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IMG_1688BY JEFF FALK

MYERSTOWN – There are no longer moral victories for the Elco boys. But neither are there signature wins for the Raiders

No Lebanon County basketball squad has improved more this winter than the Raiders. But there are still things to clean up, still things to improve upon, still ways to grow.

On Friday night at Elco High School, the Raiders fell short in their quest for that result that will get them over the hump, as they dropped a 47-41 Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three decision to the visiting Blazers of Lancaster Mennonite. After standing toe-to-toe with the Blazers and competing with them for 30 minutes, Elco was not the better team in crunch time.

With seven regular-season games remaining, Elco is on the cusp of both the Lancaster-Lebanon League and District Three playoffs. The Raiders, who were positioned tenth in the latest D-Three Class AAAA power rankings, fell to 7-8 overall and 4-5 in Section Three of the L-L.

Elco is now 0-5 against the three teams above it in the Section Three standings. Lancaster Mennonite, which defeated Elco 65-49 in Lancaster back on December 18th, upped its seasonal mark to 10-5 and its circuit record to 6-2.

IMG_1804‘We love our kids,” said Elco head coach Brad Conners. “They’re fun to be around. They like basketball. The like talking basketball. They want to learn basketball. But they like other things too. It’s fun to see our personalities emerging. The playoffs are something we want for these kids. We want to get these kids that opportunity and experience.

“We fought through adversity,” added Conners. “That’s the takeaway from tonight. We kept fighting, We took the lead. Those things are encouraging. That’s something to build on. The bright lights of the big stage, you can’t replicate that in practice.”

The Raiders led for lengthy stretches of the second half, but never by much. Ultimately, it was Lancaster Mennonite’s 8-1 closing burst that did them in.

The Raiders’ last lead of 40-39 came with 1:38 to go, on an Asher Kemble lay-in. Back-to-back three-pointers from Blake Weary and Bryce Coletti had given Elco a 38-33 advantage earlier in the fourth quarter.

IMG_1758“I thought our zone was good, but they hit a couple of shots,” said Conners of the Blazers. “We had two really costly turnovers down the stretch. They were pretty critical at that point. I thought the pressure was the same during the entire fourth quarter.

“We’ve got to bounce back tomorrow (Saturday afternoon, at home against Conrad Weiser),” Conners continued. “Somehow, some way, we’ve got to get out of this week with one win. Give them (the Blazers) credit for coming into our gym and playing well.  But I saw the desperation out of our guys that I wanted to see.”

With Blake Weary canning a three-pointer and Coletti laying in a deuce, the Raiders netted the first five points of the second half to assume a 26-23 edge. Elco concluded the third stanza with a Braden Bohannon drive and a 32-30 margin.

“The zone looked good,” said Conners. “Asher Kemble did a really good job of playing the point of it, and the kids in the back did a good job of hanging tough. We got back into it with our zone ‘D’. ”

With leading scorer Jeff Lorah grappling with foul difficulties, Kemble, a long sophomore, showed the way for the Raiders with 12 points. Lancaster Mennonite attempted twice as many free throws as Elco.

“When he’s aggressive like that, it helps us as a team,” said Conners of Kemble. “It helps our guards. It helps everyone. The last three or four games, he’s been doing more of it. It was nice to see Asher step up and play big. He made a couple of baskets for us. It’s good to see him progressing.”

The Blazers recorded eight of the game’s first 13 points. But Kimble scored from in close and Lorah converted an old-fashioned three-point play to give Elco a 10-8 edge, after eight minutes of play.

IMG_1691“We’ve yet to beat one,” said Conners of the teams ahead of his in the Section Three standings. “We really thought being at home tonight would help. We shoot the ball really well at home. We’re right with them, especially when we’re at home. It’s just costly turnovers, and we’re one or two plays away.

“We had an opportunity at Northern Lebanon as well,” added Conners. “It’s coming. It’s going to happen. I can’t wait till it does.”

Lancaster Mennonite opened a 20-12 bulge – it’s largest of the contest – in the middle of the second quarter. The Raiders answered with a 9-3 run, one that featured a three-pointer by Weary, foul shots from Kemble and Lorah and a buzzer-beating, up-and-under move by Coletti, to move to within 23-21 at the intermission.

“We’re not out of the league playoffs, and districts is definitely something we want,” said Conners. “We’ve got a quick turn-around (against Conrad Weiser). We’ve got to get that win and take care of business at home. We’ll see how it falls. Leagues aren’t completely out of the question.

