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Lebanon High opened a three-game lead in the Lancaster-Lebanon Section One race. 

IMG_8362BY JEFF FALK

SOUTH LEBANON – You could sense that the Lebanon boys’ basketball team was pointing to this. Waiting. Watching. Working.

Yeah, it was Lebanon-Cedar Crest. But there was an undeniable feel that there was even more at stake. Something to prove.

On Friday night at CCHS’ Cage, in their semi-annual war, the Cedars took apart the Falcons, with emphasis, 60-41. Lebanon High gained an advantage late in the opening quarter, then fought off a number of Cedar Crest runs along the way.

Not only was it Cedar Crest-Lebanon, it was also an extremely meaningful game in the Lancaster-Lebanon Section One race. There was also the matter of the Falcons’ seven-game win streak within the rivalry and an earlier 58-42 CC triumph hanging over the Cedars’ heads.

IMG_8505As it stands now, Lebanon is 10-3 overall, 7-0 in Section One and the circuit’s clear front-runner. Cedar Crest dipped to 9-4 on the year and 4-3 in the section.

“We talked about it,” said Lebanon head coach Tim Speraw. “It definitely wasn’t just another game. But it wasn’t that it was just Cedar Crest. We needed to keep our lead in the section. That added to the fact that it was Cedar Crest.

“I think that it was not only Lebanon-Cedar Crest,” continued Speraw. “Cedar Crest is a good basketball team. Any time you beat a team in your section it’s a positive. We haven’t won anything yet. We have a good record, but we’re not satisfied.”

“It’s a section game,” said Cedar Crest head coach Tom Smith. “We’re now down three games (to Lebanon in the loss column). They (the Cedars) don’t have a loss. They have all the momentum. We’re in catch-up mode.

“Yeah, we can win the section,” Smith continued. “It’s going to be tough. We’ve got to rely on other teams. We don’t control our own destiny. But it’s possible.”

IMG_8495The outset was instrumental in how the game unfolded.

After the Falcons opened with a Dylan Miller trey, Lebanon rattled off 11 straight points, six of which came inside from Khalique Washington, a trey by Dante Vargas and a steal and lay-up by Luis Aquino-Rios. Cedar Crest responded with two Blake Thomson buckets and a Cole Laney free throw, before Cam Shaak gave Lebanon a 17-8 margin with a pair of foul shots.

“As the game went along, we gained more confidence,” said Speraw. “Overall, we took care of the ball. That was the biggest thing. We have a good group of guards and our forwards can handle too.”

“I guess I was a little surprised,” said Smith of the way the Falcons came out of the gate. “In big games like this, young teams sometimes have shaky starts.

IMG_8337“For their game plan, the start was very important,” added Smith. “With the lead, they could sit back in their zone. When they get out to the lead, they can dictate. We didn’t make enough shots to overcome it.”

Lebanon held Cedar Crest scoreless for a 4:47 stretch late in the second period, during which it ran off ten more unanswered points to forge a 29-16 advantage. Aquino-Rios registered five points during the run, while Vargas chipped in with a three-pointer and Sabu Pereya added a drive.

“I’m a (San Francisco) Niners fan, and it reminds me of Steve Young getting the Joe Montana monkey off his back,” said Speraw. “It’s nice getting the monkey off our backs. It just feels good. I couldn’t be more happy for the kids.

IMG_8519“I feel that way (like the Cedars can beat the Falcons) every year,” added Speraw. “I feel like any time we put a team out on the court we can win. Mentally, we came to play. We were focused.”

“No. I’m not pleased,” said Smith. “It was a little bit of both (the Cedars playing well and the Falcons not so much). We typically compete harder than that.

“They (the Cedars) wanted it more than us tonight,” Smith added. “They played with a greater sense of urgency. I think that was them wanting it.”

The emerging Aquino-Rios fronted a balanced Lebanon attack with 17 points. For Cedar Crest, Thomson knocked down 14 points and Laney and Tate Seyfert stuck for ten points apiece.

Defensively, the Cedars held the Falcons to just six two-point buckets.

“He’s just steady,” said Speraw of Aquino-Rios. “And he’s still learning. He’s still making mistakes. But what he does outside of handling the ball, he just does so much for us. I thought he played a great game.

“They (the Falcons) have great ball pressure,” added Speraw. “Their defense is very good. They get after you. They create problems. Every time we made a run, it seemed like Blake was knocking down a three.”

“We’ve improved,” said Smith. “We’re just not consistent yet. Once we get there, I truly believe we’re going to be a tough out. We’re day-to-day. Once we become consistent, we’ll be OK.”

The closest Cedar Crest could come in the second half was 34-26, on a couple of Laney free throws three minutes into the third quarter. With Aquino-Rios, Shaak, Felix Kortright-Roman and Sebastian Sierra contributing, the Cedars’ answer came in the form of a 12-3 run that pushed their advantage to 46-29.

IMG_8583“I didn’t think we had good mental focus,” said Speraw of the December 10th meeting between the two squads. “Our kids thought they could step on the floor and win. After the game, it wasn’t the end of the world and we talked about getting better. I think over the last ten or 12 games we’ve gotten better.”

“I thought we made some shots,” said Smith of the earlier contest. “We got out to a lead and we were able to dictate what was going on.

“They (the Cedars) have improved,” Smith added. “One of the biggest things is they’re making shots.”

Lebanon notched 11 straight points in the middle of the fourth quarter to put the outcome to rest. Shaq Ortiz, Shaak, Kortright-Roman and Aquino-Rios all had their hands in it.

