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BY JEFF FALK

HARRISBURG – They haven’t necessarily played their best.

They have, at times, experienced difficulties with physical match-ups.

They’ve endured difficulties scoring the basketball.

But if there has been one common theme to all of the Elco boys’ basketball team’s losses this season, it’s that they’ve come to some really good teams. Even though the Raiders operate in a bottom-line business, they don’t want to define their campaign that way.

On Monday night at Bishop McDevitt High School, in the semifinals of the District Three Class AAAA postseason, Elco again lost to a very good team, 53-49 to the hometown Crusaders. After scratching and clawing to tie the game at 37 midway through the fourth quarter, the Raiders were outscored 16-12 in crunch time.

Despite a monumental effort, third-seeded Elco couldn’t find a way and slipped to 19-6 overall. All six of the Raiders’ losses this season have come at the hands of teams that qualified for the postseason.

On Wednesday, Elco, which was making its first District Three semifinal appearance in program history, will host fourth-seeded Susquehanna Township in the third-place game of the tournament. The Raiders had already qualified for the upcoming PIAA Class AAAA playoffs.

Bishop McDevitt, the second seed, moved to 22-4 and into Thursday’s District Three Class AAAA championship game at Hershey’s Giant Center, opposite top-seeded Lancaster Catholic.

“You want that validation. You want that title,” said Elco head coach Brad Conners. “You’ve got to keep dreaming big. You can’t let anyone tell you you can’t. The goal now is to go win a state title.

“I hope we learned from those losses,” continued Conners. “I hope we keep getting better. Our year isn’t over. If they (his players) want to go on and win a couple of games in states, they’ve got to keep getting better.”

The Raiders had a shot at the top of the stretch.

An 11-4 run to start the final period – built on five points by Evan Huey and three-pointers from Asher Kemble and Braden Bohannon – knotted the score at 37. But Bishop McDevitt netted the next ten points – which included a technical foul – over the next two minutes to establish a 47-37 bulge, with 2:58 to go.

Twice, the Raiders pulled to within five points of the Crusaders, at 47-42 on a charity toss by Bohannon, with 1:22 remaining, and at 49-44 on Bryce Coletti drive, 13 seconds later. Bohannon also drained a three-pointer with 15 seconds left, to draw Elco to within four points of Bishop McDevitt.

But the Crusaders tallied their final eight points from the foul stripe.

“They (the Crusaders) hit two threes after that,” said Conners, of the pivotal stretch. “Our kids fought hard. In the third quarter, we switched things up. We put pressure back on McDevitt. It just wasn’t meant to be. These kids deserve to play at Giant Center.

“I thought we did play well,” Conners continued. “But for as well as we played, we still left some meat on the bone. We’ll be kicking ourselves over the next couple of days. It was there. We really believed we were going to win this game.”

On lay-ups from Ben Horst and Coletti, Elco had notched the first two buckets of the second half to draw within 25-20 of the Crusaders. Later in the third stanza, a drive by Huey and a Coletti foul shot made it a 31-26 ball game.

“We believed we were going to win the district championship, 100 percent,” said Conners. “Everyone bought into it. You could see it in how we played in the third and fourth quarters. I thought we hit a lot of our marks.

“In there (the locker room), you’ve got a lot of disappointed guys,” added Conners. “But the dream isn’t over. I told them, ‘If you want to win a state championship, you can, but you’ve got to go get it.” They still have an opportunity to play a few games together.”

Bohannon popped for a team-high 16 points, while Coletti recorded 13. Elco converted 15 of its 21 free throw attempts.

Elco out rebounded Bishop McDevitt 25-23.

“They’re good,” said Conners of the Crusaders. “They’re senior-laded. They’ve been in a lot of wars. But we’re right there with those guys. Looking ahead, we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

The pace was frantic early, and Bishop McDevitt led 12-5. But the Raiders tallied the final bucket of the opening quarter, on a Coletti pull-up, and the first basket of the second period, on a Bohannon three-pointer, to move to within 12-10 of the lead.

“We talked about how they (the Crusaders) were going to come out and it’s going to be really physical and really intense,” said Conners. “But I thought we started to settle in, especially in the second quarter. It felt like it started to fall our way.”

A second-period free throw from Bohannon had Elco within 16-13 of the Crusaders. But Bishop McDevitt outscored Elco 9-3 over the final 4:14 of the first half to take a 25-16 cushion to the locker room.

