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BY JEFF FALK

SOUTH LEBANON – Chalk this one up to the lure of the league playoffs.

For the Lebanon Cedars, the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs are a stepping stone, an opportunity to attain that elusive second goal. So not only did they want it, the Cedars earned it – and then they deserved it.

On Tuesday night at Cedar Crest High School, in a special play-in game to the league playoffs, Lebanon somehow survived Warwick 62-61 in double overtime, in an intense, high-spirited whale of a high school basketball game. In the end, what it all really boiled down to was that Cedar desire, and Marquis Ferriera’s hanging bank shot with 20 seconds remaining in the second overtime.

Ferriera’s bucket proved to the game-winner, after Warwick had rallied from a seven-point deficit on a pair of three-pointers three seconds apart and Kai Cipalla’s runner with 37 seconds left. The Cedars had scored the first seven points of the second four-minute overtime, on three Ferriera free throws, a couple of foul shots from Demetrius Matthew and a stick-back by Isaiah Rodriguez, to open a 60-53 lead.

It was Cipalla who had sent the contest to a second extra session with a similar driving lay-up with one second remaining in the first overtime. After Matthew’s pull-up early in the initial overtime gave Lebanon a 49-48 edge, the Cedars went four-for-eight at the foul stripe over the final 2:18 of that period.

“It’s a shame one of these two teams wasn’t going to go to the league playoffs,” said Lebanon head coach Tim Speraw. “They’ve adjusted other things in the league. Why not go to an ten-team format or an eight-team format? That’s a heck of a ball team over there.”

“It’s so we can show we’re the best team in the league,” said Rodriguez of the importance of the Lancaster-Lebanon League tournament. “It’s my last year. I want to say I accomplished something.”

With the triumph, Lebanon improved to 15-3 overall and earned a shot at Section Three champion Cocalico in Thursday’s L-L League semifinals, at a site and time to be determined. Lebanon and Warwick were declared co-champions of Section Two, after they finished tied atop the final regular-season standings.

During the regular season, the Cedars defeated the Warriors 58-43 in Lebanon on February 5. But Warwick prevailed 62-55 in Lititz on February 13.

The result dropped Warwick to 13-3 overall.

“It was crazy,” said Speraw. “It was one heck of a high school basketball game. ‘Resiliency’ is the only word that comes to mind right now. There was absolutely no quit from our kids. It was being down, coming back, losing the lead and just fighting.

“I don’t think so (that the Cedars let up for just an instant with a seven-point lead in the second overtime),” continued Speraw. “If we had to do it all over again, I’d want the ball in my guards’ hands. I trust them, but we had two turnovers and they hit two ‘threes’.”

“What stood out to me was just the physicality of the game,” said Rodriguez. “Whoever got the most shots up and whoever got the best shots up was going to win. But for me, defense was the biggest thing.”

Cipalla also sent the game to overtime, on an inside move with 14 seconds left in regulation, after Luke Collins had given the Cedars a 45-43 edge with a huge trey 14 seconds earlier. Four unanswered points by Rodriguez put Lebanon up 38-37 with 2:39 to go.

“They’ve come a long way,” said Speraw of his group, collectively. “Early in the year, we worked through some tough issues. They just want to be the best team that they can be. I’m happy, but more than anything, I’m happy for the kids.”

“They’ve all been intense games,” said Rodriguez of the meetings with Warwick. “The first game, we came out fired up and ready to go. The second time, we didn’t play our best game. We knew tonight there was something to play for.”

With Ferriera netting seven straight Cedar points, Lebanon established a 28-23 advantage late in the third period. But the Warriors closed the stanza with a 5-0 spurt, and the score was tied headed to the fourth.

“There’s not much between the two teams,” said Speraw. “We just played two overtimes and it was a one-point game. It was two evenly-matched teams. They had the best player on the floor (Cipalla), but we were hoping we had the best team on the floor.

“All three games have just been battles,” added Speraw. “They got us on their home floor and we got them on our home floor, and this one was almost a tie. They’re a very tough team.”

The Cedars’ balanced attack featured 19 points from Rodriguez, 15 points from Ferriera and 13 by Collins. Cipalla led all scorers with 22 points, Chase Krall tallied 19 points for Warwick and Tate Landis contributed 15.

Lebanon made 19 of its 35 free throw attempts and outscored Warwick by 11 points at the stripe.

“We don’t have a 6-4 horse who can guard Cipalla outside,” said Speraw. “We needed to send help, but we had to make sure we weren’t helping too far. We couldn’t let Cipalla and Landis go off together. But Krall was an issue too.”

“I was just more active in the paint,” said Rodriguez. “I tried to get the ball more because I thought I could help the team. I was just working. It was part of the game plan and I took it on myself. If I don’t work to get open, I’m not going to get the ball.”

Warwick held Lebanon without a point for a 6:14 stretch that spanned the first and second periods, to create a 14-8 cushion. But thanks to five points from Rodriguez and three-pointers from Ferriera and Braden Allwein, the Cedars ripped off an 11-4 run and took a 19-18 lead to intermission.

