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IMG_7197BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – It would appear that the Lebanon girls are well on their way to becoming the basketball team they had hoped they could be at the beginning of the season – and maybe more.

But one gets a distinct sense from being around the Cedars that they’re not exactly sure how it’s happening, and because of that, they don’t want to tinker with it too much, for fear of breaking this karma they have inexplicably created.

IMG_7211On Monday night, Lebanon County’s hottest basketball team scored yet another, even more impressive victory. Playing with confidence, assertiveness and wisdom, the Lebanon girls seized control of the contest in the third quarter and then pulled away from a competent Hempfield club in the fourth, for a 44-35 triumph.

The victory was the Cedars’ 11th in their last 12 outings, and it lifted them to 14-4 overall and 9-3 in a Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon League that they are currently leading. Though it really wasn’t, it seems like a long, long time ago that Lebanon was 3-3 and searching for an identity.

With the setback, the Black Knights slipped to 11-7 on the year and 9-3 in Section One of the L-L.

“I think the Cedar Crest game was the turning point,” said Lebanon head coach Ben Brewer of a 49-30 home loss to its rival on December 18. “The team was lacking enthusiasm. Our goal after the Christmas break was installing some energy. I think it’s confidence and maturity.

“They’ve (his players) all stepped up in one way or another,” Brewer continued. “Brittany (Ulrich) has become more of a floor leader. She’s learning that not too many people can guard her on the perimeter. We’re all maturing. I can’t say enough about their heart. They play 100 percent for 32 minutes.”

IMG_7177Last night, that confidence was exemplified in Lebanon’s ability to put a good team like Hempfield away, after getting it down.

Thanks to a drive by Ulrich and a couple of charity tosses from Maddy Rakow at the end of the third period, the Cedars took a 33-27 margin into the fourth. There, Lebanon tallied the first seven points – courtesy of its spread offense, four points from Lauren Chambers, a steal and lay-in by Ulrich and another foul shot from Rakow – to open a 13-point bulge.

Lebanon’s patient spread offense was just as responsible for taking time off the clock as was its man-to-man defense. But the bottom line was that the Black Knights failed to score for the first 6:05 of the fourth quarter.

“Earlier in the game, it was perfect offense, dribble drive, but we missed lay-ups,” said Brewer. “But it set us up for later in the game. When we’re running our offense like that, that’s two minutes they (the Black Knights) can’t score.

“I thought we played pretty darn well,” continued Brewer. “That was a 32-minute win. The defense in the first half was awesome.”

IMG_7278The Cedars got the lead for good in the second quarter, 4:50 before halftime to be exact, on a three-pointer from Shaela Shellehamer that made it 17-14. Shellehamer’s trey was part of the Cedars’ 10-0 run that turned a 14-12 deficit into a 22-14 lead.

Junior Alicia Haitos contributed a conventional three-point play to the burst, after Rakow had hit a jumper and Chambers had scored on a drive.

“It’s up there,” said Brewer to the quality of the victory. “It’s a big win when we needed it. It’s a big week. If we get this week, it’ll go a long way towards our goals. We’re ninth in the (Class AAAA) district rankings. I want to be eighth and play a home playoff game in this gym.

“I think every win gives you confidence,” Brewer added. “It helps your confidence. We feel we can play with a lot of people. Hempfield is a great, scrappy basketball team. They play hard.”

The emerging Ulrich collected a team-high 13 points, while Haitos canned all five of her free throw attempts and contributed ten. Lebanon outscored Hempfield 12-5 at the foul stripe.

IMG_7191“It’s the aggressiveness and confidence,” said Brewer of the improved play of Rakow, who, along with Chambers, recorded nine points. “I say her fighting for offensive rebounds. That’s huge. Her jump shot, she’s shooting it well. She’s a multifaceted basketball player.”

Back-to-back treys from Ulrich and Chambers just after halftime helped Lebanon High assume a 29-21 lead. But the Black Knights rattled off the next six points to claw to within a possession of the lead.

“For the team, the section is important,” said Brewer. “We want to put something on a banner. We have tiers of goals. I preach, ‘If we win the section, we’ll have a good chance at the league championship. And if we win the league, it will give us a good standing in districts.'”

Up next for the Black Knights of Hempfield is a home date with Lebanon’s rival Cedar Crest, which was well represented in the stands on Monday.

“Yeah, I’m aware of it,” said Brewer of the help his side gave the Falcons. “But I’m taking care of our business. This gave us a two-game lead in our section.”

IMG_7202Lancaster-Lebanon League

  Section One

 

Manheim Twp. 12 – 0 – 0 18 – 0 – 0
Cedar Crest 10 – 2 – 0 13 – 4 – 0
Hempfield 9 – 3 – 0 11 – 7 – 0
McCaskey 7 – 5 – 0 10 – 8 – 0
Warwick 4 – 8 – 0 5 – 13 – 0
Penn Manor 2 – 10 – 0 2 – 16 – 0

Section Two

Lebanon 9 – 3 – 0 14 – 4 – 0
Cocalico 7 – 5 – 0 12 – 6 – 0
Conestoga Valley 6 – 6 – 0 10 – 8 – 0
Ephrata 5 – 7 – 0 8 – 10 – 0
Elizabethtown 1 – 11 – 0 3 – 15 – 0
Solanco 0 – 12 – 0 1 – 17 – 0

