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IMG_0900BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – It’s not always about rainbows and unicorns and sugar-plum fairies. Lebanon isn’t that kind of boys’ basketball.

The Cedars are more about character and substance than they are glitz and glitter. Guess which approach is better suited for the playoffs.

On Monday night at Lebanon High School, the Cedars’ grit, heart and experience served them well in a 52-50 home triumph over Ephrata, in the opening round of the Lancaster-Lebanon League postseason. After trailing by double digits in the middle of the third quarter, Lebanon gained the lead late in the same period, then made enough plays down the stretch to come away with advancement.

Senior guard Camryn Shaak’s three-pointer with 1:25 to go gave Lebanon the lead for good, and teammate Sabu Pereya’s free throw a minute later provided a wee bit of insurance. But the deciding factor down the stretch may have been the Cedars’ frantic, in-your-face man-to-man defense, which shut out the Mounts over the critical, final 1:43 – including harassing Ephrata into an air ball on its last possession.

IMG_0955The victory sent the Section One champion Cedars to 19-4 overall and into Wednesday’s L-L League semifinal against Section Three champ Lancaster Mennonite, which took care of Manheim Township 77-70 in another quarterfinal. That tilt is slated for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Cedar Crest.

Lebanon has now won 18 of its last 20 outings.

Ephrata, the third-place finisher out of Section Two and an old Cedar foe, fell to 16-8 on the season.

“We definitely didn’t have them all the way,” said Lebanon head coach Tim Speraw. “We didn’t play well by any stretch of the imagination. But we did what we needed to do.

“I don’t know if I learned anything,” continued Speraw. “I know I have tough kids. It was ‘how bad do you want it’. I think it was a basket here, a basket there that built our confidence.”

IMG_0918“Last year I was out with an injury, so I didn’t get to experience the L-Ls,” said Shaak. “I didn’t want to go one-and-done. I didn’t want to go out like that. I’m a competitor. I want to go out with a bang.”

Facing a 41-38 hole, the Cedars got a base-line move from Shaak and a hard ‘take’ to the cup by Luis Aquino-Rios to assume a 42-41 lead, with 5:03 to go. A Shaak free throw with 2:04 remaining gave the Cedars a 48-47 edge, 50 seconds after Shaq Ortiz’s three-pointer had tied the game.

“I thought the difference was getting some hands on balls from our pressure, and knocking down free throws at the end,” said Speraw. “Just having good offensive possessions and making good decisions.

“There’s only so much gas in the tank,” added Speraw. “As the game gets more intense, it gets easier to turn it on. We started making lay-ups, and we could get into our press a little more.”

IMG_0941“We did make some plays down the stretch,” said Shaak. “But I thought our defense got us back in the game. I felt that was the turning point.”

Down 31-21, five minutes into the second half, Lebanon High was in desperate need of someone to step up. Enter Shaak.

He notched 11 straight Cedar points – on a trio of three-pointers and a lay-in – and Lebanon pulled to within 33-32 of the Mounts. A minute later, Pereya turned a steal into a lay-up and a 36-35 Lebanon lead, its first since 6-4.

IMG_0880“I told our guys at halftime, ‘We’ve got to dig deep,'” said Speraw. “I didn’t feel like we played with a whole lot of heart in the first half. It had to change. It did, and it snow-balled for us.

“It (the Cedars’ third-period run) was huge,” added Speraw. “We needed a lift. We needed to get some good passing. We started to get better shots. It was a matter of realizing we couldn’t get it all back at once. It had to be two or three points at a time.”

“I remembered that we needed a little momentum,” said Shaak. “I knocked down some threes. We got some turnovers and got some baskets inside. We definitely turned the game around.”

With a total of four three-pointers, a couple of deuces and four-for-six foul shooting, Shaak poured in a game-high 20 points. The Cedars outscored the Mounts 17-3 at the free throw line.

“He played really well,” said Speraw of Shaak. “He got his hands on a lot of balls defensively. He hit some threes, handled the ball and did a little bit of everything offensively. He’s a competitor. When things are going well offensively, it opens up things for everyone.

“Luis (Aquino-Rios) can play better,” Speraw added. “He knows that. The one thing I know about him is that he’ll bounce back.”

“We definitely did not play our best game,” said Shaak. “We came out flat. Speraw came in at halftime and he let us have it. He definitely woke us up.”

IMG_0963With Aquino-Rios on the bench with two early fouls, Ephrata tallied the first two baskets of the second quarter to build an 18-7 lead. The Mounts enjoyed a 24-15 margin at the break.

“Everybody’s out for the same prize, so it’s going to be intense,” said Speraw. “It’s going to be a battle. You’ve got to come to play. Tonight there were a lot of things we needed to do better.

“I don’t think we were there mentally,” continued Speraw. “We missed a bunch of lay-ups and didn’t hit a lot of ‘threes’. You have to expect it’s going to change throughout the game.”

