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 BY JEFF FALK

 LEBANON – For the fear of losing their seats, they always shuffle their feet.

 But when the subject of opponents’ offense come up, they get really guarded.

 And when the topic of conversation turns to defense, well, the Cedar Crest boys’ basketball team becomes downright defensive.

 On Friday evening, during the opening round of the 20th annual Lebanon Athletic Booster Tip-Off Tournament, the Falcons turned to their trademark man-to-man defense to make a statement, with an overwhelming 67-36 victory over highly-regarded Elco. Cedar Crest held the Raiders to just seven two-pointers all evening long, and was at its unyielding best for an 11-minute period of time that preceded halftime.

 Not only did the Falcons make the Raiders uncomfortable, they made Elco question its confidence. 

 As a result, Cedar Crest will play Lebanon, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for the championship of the Cedars’ tournament. Before that, at 6 p.m., Elco and Red Land will meet for the consolation prize.

 “Yeah, it was a good way to start a season,” said Cedar Crest head coach Tom Smith. “Without a doubt, the thing I was most impressed with was our defense. They’ve (the Raiders) got some good basketball players. I was really pleased with our defense. Our goal was to not let them get to their spots, and then contest shots.

 “We wanted to make sure we were getting help (defensively),” added Smith. “We talked about getting into gaps.”

 “Their defense is their staple,” said Elco head coach Brad Conners of the Falcons. “Every year coming into this game, we know we’re going to see hard, ball pressure. That’s where we need to be.

 “When they (the Falcons) punched us, we got a little passive,” continued Conners. “Everybody was looking at what the next guy was going to do. But we’ll bounce back.”

  Protecting a 12-10 edge, Cedar Crest turned up the defensive intensity with three minutes left in the first period. Elco scored just two more baskets over the rest of the first half – just one in the second quarter – and the resulting 24-4 burst gave the Falcons a 36-14 intermission bulge.

 The decisive run began with a Jason Eberhart three-point play and concluded with two Charles Shutter free throws. In between, Shutter tallied five other points, Logan Horn notched another five, Ileri Ayo-Faleye nailed a three-pointer and Eberhart, Eric Wawrzyniak and Grant Allwein all dropped in deuces.

 Team defense that turned into team offense.

 “We were definitely ready to play a different color,” said Smith. “These guys were ready. We had a good week of practice. But they were ready to play another team.

 “We put a couple of runs together early,” continued Smith. “They (the Raiders) knocked some easy shots down early. But I’m not sure they got easy shots in the second quarter.”

  “Cedar Crest looked like they wanted it,” said Conners. “They attacked the rim. They were the aggressor. I don’t expect us to come out like that tomorrow (Saturday) night.

 “I remember them rebounding our missed shots and attacking our rim,” Conners added. “They were sprinting towards our rim. They put it on us. My thing is leadership. Where’s it going to come from? We’ve got a lot of talent, but now it’s going to come down to that leadership role.”

 The Falcons applied the finishing touches on the outcome in the third quarter.

 Cedar Crest opened the second half with an old-fashioned three-point play from Horn and a driving lay-in by Jaquan Andino to extend its cushion to 41-14. And when Horn pulled up for a deuce with 1:40 of the third period remaining, the Falcons had themselves a 51-21 bulge.

 “We got a lot of kids minutes,” said Smith. “We said at halftime, ‘Don’t take your foot off the gas pedal.’ We wanted to continue to attack.

  “Tonight it was about sharing the basketball,” added Smith. “Hopefully we can continue to stay that way. Logan will do what he does. It (their balance) was a little bit of a surprise. Everyday we preach it. Even though we don’t have a lot of guys who have played a lot of varsity minutes, we didn’t force too much.”

  “Even though we were down, we wanted to play good solid basketball,” said Conners. “Coming out of halftime, we just wanted to play sound, fundamental basketball. We told our guys, ‘keep your man in front of you.’