“The next goal is to win the league,” said Rodriguez. “But first we’ve got to worry about the next game we play (against Cocalico). Then after that, we’ve got to worry about districts.”

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

2021 Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
12/11
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon
58
70

Nonleague
1/08
7:30 pm
Conestoga Valley
at Lebanon
57
58

League
1/11
7:30 pm
Ephrata
at Lebanon
48
55

League
1/16
12:00 pm
Lebanon
at Lower Dauphin
43
59

Nonleague
1/18
7:30 pm
Garden Spot
at Lebanon
31
47

Nonleague
1/19
8:00 pm
Lebanon
at Elizabethtown
54
39

League
1/23
2:30 pm
Lebanon
at Hershey
Postponed
Nonleague
1/26
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Ephrata
58
20

League
1/29
8:00 pm
Lebanon
at Manheim Township
43
55

Nonleague
1/30
1:30 pm
Palmyra
at Lebanon
52
54

Nonleague
2/02
7:30 pm
Governor Mifflin
at Lebanon
Postponed
Nonleague
2/03
7:30 pm
Elizabethtown
at Lebanon
32
41

League
2/05
7:30 pm
Warwick
at Lebanon
43
58

League
2/06
1:30 pm
Exeter
at Lebanon
47
57

Nonleague
2/09
8:00 pm
Lebanon
at Conestoga Valley
54
42

League
2/11
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at McCaskey
Postponed
Nonleague
2/13
1:30 pm
Lebanon
at Warwick
55
62

League
2/17
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
31
68

Nonleague
2/19
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Columbia
52
48

Nonleague
2/22
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Lebanon
58
74

Nonleague
2/23
7:00 pm
Lebanon
Warwick
at Cedar Crest

Playoff

PIAA District Three

Class AAAAAA Power Rankings

AAAAAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1Reading18-1-0 0.806949 0.965986 0.612569 21.30 177.40 0.75 112.20
2Wilson (3)15-1-0 0.802460 0.958333 0.611949 17.25 156.20 0.75 99.05
3Central Dauphin13-1-0 0.798602 0.955882 0.606371 16.25 136.10 0.75 88.35
4Muhlenberg13-2-0 0.767516 0.904153 0.600514 14.15 151.90 1.50 101.05
5Warwick13-2-0 0.741574 0.912536 0.532619 15.65 109.40 1.50 96.00
6Red Lion13-1-0 0.736278 0.953125 0.471243 15.25 114.30 0.75 128.25
7Lebanon14-3-0 0.732408 0.873995 0.559358 16.30 143.00 2.35 112.65
8Cumberland Valley12-4-0 0.727178 0.832402 0.598571 14.90 146.65 3.00 98.35
9Central York11-4-0 0.722100 0.803077 0.623128 13.05 158.15 3.20 95.65
10Hempfield (3)10-3-0 0.708876 0.845361 0.542061 12.30 94.40 2.25 79.75
11Manheim Township10-3-0 0.707995 0.845361 0.540104 12.30 103.70 2.25 88.30
12Central Dauphin East10-4-0 0.705612 0.806452 0.582363 12.50 140.00 3.00 100.40
13Cedar Cliff9-2-0 0.699328 0.860082 0.502850 10.45 97.05 1.70 95.95
14Governor Mifflin9-8-0 0.663626 0.626911 0.708499 10.25 214.25 6.10 88.15
15Dallastown9-6-0 0.649401 0.683168 0.608130 10.35 151.85 4.80 97.85
16J P McCaskey7-7-0 0.636730 0.622302 0.654364 8.65 140.95 5.25 74.45
17Waynesboro10-6-0 0.633252 0.682927 0.572539 11.20 143.65 5.20 107.25
18Harrisburg5-6-0 0.622398 0.570776 0.685492 6.25 140.80 4.70 64.60
19Carlisle8-8-0 0.593064 0.613924 0.567568 9.70 134.40 6.10 102.40
20Conestoga Valley6-8-0 0.550367 0.518519 0.589294 7.00 134.30 6.50 93.60
21William Penn5-10-0 0.526403 0.418182 0.658673 5.75 159.30 8.00 82.55
22Cedar Crest3-10-0 0.469165 0.327511 0.642298 3.75 135.30 7.70 75.35
23Penn Manor2-14-0 0.391439 0.180451 0.649313 2.40 155.90 10.90 84.20
24Chambersburg Area0-12-0 0.337174 0.000000 0.749276 0.00 168.10 9.20 56.25
25York County School of Technology2-14-0 0.310243 0.131250 0.529012 2.10 144.05 13.90 128.25

Lancaster-Lebanon League

Section Two Standings

LeagueOverall
WLPCTWLPCTPSPA
Lebanon710.8751530.8331003842
Warwick710.8751330.8131000729
Elizabethtown350.375570.417552616
Conestoga Valley350.375690.400835919
Ephrata080.0002130.133662815

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