“It was there,” said Conners. “We talked about how we wanted to play. We talked about sagging and clogging up the lane.”

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

2019-20 Elco Boys’ Basketball Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
12/06
7:30 pm
Elco
Lebanon
at Lebanon
57
53

Nonleague
12/07
7:30 pm
Elco
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
55
59

Nonleague
12/10
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
49
70

Nonleague
12/13
7:30 pm
Cocalico
at Elco
41
60

League
12/16
7:30 pm
Elco
at Manheim Central
73
71

League
12/18
7:30 pm
Solanco
at Elco
47
62

League
12/20
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lampeter-Strasburg
50
54

League
12/28
7:30 pm
Elco
Spring Grove
at Eastern York
76
52

Nonleague
12/30
7:30 pm
Elco
Eastern York
at Eastern York
75
51

Nonleague
1/03
7:30 pm
Octorara
at Elco
42
49

League
1/04
1:30 pm
Oley Valley
at Elco
48
62

Nonleague
1/08
7:30 pm
Camp Hill
at Elco
60
72

Nonleague
1/09
7:30 pm
Elco
at Donegal
87
55

League
1/10
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
34
81

League
1/15
7:30 pm
Wyomissing
at Elco
44
49

Nonleague
1/17
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Elco
69
55

League
1/21
7:30 pm
Elco
at Octorara
59
48

League
1/24
7:30 pm
Donegal
at Elco
34
58

League
1/28
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
73
39

League
1/29
7:30 pm
Conrad Weiser
at Elco
58
81

Nonleague
1/31
7:30 pm
Garden Spot
at Elco
44
72

League
2/04
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
50
65

League
2/07
5:30 pm
Elco
Elizabethtown
at Warwick
49
50

Playoff
2/20
7:00 pm
Eastern York
at Elco
54
59

Playoff
2/24
7:00 pm
Elco
at Bishop McDevitt

Playoff

PIAA District Three

Class AAAA Power Rankings

AAAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1***Lancaster Catholic19-2-0 0.762191 0.923596 0.564920 20.6 259.8 1.7 200.1
2***Bishop McDevitt17-2-0 0.751060 0.916870 0.548403 18.8 224.1 1.7 184.5
3***Eastern Lebanon County18-4-0 0.711677 0.848485 0.544467 19.6 260.5 3.5 218.0
4***Susquehanna Township14-7-0 0.661975 0.714607 0.597646 15.9 269.2 6.4 181.2
5***Littlestown18-4-0 0.643487 0.823256 0.423771 17.7 197.4 3.8 268.4
6***Eastern York14-8-0 0.628721 0.686364 0.558268 15.1 263.0 6.9 208.1
7***Wyomissing16-6-0 0.621187 0.765766 0.444480 17.0 209.4 5.2 261.7
8***Susquehannock12-10-0 0.601390 0.595349 0.608773 12.8 289.4 8.7 186.0
9***Octorara Area14-8-0 0.601272 0.681223 0.503555 15.6 233.8 7.3 230.5
10***Berks Catholic School12-8-0 0.587544 0.612745 0.556743 12.5 239.7 7.9 190.8
11James Buchanan11-11-0 0.529826 0.549065 0.506311 11.8 228.7 9.7 223.0
12East Pennsboro Area9-13-0 0.497445 0.432127 0.577279 9.6 268.6 12.6 196.7
13Schuylkill Valley10-11-0 0.493401 0.479616 0.510250 10.0 226.5 10.9 217.4
14Boiling Springs8-13-0 0.486786 0.428212 0.558378 8.5 250.6 11.4 198.2
15Middletown Area7-14-0 0.480847 0.354217 0.635617 7.4 286.3 13.4 164.1
16Northern Lebanon7-15-0 0.440695 0.350917 0.550423 7.7 260.4 14.2 212.7
17Kennard Dale6-16-0 0.429874 0.301887 0.586302 6.4 276.5 14.8 195.1
18Fleetwood7-14-0 0.392123 0.368675 0.420781 7.7 187.5 13.1 258.1
19Bermudian Springs7-14-0 0.387194 0.333333 0.453023 6.9 201.6 13.7 243.4
20Hamburg Area6-16-0 0.382099 0.283784 0.502262 6.3 233.1 15.9 231.0
21West Perry6-16-0 0.379199 0.278539 0.502227 6.1 231.2 15.8 229.1

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