 “Winning’s never final and losing’s never fatal,” Conners continued. “To their (the Falcons’) credit, we’re not as bad as we showed tonight. We’re better than that.”

 With 22 points, Horn led all scorers. The Falcons outscored the Raiders 34-14 inside the three-point line and 15-7 at the charity stripe.

 “We’re definitely still figuring out rotations,” said Smith. “I think most of the kids have figured out their roles. But I’ve got an unselfish group. They’re willing to listen and learn.”

   “I like (Brody) Dunlop too,” said Conners. “He’s a tough, strong kid. Horn is a really nice player. But that’s a lot of size for us to deal with on the first night.

  “It was 12-10 to start the game,” added Conners. “They (his players) were ready to. We knocked down a couple of shots, then Cedar Crest’s defense stepped up. We blinked and it snow-balled.”

 Elco tallied the first two points of the game – on free throws from Jordan Fernandez and Bryce Coletti – and assumed an 8-6 edge on back-to-back three-pointers from Evan Huey and Asher Kemble. But that was before Ayo-Faleye and Horn scored driving lay-ins for Cedar Crest, and the Falcons’ defense took hold.

 “We want to get better everyday, with both phases of the game,” said Conners. “There’s a bunch of little things we can improve on offensively. We don’t want the defense to speed up our offense.

 “Nineteen points in the first quarter, that’s way too many to give up,” Conners added. “I think our defense the last couple of weeks has been stronger. Tonight we ran into a bigger, more physical team.”

 “This is going to be crazy to say, but they’re (the Raiders) still young,” said Smith. “They didn’t make a whole lot of shots. But they are a good team.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 2018-19 Cedar Crest Boys’ Basketball Schedule

 
 
Date Teams    
12/07
6:00 pm
Cedar Crest
Elco
at Lebanon
   
12/10
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Wyomissing
   
12/14
7:30 pm
Elizabethtown
at Cedar Crest
   
12/17
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
   
12/19
7:30 pm
Ephrata
at Cedar Crest
   
12/21
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Warwick
   
12/22
6:30 pm
Palmyra
at Cedar Crest
   
12/28
7:30 pm
Mount Carmel
at Cedar Crest
   
1/03
7:30 pm
Conestoga Valley
at Cedar Crest
   
1/05
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
Lower Dauphin
at Lebanon Valley College
   
1/08
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Hempfield
   
1/11
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Cedar Crest
   
1/12
3:00 pm
Red Land
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Central
   
1/15
7:30 pm
McCaskey
at Cedar Crest
   
1/17
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Township
   
1/23
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Carlisle
   
1/25
7:30 pm
Hempfield
at Cedar Crest
   
1/29
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Penn Manor
   
2/01
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at McCaskey
   
2/05
7:30 pm
Manheim Township
at Cedar Crest
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 2018-19 Elco Boys’ Basketball Schedule

 
 
Date Teams    
12/07
6:00 pm
Cedar Crest
Elco
at Lebanon
   
12/11
7:30 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
   
12/14
7:30 pm
Elco
at Cocalico
   
12/17
7:30 pm
Manheim Central
at Elco
   
12/19
7:30 pm
Elco
at Solanco
   
12/21
7:30 pm
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Elco
   
12/28
7:30 pm
Elco
at Eastern York
   
1/04
7:30 pm
Elco
at Octorara
   
1/05
1:30 pm
Oley Valley
at Elco
   
1/08
7:30 pm
Donegal
at Elco
   
1/09
7:30 pm
Elco
at Camp Hill
   
1/11
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
   
1/16
7:30 pm
Elco
at Wyomissing
   
1/18
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
   
1/22
7:30 pm
Octorara
at Elco
   
1/25
7:30 pm
Elco
at Donegal
   
1/29
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
   
1/30
7:30 pm
Elco
at Conrad Weiser
   
2/01
7:30 pm
Elco
at Garden Spot
   
2/05
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Elco
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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