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IMG_7941BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – Elco was happy, but not satisfied. It wasn’t exactly a swagger, but there was a noticeable spring in the Raiders’ step.

It was a leap forward in what will be a season-long process.

On Saturday evening, in the consolation contest of the Lebanon Booster Club Tip-Off Tournament, the youthful Raiders played with effort, passion and confidence during a 52-43 loss to Red Lion. Elco enjoyed a number of modest leads in the middle portions of the game, before succumbing to the bigger and physical Lions, and a lack of offensive execution early in the final quarter.

Yet the outing was in stark contrast to a 68-44 season-opening setback to Cedar Crest a night earlier. Despite their 0-2 mark, Elco can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I told the boys this morning, we’re not worried about the wins and losses,” said Elco head coach Brad Conners. “We looked at it as finding improvement. Obviously they’re a little down. They wanted to win. But we got better.

IMG_7917“I can’t find fault with the effort,” continued Conners. “It was definitely there. We talked about it, and things were better. We’re still searching for which lineups work best, which combinations have the best chemistry. I think we found something with our defense. We put some pressure on the ball, and we were a lot better with the ball.”

The Raiders played right with Red Lion until the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, when the Lions hit them with a staggering 13-0 run. Elco went without a point for a decisive 5:47 stretch, during which Red Lion was opening a 47-35 cushion.

There were three-pointers from Raiders Bryce Coletti and Blake Weary, and a bucket from Braden Bohannon over the final minute. But the cow was already out of the barn.

“At that point, it would’ve been nice to get something inside,” said Conners of the critical moments of the fourth quarter. “We settled a little bit. We were too perimeter-oriented. Some of it is: ‘When we need a basket, where do we go?’ Something going to the basket is something we need to look at.”

IMG_7866A three-pointer from Weary two minutes into the second half had Elco ahead 27-24. Red Lion countered with a 10-3 run, and led 34-30 heading to the final eight minutes of action.

Five straight points by Coletti early in the fourth period put the Raiders back on top. But 35-34 would prove to be the Raiders’ last advantage of the night.

“It was our defense,” said Conners. “It was our full-court defense. I thought we kind of sped things up a little bit. They (the Lions) threw a couple of balls into the stands. We really had a small lineup out there – four guards, maybe five guards. There’s a lot of speed on this team.”

Raider Jeff Lorah recorded 13 points on his way to being named to the all-tournament team. Elco made eight treys, but was outscored 10-3 at the charity stripe.

“We’ve got to rebound the basketball,” said Conners. “That’s a big one. I think there were some key spots where we needed to get a rebound and didn’t. We’ve got one kid over six-feet. It’s going to have to be about attitude, and being in the right positions.”

The Raiders fought back from an early deficit and strung together a 7-0 run early in the second stanza to forge an 18-16 edge. Lorah drained a three-pointer and scored on a drive, while Coletti turned a steal into a lay-in.

Elco enjoyed a 24-22 halftime lead, thanks to back-to-back treys by Lorah and Weary late in the second quarter.

“The wins are probably more important to the kids,” said Conners. “I’m looking for growth. I’m looking for improvement. I think we did some good things. Now we’ve got to focus on the rebounding.”

IMG_7910Red Lion notched eight of the game’s first ten points. A stick-back by Bohannon and a two foul shots from Evan Huey got the Raiders headed in the right direction.

“We’re the small school in the tournament,” said Conners. “It’s a nice opportunity. I think it prepares us for the season. There’s a lot of interest in it. It’s a tournament we like to play in. In a few years, we feel like it’s a tournament we can win.”

 

 

 

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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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Red Lion 52, Elco 43

Red Lion (52)
Burchett 5 3-4 13, Dennis 7 0-0 14, Foster 2 3-4 7, Watt 4 2-2 11, Stabley 1 2-3 5, Virata 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 10-13 52.

Elco (43)
Lorah 5 0-0 12, Coletti 4 0-0 10, Kemble 2 0-0 4, Weary 3 0-0 9, Bohannon 2 1-2 6, Huey 0 2-2 2, Ginder 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 3-4 43.

Red Lion 16 6 12 18 – 52
Elco 11 13 6 13 – 43
3-point field goals: RL – Watt, Stabley, E – Weary 3, Lorah 2, Coletti 2, Bohannon.

 

 

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2017-18 Elco Boys’ Basketball Schedule

Date Teams Score
12/08
7:45 pm
Cedar Crest
Elco
at Lebanon
68
44
12/09
6:00 pm
Red Lion
at Elco
12/12
7:30 pm
Manheim Central
at Elco
12/15
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Elco
12/18
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Mennonite
12/20
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Elco
12/22
7:30 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
12/27
2:00 pm
Elco
at Ephrata
1/05
7:30 pm
Pequea Valley
at Elco
1/09
7:30 pm
Columbia
at Elco
1/12
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
1/13
2:30 pm
Solanco
at Elco
1/16
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
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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LEBANON SPORTS BUZZ’S

 All-Lebanon County Pre-Season Boys’ Basketball Rankings

1. Cedar Crest

2. Lebanon High

3. Northern Lebanon

4. Annville-Cleona

5. Palmyra

6. Elco

7. Lebanon Catholic

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