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BY ETHAN SWIECH

PHOTOS FROM JEFF FALK

LEBANON – The 21st Annual Lebanon Athletic Booster Tip-Off Boys’ Basketball Tournament opened with the Cedar Crest Falcons taking on the Patriots of Red Land High School on Friday night. The Falcons controlled the tempo from start to finish and never looked back, cruising to a 70-29 victory.

Of course, this contest had its bumps and bruises, but it became heart-pounding when Patriots’ sophomore, Matt Johnson, was carried off on a stretcher in the first quarter. Johnson took a charge, hit the floor and remained motionless for a significant amount of time.

The entire gym was silent and both teams went to their respective locker rooms while the trainers were aiding Johnson. When play resumed, Cedar Crest completed the opening period with an overwhelming 19-4 lead before building a 24-point advantage at the break.

Eberhart registered a game-high 15 points while Jones complemented Eberhart with 14. Ayo-Faleye contributed 11 points of his own to the Cedar Crest scoring column and the explosive threesome combined for 14 field goals.

Cedar Crest kept its foot on the gas in the second half and outscored Red Land, 33-16, throughout the final 16 minutes. The Falcons’ high-octane senior trio of Jason Eberhart, Amani Jones and Ileri Ayo-Faleye played huge roles in Crest’s success.

“Our goals are the same,” said Cedar Crest head coach Tom Smith. “Last year we started off strong and fizzled down the end. I’d love for us to play our best basketball at the end.

“You’ve got to get wins early,” continued Smith. “Every single game is important. You only get 22 of them. You’ve got to make them count.”

Two of those conversions came on three-pointers from Jones, who also finished a perfect four-for-four from the foul line. Eberhart went five of eight from the charity stripe as the Falcons made 13 of their 21 free throw attempts for the game.

While Cedar Crest’s offense scored at will, its defense brought an overwhelming presence. Red Land never reached double-digits for scoring in any quarter and Dan Mailey and Zac Williamson tied for the team-lead in points, finishing with six apiece.

“It’s kind of been our style the last couple of years,” said Smith. “We wanted to come out and pressure the ball. Our length helps. Even our guards are relatively big. I think we’ll be in a lot of games until our offense comes around.”

Mailey hit a pair of threes, including a buzzer-beater to end the first quarter, and Williamson connected on two field goals while going two for five from the line. Patriots’ sophomore, Connor Prye, made a pair from the field before finishing with five points.

With this victory, Cedar Crest earned the right to play in the championship game for the fourth consecutive year. The Falcons have won the previous three titles and they will go for four in a row Saturday night.

Despite the loss, Red Land still has another opportunity to redeem itself in the consolation game, which unfolds before the championship. The consolation will take place 6 p.m., while the title game tips off 7:30 p.m.

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

2019-20 Cedar Crest Boys’ Basketball Schedule

DateTeamsScore
12/06
6:00 pm
Red Land
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
29
70

Nonleague
12/07
TBD
TBA
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon

Nonleague
12/09
7:30 pm
Wyomissing
at Cedar Crest

Nonleague
12/13
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Elizabethtown

League
12/16
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest

League
12/18
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Ephrata

League
12/20
7:30 pm
Warwick
at Cedar Crest

League
12/21
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Palmyra

Nonleague
12/27
7:30 pm
Oxford
at Cedar Crest

Nonleague
1/02
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Conestoga Valley

League
1/04
4:30 pm
Cedar Crest
Lower Dauphin
at Lebanon Valley College

Nonleague
1/07
7:30 pm
Hempfield
at Cedar Crest

League
1/10
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Penn Manor

League
1/11
3:00 pm
Cedar Crest
Bishop McDevitt
at Manheim Central

Nonleague
1/14
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at McCaskey

League
1/17
7:30 pm
Manheim Township
at Cedar Crest

League
1/22
7:30 pm
Carlisle
at Cedar Crest

Nonleague
1/24
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Hempfield

League
1/28
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Cedar Crest

League
1/31
7:30 pm
McCaskey
at Cedar Crest

League
2/04
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Township

League

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