“There’s relief in that we broke that thing and ended that streak they had,” said Speraw. “We’re going to see Cedar Crest again. Nothing’s over.

“Yeah, I think we can win the section,” continued Speraw. “That’s the goal. We have to keep playing at the level we are and improve. But there’s some good teams in our section.”

“It’s a tough one to take,” said Smith. “We’ll hit the gym and try to get better.”

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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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2016-17 Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/09 #
Red Lion
7:30 PM W 52-39
12/10 #
Cedar Crest
7:30 PM L 42-58
12/14
Governor Mifflin
7:30 PM L 50-54
12/16 *
Manheim Twp.
7:30 PM W 64-52
12/19 *
@McCaskey
7:30 PM W 68-58
12/21 *
Warwick
7:30 PM W 79-56
12/29
Cedar Cliff
6:00 PM W 67-50
12/30
Camp Hill
6:00 PM W 68-44
01/03 *
@Penn Manor
7:30 PM
01/06 *
@Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM
01/07
@Palmyra
5:30 PM L 73-75
01/10 *
Hempfield
7:30 PM
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
01/13 *
@Cedar Crest
7:30 PM Cedar Crest High School
01/17 *
@Manheim Twp.
7:30 PM Manheim Twp. High School
01/20 *
McCaskey
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/23
@Ephrata
7:30 PM Ephrata High School
01/24 *
@Warwick
7:30 PM Warwick High School
01/27 *
Penn Manor
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/31 *
Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
02/03 *
@Hempfield
7:30 PM Hempfield High School
02/04
Hershey
2:30 PM Lebanon High School
02/07 *
Cedar Crest
7:30 PM Lebanon High School

 

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2016-17 Cedar Crest Boys’ Basketball Schedule

 

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/09 #
Elco
6:00 PM W 87-63
12/10 #
@Lebanon
7:30 PM W 58-42
12/12
Manheim Central
7:30 PM L 45-63
12/16 *
McCaskey
7:30 PM W 72-66
12/19 *
@Warwick
7:30 PM L 56-61
12/21 *
Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM W 58-53
12/29
Camp Hill
7:30 PM W 45-41
12/30
Cedar Cliff
7:30 PM W 41-39
01/03 *
@Manheim Twp.
7:30 PM
01/06 *
@Hempfield
7:30 PM L 39-45
01/10 *
Penn Manor
7:30 PM
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
01/13 *
Lebanon
7:30 PM Cedar Crest High School
01/17 *
@McCaskey
7:30 PM McCaskey High School
01/20 *
Warwick
7:30 PM Cedar Crest High School
01/24 *
@Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM Conestoga Valley High School
01/27 *
Manheim Twp.
7:30 PM Cedar Crest High School
01/28
@Wilson West Lawn
6:00 PM Wilson West Lawn High School
01/31 *
Hempfield
6:00 PM Cedar Crest High School
02/03 *
@Penn Manor
7:30 PM Penn Manor High School
02/04
York
7:30 PM Cedar Crest High School
02/07 *
@Lebanon
7:30 PM Lebanon High School

 

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 PIAA District Three

 Class AAAAAA Power Rankings

 

AAAAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP
1 Governor Mifflin 11- 1- 0  0.806712  0.946043  0.636419
2 Carlisle 9- 2- 0  0.796356  0.880478  0.693541
3 Reading 12- 2- 0  0.794439  0.884615  0.684224
4 Harrisburg 9- 2- 0  0.781636  0.882353  0.658537
5 Central Dauphin East 7- 3- 0  0.743152  0.791667  0.683856
6 Lebanon 9- 3- 0  0.721808  0.829545  0.590130
7 Dallastown Area 9- 3- 0  0.709245  0.809701  0.586465
8 Cedar Crest 9- 3- 0  0.706217  0.819231  0.568090
9 Wilson (3) 8- 4- 0  0.697907  0.752000  0.631794
10 Chambersburg Area 7- 5- 0  0.662471  0.687500  0.631880
11 Central Dauphin 6- 5- 0  0.648261  0.648889  0.647494
12 Central York 7- 5- 0  0.646129  0.668000  0.619397
13 Manheim Township 6- 5- 0  0.643933  0.660633  0.623522
14 HEMPFIELD 7- 5- 0  0.642527  0.692000  0.582060
15 J P McCaskey 5- 5- 0  0.637915  0.618812  0.661263
16 Warwick 6- 7- 0  0.587546  0.552529  0.630344
17 Cumberland Valley 4- 9- 0  0.553906  0.410480  0.729205
18 Penn Manor 4- 9- 0  0.498710  0.386266  0.636141
19 Cedar Cliff 2- 11- 0  0.409619  0.197309  0.669109
20 York County School Of Technology 2- 8- 0  0.359549  0.208333  0.544368
21 Red Lion Area 1- 11- 0  0.347938  0.105000  0.644862
22 Conestoga Valley 1- 12- 0  0.326706  0.071770  0.638294

 

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Lancaster-Lebanon League

Section One Standings

League Overall
W L PCT W L PCT PS PA
Lebanon 7 0 100.00 10 3 76.92 820 683
Cedar Crest 4 3 57.14 9 4 69.23 742 687
Hempfield 4 3 57.14 8 5 61.54 661 613
Warwick 4 3 57.14 7 7 50.00 787 859
McCaskey 4 3 57.14 5 6 45.45 668 705
Manheim Township 3 4 42.86 6 6 50.00 734 680
Penn Manor 1 6 14.29 4 10 28.57 612 757
Conestoga Valley 1 6 14.29 2 12 14.29 747 794

 

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