BY JEFF FALK
Lebanon High is a girls’ basketball team which has very little margin for error. It is also one that functions much better with a steady hand guiding it.
On Thursday night during the consolation game of their own holiday tournament, the frustration of three consecutive losses may have cost the Cedars their second win of the year. Technical fouls called on two Lebanon seniors – in a span of eight seconds during a tight game early in the fourth quarter – proved critical, as the Cedars fell to Cocalico 44-36.
The setback left Lebanon 1-7 on the campaign. Cocalico is now 3-5.
“It’s something we taught, about being a leader,” said Lebanon head coach Ben Brewer. “It’s not just talk. You lead by example and by your actions. We lost our composure there. We’ve all played the game, but you can’t become frustrated over calls.”
Clinging to a 32-31 edge two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Cedars were whistled for their first technical when one of their players got tangled up with a Cocalico player, and some extra-curricular pushing occured after the whistle. Eight seconds later, Lebanon was whistled for another technical when a different senior slammed the ball on the floor in disgust.
The total result was six Cocalico charity tosses, two extra possessions for the Eagles, both Cedar seniors on the bench and a 37-32 Cocalico lead. A minute later, the Eagles reached the double bonus and with its lineup depleted, Lebanon couldn’t muster enough offense the rest of the way to match Cocalico’s point total at the time.
“The first one on Josette (Reich), she clearly pushed the girl,” said Brewer. “It was a scrum and she pushed the girl from behind. The referee always sees the second action. On the second one on Sadie (Eisenhour), that was just frustration. That was built up not just from today. She deserved it.
“But how about that lineup that kept us in the game,” Brewer added. “Three sophomores and two freshmen.”
“When that happened, we were up. They got six free throws and two possessions, and we got two seniors out of the game. But that didn’t beat us. Cocalico beat us.”
Lebanon led by three at halftime, thanks to a 12-2 run that ended the second quarter. Eisenhour was responsible for six of the 14 points that LHS recorded in the stanza.
Then late in the third quarter, the Cedars opened a 30-25 advantage on a drive to the hole by freshman point guard Brittany Ulrich.
“I told them I was proud of their effort,” said Brewer of his charges. “They played their hearts out, as hard as they could. We had different combinations out there because of foul trouble and technicals. But you can’t let calls get to you. You can’t let refs get to you. Refs are human. That hurt us. That was a key part of the game. But hopefully, 2012 will bring some wins.”
Shaela Shellenhamer knocked down a trio of three-point field goals and scored ten points for the Cedars. Shellenhamer was Lebanon’s representative on the all-tournament team.
“It’s a new year. And it’s a brand new season,” said Brewer. “Heck, we’re 1-2 in the league (Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon League). Our overall record doesn’t matter. We rattle off a couple of wins and who knows what happens.
“Yeah, they (his players) need a win,” continued Brewer. “There’s a pit in my stomach right now for them. We get a win and learn to win. And I think we can get momentum rolling.”