said Horn. “States is kind of up for grabs.”
Horn spearheaded a suffocating defensive effort, one which forced roughly 20 turnovers Friday against Palmyra. Crest center Raymie Ferreira started the onslaught – an instant surge featuring full-court pressure – with five points in the first quarter.
The Falcons exploded for an 8-0 edge in the first 1:53 of action. Palmyra recouped to cut the advantage to 8-5, but never got any closer, trailing 19-11 after one quarter.
“(Palmyra) certainly shoots the ball well. That was my biggest scare coming into the game – defending,” Crest head coach Tom Smith said. “And of course, not having (Austin) Yetter didn’t help them any.”
Yetter, a junior guard who averaged 13.5 points per game last year, did not play for the orange and black. Crest, on the other hand, competed without the services of point guard Josh Bucher and forward Andrew Eberhart. More than likely, it did not matter.
“I can’t emphasize enough that Horn is a really, really good player,” explained Conrad. “He’s so good. He does not make mistakes, and he makes all the guys around him look good.”
Crest closed the first half with a 9-1 spurt, highlighted by Horn’s buzzer-beating dunk attempt in the final seconds. The Falcons carried a 30-17 advantage into the break.
“He just does a little bit of everything, and he does what we need him to do,” Smith said of Horn. “He’s just a cool character.”
Senior Nick Miller drained a 3-pointer to open the second half, pushing the Falcon lead to 33-17. Garloff continued the rally later in the quarter with a layup, long ball and pair of free throws. Miller later added another deuce to make it 49-24 with about 15:00 remaining.
“When we’re up 10 or 15, it’s really when I like to get (my teammates) the ball,” said Horn. “It’s hard to explain; it just kind of happens.”
Palmyra never laid down, however, closing the frame with six unanswered points to make it 49-30 after three. Ian Frazier, Ethan Harro and Carl Reigle all contributed for the orange and black in the final minutes of the third.
“They kept fighting,” said Smith. “(Conrad) runs a good program. They’re tough. Their kids come to play and take on his personality. It was a fun game, a good game.”
The fourth quarter – aka garbage time – turned into a back-and-forth battle between reserves from both sides.
“There are some positive things; we had some good things happen,” added Conrad. “It’s hard to get kids comfortable that haven’t played much varsity basketball.”
Frazier led Palmyra with nine points, followed by Eric Lynn (8), Ethan Harro (8), Isaac Blatt (7) and big-man Bobby Dorta (6).
“We didn’t know much about them – we couldn’t get any film or anything,” said Horn. “I know a couple of the kids. I used to play baseball with them. They shoot the ball well. They’ll probably be good this year when they get that Yetter kid back.”
Ferreira joined Garloff and Horn in double digits with 10. Nine different players reached the scoring sheet for the Falcons, who topped Lebanon High in last year’s L-L title tilt to capture the school’s first league crown since 1976.
CEDAR CREST 19 11 19 13 – 62
PALMYRA 11 6 13 14 – 44
Reigle 0 1-2 1, Dorta 14-5 6, Harro 3 0-0 8, Frazier 3 0-0 9, Lynn 3 1-2 8, Reale 0 0-0 0, Sheils 0 0-0 0, Rhette 0 0-0 0, Martin 0 0-0 0, Blatt 2 2-2 7, Verenti 2 1-1 5. Totals — 14 9-12 44
Garloff 5 2-4 14, Gonzalez 2 0-0 4, Bolanos 0 0-0 0, Madsen 1 3-4 6, Horn 5 3-3 13, Miller 2 2-2 7, Frost 1 0-0 2, Ferreira 5 0-0 10, Bolanos 1 0-0 2, Candelario 1 0-2 2, Trimble 0 2-2 2. Totals — 23 12-17 62
3-POINTERS — PAL – Frazier (3), Harro (2), Blatt, Lynn. CC – Garloff (2), Miller, Madsen,
FOULED OUT — None.