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IMG_6858BY JEFF FALK

LANDISVILLE – Like the sun at daybreak, the playoffs are beginning to take focus on the horizon. And it would appear that the Lebanon boys’ basketball team is ready for the dawn.

On Friday night, in a battle of two first-place teams, amid a playoff atmosphere complete with physical play, high emotions and higher drama, the Cedars played their best game of the regular season. Lebanon rode a huge game from Jorian Ginnetto, turned in an outstanding team defensive performance and knocked down some clutch free throw for a 53-50, overtime win at Hempfield.

After the Cedars had relinquished a nine-point lead over the final four minutes of regulation, they outscored the Black Knights 16-13 in the four-minute extra session. With six different players contributing, Lebanon scored each and every one of its 16 overtime points at the foul line, on just 18 attempts.

Included in that were a pair from Luke Eisenhour with five seconds to go that gave the Cedars a 53-47 lead. Ginnetto, Jeremy De La Cruz and Mark Pyles had connected on five free throws in a 42-second span earlier in the overtime that snapped a 40-all tie and gave Lebanon the lead for good.

IMG_7003The triumph was significant for Lebanon on a couple of levels. With the outcome, the Cedars, now 13-4 overall and 9-3 in the league, inched a little closer to a Lancaster-Lebanon Section Two championship.

The loss was Hempfield’s first in the league this season. The Black Knights are now 13-4 on the year and 11-1 in Section One of the L-L.

“Absolutely it felt like a playoff game,” said Lebanon head coach Tim Speraw. “Every game against Hempfield feels like a playoff. Every game with them always comes down to the last shot or the last possession. It’s a war every time we play them.

“Right now, it’s the biggest win we had this season,” Speraw added. “We talked about playing down to our competition. I wouldn’t say we played great, but we played as hard as we can the whole time. I’m so proud of my kids. It’s a huge win. They (the Black Knights) were 10-0 and we were the first team to beat them in the league.”

“That was the craziest game I’ve played in my entire life,” said Ginnetto. “That was the most fun game I’ve played in my entire life. And that was the scariest game I’ve played in my entire life.”

IMG_6928Lebanon appeared to have things well in hand with 4:45 left in regulation, when Ginnetto converted a charity toss to give his side a 35-26 advantage. But it was around that time that the Cedars went four corners with their offense, and the result was only two points over the remainder of the fourth quarter.

Still, the Cedars would’ve emerged victorious from regulation hadn’t a loose ball bounced off the head of one their defenders and right to Hempfield’s Brandon Criswell, who scored the lay-up with 16 seconds remaining that sent the game to overtime. Then, Lebanon ran out of time on its final possession of the fourth quarter, and its last ditch attempt at the buzzer failed to draw iron.

IMG_6968“We had a stretch when we weren’t knocking them down,” said Speraw of his club’s free throwing. “With Matty (Lopez) going down (with an injury), Luke (Eisenhour) stepped up. He hit six big free throws at the end. Kristian (Sanchez) hit two big free throws. And Blayde (Reich) hit two big free throws. It was just kids stepping up, and it was everybody.

“We’re a decent ball handling team,” added Speraw. “I wouldn’t say we’re great. We’re sufficient. We were trying to take some time off the clock, and then draw them (the Black Knights) out. And we got in some bad situations.”

“I agree,” said Ginnetto of Speraw’s assessment of the contest being the best the Cedars have played this season. “Everyone stepped up at different times. Scoring. Rebounds. Especially free throws. I just have a lot of pride for these guys.”

On a three-pointer from Ginnetto and a stick back by Reich, Lebanon High tallied the first five points of the second half to turn a four-point deficit into a 20-19 edge. Another Ginnetto trey, midway through the period, put his club on top 24-23.

IMG_6880“Jorian’s our emotional leader,” said Speraw. “He’s really stepped into a leadership role. He holds other kids accountable. Mark (Pyles) is the hard work, example leader. They’re our captains and our glue.”

“When we need energy or a spark, I need to get on their butts,” said Ginnetto of his teammates. “When everything is getting crazy, I need to calm them down.”