IMG_7264District Three

 Class AAA Power Rankings

 

RANK SCHOOL NAME POWER RANKING TWWP (55%) OWWP (45%)
1 Manheim Township (18-0) 0.827356 1.000000 (22.8-0) 0.616347 (231.5-144.1)
2 Dover Area (15-1) 0.816729 0.962366 (17.9-0.7) 0.638728 (221-125)
3 Cumberland Valley (15-2) 0.805249 0.933014 (19.5-1.4) 0.649091 (214.2-115.8)
4 Wilson (11-7) 0.782439 0.860927 (13-2.1) 0.686509 (177.6-81.1)
5 Cedar Crest (13-4) 0.760599 0.846154 (16.5-3) 0.656031 (252.9-132.6)
6 Red Lion Area (13-5) 0.742592 0.805000 (16.1-3.9) 0.666316 (253-126.7)
7 Central Dauphin (10-7) 0.741124 0.785276 (12.8-3.5) 0.687160 (214.6-97.7)

8 Mechanicsburg Area (15-2) 0.735425 0.909548 (18.1-1.8) 0.522607 (188.4-172.1)
9 Lebanon (13-4) 0.721522 0.837838 (15.5-3) 0.579359 (215-156.1)
10 Exeter Township (13-3) 0.713505 0.873494 (14.5-2.1) 0.517963 (183.1-170.4)
11 Dallastown Area (12-6) 0.711863 0.757895 (14.4-4.6) 0.655603 (246.9-129.7)
12 Hempfield (11-6) 0.699676 0.747126 (13-4.4) 0.641680 (233.7-130.5)
13 Cocalico (12-6) 0.697600 0.778947 (14.8-4.2) 0.598176 (223-149.8)
14 Central Dauphin East (9-7) 0.687598 0.723270 (11.5-4.4) 0.643998 (217.8-120.4)
15 New Oxford (10-7) 0.676268 0.677966 (12-5.7) 0.674193 (256.8-124.1)
16 Governor Mifflin (10-8) 0.675335 0.688172 (12.8-5.8) 0.659645 (238-122.8)
17 J P McCaskey (10-8) 0.666887 0.688172 (12.8-5.8) 0.640873 (246.8-138.3)
18 Harrisburg (11-7) 0.664391 0.719780 (13.1-5.1) 0.596693 (212.9-143.9)
IMG_721219 Spring Grove Area (11-7) 0.657362 0.703125 (13.5-5.7) 0.601429 (210.5-139.5)
20 Lampeter Strasburg (12-5) 0.650758 0.760234 (13-4.1) 0.516954 (173.8-162.4)
21 Muhlenberg (10-8) 0.646316 0.652174 (12-6.4) 0.639155 (233.1-131.6)
22 Conestoga Valley (10-8) 0.639270 0.685393 (12.2-5.6) 0.582898 (212-151.7)
23 Hershey (11-7) 0.629894 0.693548 (12.9-5.7) 0.552095 (200.3-162.5)
24 Garden Spot (11-6) 0.622858 0.696970 (11.5-5) 0.532277 (181.4-159.4)
25 Ephrata Area (8-10) 0.615233 0.586207 (10.2-7.2) 0.650709 (243.3-130.6)
26 Lower Dauphin (9-9) 0.596905 0.570588 (9.7-7.3) 0.629071 (237.6-140.1)
27 Central York (7-10) 0.559872 0.515152 (8.5-8) 0.614530 (226.7-142.2)
28 Red Land (7-10) 0.541129 0.483871 (7.5-8) 0.611111 (221.1-140.7)
29 Warwick (5-13) 0.524509 0.398734 (6.3-9.5) 0.678234 (265.8-126.1)
30 Manheim Central (8-10) 0.522188 0.487179 (7.6-8) 0.564976 (203.9-157)
31 York Country Day (10-4) 0.490891 0.677419 (8.4-4) 0.262913 (62.1-174.1)
32 Chambersburg Area (4-12) 0.479435 0.351351 (5.2-9.6) 0.635982 (227.3-130.1)
33 Reading (3-13) 0.454441 0.286765 (3.9-9.7) 0.659379 (229.2-118.4)
34 Daniel Boone (4-14) 0.438414 0.293333 (4.4-10.6) 0.615734 (216.8-135.3)
35 Elizabethtown Area (3-14) 0.417883 0.244444 (3.3-10.2) 0.629863 (239.6-140.8)
IMG_719636 Penn Manor (2-16) 0.410343 0.180556 (2.6-11.8) 0.691195 (272.4-121.7)
37 South Western (2-14) 0.402498 0.147059 (2-11.6) 0.714701 (270.3-107.9)
38 Cedar Cliff (2-13) 0.375560 0.170543 (2.2-10.7) 0.626137 (227.1-135.6)
39 William Penn (3-12) 0.344882 0.213793 (3.1-11.4) 0.505102 (178.2-174.6)
40 Solanco (1-17) 0.330818 0.068182 (0.9-12.3) 0.651819 (247.3-132.1)
41 Waynesboro Area (2-14) 0.319134 0.140845 (2-12.2) 0.537042 (203.7-175.6)
42 Carlisle (0-17) 0.306306 0.000000 (0-12.7) 0.680679 (252.6-118.5)

 

 

 

 

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