BY JEFF FALK
SOUTH LEBANON – The basketball tradition of cutting down the nets dates back to 1947 when legendary North Carolina State coach Everett Cole started the practice as a way of obtaining a souvenir. It caught on, and the act has come to symbolize hard work, team work, victory, the realization of promise and, of course, championships.
Last night, the Cedar Crest girls’ basketball team cut down its nets.
On Friday night at ‘The Cage’, the Falcons engaged in the celebratory tradition after shading Penn Manor 50-30. Cedar Crest took care of its business with an overwhelming start and a staunch man-to-man defense.
It took the Falcons a single half to score as many points as the Comets would all game.
Not only did the victory secure Cedar Crest’s second Section One title in as many seasons, it also kept them unbeaten and served as head coach Jim Donmoyer’s career victory number 100. With one regular-season game remaining on their docket, the Falcons are 21-0 overall and 13-0 in the circuit.
Cedar Crest, which beat the Comets 69-44 on January 10th in Millersville. was situated second in the latest District Three Class AAAAAA power rankings. All of the Falcons’ victories this season have come by margins of nine points or more.
The loss left Penn Manor 7-14 on the season and 1-12 in the section.
“We’re checking off boxes,” said Donmoyer. “We started the season off saying, ‘Let’s win a tip-off tournament’. Then ‘Let’s win a Christmas tournament’. The next goal was a section championship. Along the way, we didn’t set a goal of being undefeated. I guess we did have that in the back of our minds.
“Now we’re looking to the league playoffs, and the district playoffs and the state playoffs,” Donmoyer continued. “They’re like levels. We got something for being 21-0. We got a section championship. They (his players) work hard. I can’t say enough about them.”
‘It’s been the plan,” said Cedar Crest senior star Alyssa Austin. “But this isn’t the end. We’ve still got a long way to go. At the beginning of the season, the goal was to just keep winning, and never lose at home. Losing’s never in the plan, but it’s one game at a time.”
While the importance of the outing may have been in the back of their minds, the Falcons didn’t let it affect their play.
Nursing an early 5-3 edge, Cedar Crest went off on an 18-4 run that gave it a 23-7 advantage and changed the complexion of the game. With ten points, senior guard Ariel Jones fronted the assault, while Austin contributed five points inside and Rachel Witherite drained a three-pointer.
“It was good to get out of the gates quickly,” said Donmoyer. “Getting off to a quick start is always important. It calms everybody down. And I wanted all the kids to be a part of this.
“We played well in spurts,” continued Donmoyer. “I’m telling you right now, it would really be something if we put together a whole game like the first quarter. If we put four quarters together, it’s going to be something. The only thing for me is consistency. If we could make it a little more consistent, that’s where I’d like to be.”
“I thought we did good,” said Austin. “We got the ball inside, and we kicked it out. Ariel was hitting shots. Rachel was hitting shots. Everything was working. We were all on our game tonight.”
Cedar Crest held Penn Manor score-less over the final 7:09 of the second quarter and took a 21-point lead to the locker room. The Falcons’ 7-0 run to end the first half consisted of six points in the paint from Austin and a foul shot by Raven Morgan.
“This night, this season, these six seasons has been about the girls,” said Donmoyer. “It’s not about me. It’s about the kids I coach. I’ve coached some very talented, hard-working kids.
“They came out. They played,” added Donmoyer. “We locked up the section. They took me along for the ride. They got me here. I’m going to give the credit to them.”
“Rebounds. Blocked shots. As a senior, four-year varsity player, my job is to keep the team together,” said Austin. “It (how much she plays inside) depends on which games and how much height the other team has. When the shots are going in, he (Donmoyer) doesn’t make it a point to tell me to go inside. I just feel like my game has improved since my freshman year. It’s changed. It’s gotten better.”
Jones counted a pair of three-pointers among her seven field goals and registered a game-high 17 points, while Austin was five-for-five at the foul line and recorded 13 points. The Falcons limited the Comets to ten total field goals.
“This senior class (Jones, Austin and Kelsey Guth) are 86-20,” said Donmoyer. “It’s not just those three, but they’ve been around for 86 wins with me. And that’s special to me. We built something I’m proud of. It’s one thing to win. But it’s another thing to do it consistently.
“We rolled some games,” Donmoyer added. “But I can look at all those games, and they were tight and some we trailed. It’s not like we haven’t been tested. I’m alright where we are right now.”
“The goal is the next game,” said Austin, who has committed to play college basketball at Division Two Millersville University. “It’s one game at a time. It’s senior night. I don’t like to look ahead. I don’t like to get too far ahead of myself.”
The Falcons also managed to piece together a 10-1 spurt early in the third quarter, to increase their lead to 40-12. Jones and Morgan were at the forefront of that run, while Molly Bucher got into the act with a driving lay-in.
“I wouldn’t say coming into the season I knew we’d be undefeated at this point,” said Donmoyer. “But I’m not totally surprised. Basketball is a funny thing. It only takes one bad game.
“Everybody needs to improve,” continued Donmoyer. “We need to do what we do on a consistent basis. We’re giving up 37 points a game. Everything can improve. You can cut down on your turnovers. You can rebound better. We’re not a finished product. But I’m very happy where we’re at.”
“I’d like to congratulate Coach on his 100th win,” said Austin. “He deserves it. You’ve got to stay on his good side.”
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2015-16 Cedar Crest Girls’ Basketball Results
|6:00 PM||W 61-44|
|7:30 PM||W 55-43|
Wilson West Lawn
|7:30 PM||W 66-48|
|7:30 PM||W 63-47|
|7:30 PM||W 65-47|
|7:30 PM||W 41-27|
|6:00 PM||W 52-34|
|7:30 PM||W 42-26|
|7:30 PM||W 66-47|
|7:30 PM||W 54-40|
|7:30 PM||W 55-21|
|7:30 PM||W 69-44|
|7:30 PM||W 59-33|
|7:30 PM||W 62-42|
|7:30 PM||W 51-28|
|7:30 PM||W 57-27|
|7:30 PM||W 51-28|
|7:30 PM||W 54-41|
|7:30 PM||W 53-44|
|7:30 PM||W 57-37|
|7:30 PM||W 50-30|
|7:30 PM||Cedar Crest High School|
PIAA District Three
Class AAAAAA Power Rankings
|6||J P McCaskey||15-||5-||0||0.729812||0.817982||0.622047|
|8||Central Dauphin East||13-||8-||0||0.696892||0.723356||0.664547|
|14||Red Lion Area||10-||11-||0||0.590253||0.574939||0.608970|
|25||York Country Day School||4-||14-||0||0.296717||0.169492||0.452214|
Section One Standings