Ginetto poured in a total of 31 points, on eight field goals and 11-of-16 shooting at the free throw line. As a team, the Cedars went 25-for-35 at the foul stripe and outscored Hempfield by seven points there.

Hempfield’s Dylan Bleacher canned 35 of his team’s 50 total points.

“Bleacher hit his shots, which obviously didn’t work in our favor,” said Speraw. “Jeremy (De La Cruz) is one of the best on-ball defenders in the league, if not the best. But Bleacher can score in so many different ways. He was hitting ‘threes’ from five feet beyond the line. That’s tough to defend. So scoring over 30 points is something special.”

IMG_6854The Cedars scored the first two buckets of the game on inside moves from Reich, and took a 10-5 lead to the second quarter thanks to a little fall-away by Reich. But the Black Knights outscored Lebanon 14-5 in the second quarter and took a 19-15 margin to intermission.

“Honestly, we needed this because we haven’t beaten a team ahead of us in districts,” said Ginnetto. “The McCaskey game really hurt, so we had to beat Hempfield. This helps us in league play and districts.”

Ironically, the Hempfield loss helped Lebanon rival Cedar Crest’s chances for a Section One title and a berth into the league playoffs. Back in December, Cedar Crest scored a 67-48 win at Lebanon.

IMG_6931“When we’re on the court against Cedar Crest, we hate their guts,” said Speraw. “But when we’re not, we root for them. I know they needed us to win and I’m glad they were here supporting us. I don’t want to say we were trying to help them, but I’m glad we did. I would say that (Cedar Crest) Coach (Tom) Smith probably owes me a dinner.”

“I”m friends with a few of their players,” said Ginnetto of the Falcons. “I know they (the Falcons) really wanted us to beat them (the Black Knights. It’s good to see them supporting us, even if they’re our cross-town rivals.”

 


Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section One

Hempfield 11 – 1 – 0 13 – 4 – 0
Cedar Crest 10 – 2 – 0 15 – 3 – 0
McCaskey 10 – 2 – 0 11 – 6 – 0
Manheim Twp. 8 – 4 – 0 9 – 8 – 0
Penn Manor 5 – 7 – 0 7 – 11 – 0
Warwick 5 – 7 – 0 6 – 11 – 0

Section Two

Lebanon 9 – 3 – 0 13 – 4 – 0
Ephrata 6 – 6 – 0 8 – 9 – 0
Cocalico 5 – 7 – 0 7 – 9 – 0
Solanco 2 – 10 – 0 5 – 11 – 0
Conestoga Valley 1 – 11 – 0 1 – 16 – 0
Elizabethtown 0 – 12 – 0 1 – 16 – 0