“Somewhere around .500 will get us into districts,” continued Conners. “Over our first 11 games we went 6-5. If we can do the same with the second 11, I think that gets us in.”

 

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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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2017-18 Elco Boys’ Basketball Results

Date Teams Results
12/08
7:45 pm
Cedar Crest
Elco
at Lebanon
68
44
12/09
6:00 pm
Red Lion
at Elco
52
43
12/12
7:30 pm
Manheim Central
at Elco
48
53
12/15
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Elco
60
55
12/18
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Mennonite
49
65
12/20
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Elco
44
86
12/27
2:00 pm
Palmyra
Elco
at Ephrata
52
57
12/28
6:00 pm
Elco
at Ephrata
36
57
1/02
7:30 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
75
68
1/06
2:30 pm
Pequea Valley
at Elco
38
83
1/09
7:30 pm
Columbia
at Elco
48
84
1/12
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
44
45
1/13
2:30 pm
Solanco
at Elco
57
60
1/18
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
40
63
1/19
7:30 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Elco
1/20
12:00 pm
Conrad Weiser
at Elco
1/23
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lebanon Catholic
1/24
7:30 pm
Elco
at Middletown
1/26
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
1/30
7:30 pm
Elco
at Pequea Valley
2/02
7:30 pm
Elco
at Columbia
2/06
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
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 PIAA District Three
 Class AAAA Power Rankings
AAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP  TWPW  OWPW  TWPL  OWPL
1 Lancaster Catholic 13- 2- 0  0.717763  0.876221  0.524092  13.5  150.1  1.9  136.3
2 Berks Catholic 10- 2- 0  0.671980  0.840000  0.466622  10.5  104.9  2.0  119.9
3 Boiling Springs 8- 4- 0  0.654069  0.709677  0.586104  8.8  156.9  3.6  110.8
4 Middletown 7- 4- 0  0.635022  0.665158  0.598188  7.4  155.2  3.7  104.3
5 Bishop McDevitt 6- 5- 0  0.614706  0.621005  0.607007  6.8  175.9  4.2  113.9
6 Littlestown 7- 3- 0  0.614167  0.722222  0.482098  7.2  125.9  2.8  135.3
7 Northern Lebanon 9- 4- 0  0.611381  0.721116  0.477261  9.1  138.0  3.5  151.2
8 Kennard Dale 9- 4- 0  0.597436  0.732852  0.431928  10.2  120.4  3.7  158.4
9 Susquehanna Township 8- 7- 0  0.578357  0.590164  0.563927  9.0  164.3  6.3  127.1
10 Eastern Lebanon County 7- 7- 0  0.536189  0.530075  0.543661  7.1  158.5  6.3  133.0
11 Eastern York 5- 9- 0  0.471040  0.416031  0.538274  5.5  154.4  7.7  132.4
12 Biglerville 6- 7- 0  0.456601  0.466403  0.444620  5.9  112.6  6.8  140.7
13 Schuylkill Valley 5- 7- 0  0.448590  0.455752  0.439837  5.2  124.1  6.2  158.1
14 Wyomissing 4- 8- 0  0.403035  0.351852  0.465592  3.8  128.6  7.0  147.6
15 James Buchanan 2- 13- 0  0.351314  0.138996  0.610813  1.8  170.6  11.2  108.7
16 Bermudian Springs 1- 12- 0  0.318023  0.070539  0.620504  0.9  155.3  11.2  95.0
17 Hamburg 1- 12- 0  0.280702  0.078652  0.527653  1.1  146.5  12.3  131.1
18 Oley Valley 1- 9- 0  0.278006  0.111702  0.481267  1.1  133.0  8.4  143.3
19 Susquenita 0- 13- 0  0.215595  0.000000  0.479100  0.0  127.8  14.1  139.0
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IMG_1622Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Three Standings

League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT PF PA
Lancaster Catholic 9 0 100.00 14 2 87.50 973 726
Northern Lebanon 7 1 87.50 10 4 71.43 850 721
Lancaster Mennonite 6 2 75.00 10 5 66.67 923 782
Elco 4 5 44.44 7 8 46.67 850 812
Annville-Cleona 3 5 37.50 7 8 46.67 858 841
Columbia 2 5 28.57 6 7 46.15 795 709
Pequea Valley 1 6 14.29 2 12 14.29 595 914
Lebanon Catholic 0 8 0.00 2 8 20.00 361 659

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