IMG_0869While the Mounts were shooting the ball well, Lebanon was missing from point-blank range. A pair of Dante Vargas free throws gave the Cedars that 6-4 lead, but Ephrata closed the opening stanza on a 10-1 run, and with a 14-7 advantage.

“They played extremely hard,” said Speraw of the Mounts. “I can’t think of a team across the board who plays harder than they do. Their kids run a good system. They played a heck of a game. To come into our place and have us down double-digits in the second half, much respect to them.”

“It was fun playing against them (the Mounts),” said Shaak. “They played great. They’re fundamentally sound and well-coached. They gave it to us. They scared us.”

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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2016-17 Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Results

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/09 #
Red Lion
7:30 PM W 52-39
12/10 #
Cedar Crest
7:30 PM L 42-58
12/14
Governor Mifflin
7:30 PM L 50-54
12/16 *
Manheim Twp.
7:30 PM W 64-52
12/19 *
@McCaskey
7:30 PM W 68-58
12/21 *
Warwick
7:30 PM W 79-56
12/29
Cedar Cliff
6:00 PM W 67-50
12/30
Camp Hill
6:00 PM W 68-44
01/03 *
@Penn Manor
7:30 PM
01/06 *
@Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM
01/07
@Palmyra
5:30 PM L 73-75
01/10 *
Hempfield
7:30 PM
01/13 *
@Cedar Crest
7:30 PM W 60-41
01/17 *
@Manheim Twp.
7:30 PM
01/20 *
McCaskey
7:30 PM
01/23
@Ephrata
7:30 PM
01/24 *
@Warwick
7:30 PM W 69-44
01/27 *
Penn Manor
7:30 PM
01/31 *
Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM
02/03 *
@Hempfield
7:30 PM L 47-50
02/04
Hershey
2:30 PM W 55-54
02/07 *
Cedar Crest
7:30 PM W 53-48

 

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PIAA District Three 

 Class AAAAAA Power Rankings

 

 

AAAAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP
1 Reading 18- 2- 0  0.790497  0.921053  0.630930
2 Governor Mifflin 18- 4- 0  0.767302  0.877551  0.632554
3 Lebanon 18- 4- 0  0.746144  0.876494  0.586828
4 Harrisburg 16- 5- 0  0.733279  0.836518  0.607098
5 Carlisle 14- 7- 0  0.719543  0.766147  0.662582
6 Central Dauphin East 14- 8- 0  0.692168  0.736842  0.637566
7 HEMPFIELD 15- 7- 0  0.689586  0.776151  0.583784
8 Cedar Crest 15- 7- 0  0.686966  0.771368  0.583810
9 Central York 15- 7- 0  0.682047  0.752119  0.596405
10 Manheim Township 14- 8- 0  0.677018  0.737069  0.603623
11 Chambersburg Area 13- 8- 0  0.668032  0.722864  0.601015
12 Dallastown Area 14- 8- 0  0.655782  0.714894  0.583534
13 Wilson (3) 12- 9- 0  0.645385  0.665083  0.621309
14 Central Dauphin 8- 13- 0  0.566369  0.491228  0.658207
15 Warwick 8- 14- 0  0.541869  0.466019  0.634573
16 J P McCaskey 6- 14- 0  0.539183  0.414365  0.691739
17 Cumberland Valley 7- 14- 0  0.539133  0.443570  0.655933
18 Conestoga Valley 5- 17- 0  0.452162  0.297927  0.640672
19 Cedar Cliff 5- 17- 0  0.451948  0.283163  0.658241
20 Penn Manor 5- 17- 0  0.446531  0.300532  0.624974
21 Red Lion Area 4- 18- 0  0.417238  0.238342  0.635890
22 York County School Of Technology 4- 17- 0  0.335463  0.185464  0.518795

 

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Past Lancaster-Lebanon League

Boys’ Basketball Champions

1973: McCaskey

1974: Cocalico

1975: Ephrata

1976: Cedar Crest

1977: Cocalico

1978: Lebanon

1979: Lebanon

1980: McCaskey

IMG_09291981: Warwick

1982: McCaskey

1983: McCaskey

1984: Hempfield

1985: Lebanon

1986: Lebanon

1987: Warwick

1988: Warwick

1989: Columbia

1990: Columbia

1991: Conestoga Valley

IMG_08841992: Hempfield

1993: McCaskey

1994: Solanco

1995: Hempfield

1996: Lebanon

1997: Lebanon

1998: Lebanon

1999: Hempfield

2000: Hempfield

2001: McCaskey

2002: McCaskey

2003: Lancaster Catholic

IMG_09732004: Lebanon

2005: McCaskey

2006: McCaskey

2007: McCaskey

2008: McCaskey

2009: Conestoga Valley

2010: Hempfield

2011: Hempfield

2012: McCaskey

IMG_09812013: McCaskey

2014: Cedar Crest

2015: Cedar Crest

2016: McCaskey

 

 

 

 

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