IMG_6886District Three

 Class AAAA Power Rankings

 RANK SCHOOL NAME POWER RATING

1 Wilson (16-1) 0.830177 0.966507 (20.2-0.7) 0.663551 (234.3-118.8)
2 Central York (14-2) 0.814046 0.915789 (17.4-1.6) 0.689692 (257.6-115.9)
3 Cedar Crest (15-3) 0.788013 0.901869 (19.3-2.1) 0.648855 (229.5-124.2)
4 Hempfield (13-3) 0.770876 0.888298 (16.7-2.1) 0.627361 (219.2-130.2)
5 Cumberland Valley (13-3) 0.769679 0.887097 (16.5-2.1) 0.626168 (207.7-124)
6 Harrisburg (13-3) 0.767906 0.878613 (15.2-2.1) 0.632599 (189.4-110)
7 Red Lion Area (16-2) 0.762031 0.923810 (19.4-1.6) 0.564302 (195.7-151.1)
8 Reading (11-6) 0.734661 0.801136 (14.1-3.5) 0.653414 (215.3-114.2)
9 Mechanicsburg Area (11-5) 0.719524 0.777108 (12.9-3.7) 0.649143 (223.5-120.8)
10 Waynesboro Area (14-3) 0.712537 0.852071 (14.4-2.5) 0.541995 (165.2-139.6)
11 Lebanon (12-4) 0.711106 0.844444 (15.2-2.8) 0.548137 (183.9-151.6)
IMG_688212 J P McCaskey (10-6) 0.710119 0.752941 (12.8-4.2) 0.657780 (227-118.1)
13 Exeter Township (10-5) 0.706300 0.779874 (12.4-3.5) 0.616377 (219.8-136.8)
14 Carlisle (9-6) 0.700665 0.735849 (11.7-4.2) 0.657663 (216.7-112.8)
15 William Penn (10-5) 0.699632 0.761290 (11.8-3.7) 0.624273 (225.3-135.6)
16 Lower Dauphin (11-6) 0.695166 0.715847 (13.1-5.2) 0.669889 (235.6-116.1)
17 Hershey (11-6) 0.694911 0.734104 (12.7-4.6) 0.647008 (222.7-121.5)
18 Lampeter Strasburg (12-4) 0.681488 0.775281 (13.8-4) 0.566851 (194.6-148.7)
19 Central Dauphin East (9-7) 0.674631 0.701220 (11.5-4.9) 0.642133 (215.5-120.1)
20 Central Dauphin (10-8) 0.667584 0.664740 (11.5-5.8) 0.671061 (218.9-107.3)
21 Daniel Boone (9-8) 0.653297 0.640719 (10.7-6) 0.668671 (233.5-115.7)
22 Manheim Township (8-8) 0.650790 0.675497 (10.2-4.9) 0.620594 (200.7-122.7)
23 Dallastown Area (9-7) 0.647950 0.656250 (10.5-5.5) 0.637806 (229.1-130.1)
24 Shippensburg Area (11-6) 0.643365 0.722543 (12.5-4.8) 0.546591 (183.6-152.3)
25 Cedar Cliff (9-8) 0.615976 0.606936 (10.5-6.8) 0.627025 (216.7-128.9)
26 Cocalico (7-8) 0.607690 0.613793 (8.9-5.6) 0.600231 (207.8-138.4)
27 Warwick (6-10) 0.576811 0.506667 (7.6-7.4) 0.662543 (230.3-117.3)
28 Ephrata Area (7-9) 0.567986 0.572368 (8.7-6.5) 0.562629 (190.9-148.4)
29 Penn Manor (6-11) 0.564622 0.484076 (7.6-8.1) 0.663068 (239.5-121.7)
30 Spring Grove Area (6-10) 0.555900 0.474359 (7.4-8.2) 0.655562 (238.1-125.1)
IMG_684531 Governor Mifflin (6-12) 0.549565 0.425000 (6.8-9.2) 0.701812 (255.6-108.6)
32 Red Land (4-11) 0.508570 0.356589 (4.6-8.3) 0.694324 (241-106.1)
33 Solanco (5-10) 0.502421 0.473684 (6.3-7) 0.537545 (180.4-155.2)
34 South Western (4-12) 0.489129 0.328767 (4.8-9.8) 0.685126 (236.3-108.6)
35 Muhlenberg (4-13) 0.471289 0.317241 (4.6-9.9) 0.659569 (235.4-121.5)
36 Northern York (5-13) 0.435301 0.319277 (5.3-11.3) 0.577108 (191.6-140.4)
37 New Oxford (3-12) 0.434208 0.271318 (3.5-9.4) 0.633295 (221.4-128.2)
38 Garden Spot (4-11) 0.428059 0.287770 (4-9.9) 0.599523 (200.9-134.2)
39 York County School Of Technology (6-11) 0.359407 0.272109 (4-10.7) 0.466105 (132.7-152)
40 Chambersburg Area (1-14) 0.357890 0.103774 (1.1-9.5) 0.668477 (209.3-103.8)
41 Elizabethtown Area (1-15) 0.341141 0.090164 (1.1-11.1) 0.647891 (228.9-124.4)
42 Conestoga Valley (1-16) 0.334845 0.096296 (1.3-12.2) 0.626405 (217.3-129.6)

 

 

 

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