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BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – Heart, team work and intensity can only take a scholastic basketball team so far. This season, those three intangibles have taken the Northern Lebanon girls as far as they can go.

On Thursday night at Northern Lebanon High School, the Vikings employed their special brand of winning basketball to nudge Susquehanna Township 33-28, and capture the consolation prize of the District Three Class AAAA postseason. After trailing by a couple of possessions in the locker room, the Vikings held the Indians score-less over the entire third period to put themselves in the driver’s seat.

As the third seed from District Three, Northern Lebanon, now 22-4 on the year, will open competition in the PIAA Class AAAA postseason opposite the runner-up from District 12, on Saturday, March 7 at a site and time to be determined. Susquehanna Township slipped to 18-7 overall.

“We try to win every single game,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Ken Battistelli. “We were devastated with our performance on Tuesday against Eastern York. Tonight, they (his players) looked like my team again. They don’t know any other way. We just win. They’re conditioned to win every game. We try our hardest to win. Every victory is important.

“It matters because we won a game in front of our fans and we’re headed into states,” continued Battistelli. “It was a battle of wills, and when you win a battle of wills, it makes you tougher. We’re going to be better tomorrow because of today.”

Northern Lebanon encountered its usual share of difficulties in crunch time, even after Lindsay McFeaters had nailed a jumper early in the fourth quarter to give the Vikings a 24-18 margin. On three separate ocassions, Susquehanna Township pulled to within three points of Northern Lebanon’s lead – 26-23, with three minutes to go, 28-25 with 43 seconds remaining and 31-28 with 21 ticks left.

But Rachel Papson, McFeaters and Zara Zerman combined to go seven-for-ten at the foul line over the contest’s final 1:04, and Northern Lebanon never relinquished the lead.

“This game was a summary of Northern Lebanon girls’ basketball,” said Battistelli. “We don’t look like we know what we’re doing, but we find a way to win. It ain’t pretty. It ain’t ballet. But we grinded for it.

“I’m so proud of these girls,” Battistelli continued. “They’ve won 22 games now. They’ve won 18 games more than they’ve lost. They weren’t into it to the same degree last year that they are this year.”

After trailing by six points at the break, the Vikings turned the defensive screws to the Indians in the third period and held them without a point. Meanwhile, Zerman was dropping in a couple of buckets, Papson and McFeaters were nailing jumpers and Emily Hauck was laying in a deuce, as Northern Lebanon assumed a 22-18 margin.

“We hit the same phase at the end of the first quarter and the second quarter that we did against Eastern York, when we weren’t looking to score.” said Battistelli. “When we don’t look to score, we don’t score. Aside from Zeke (Zerman) we don’t have anyone who can create their own shot.

“We could go three days without scoring, until we snap out of that mindset,” added Battistelli. “When you lose that scoring mindset, it just doesn’t snap back. When you have Zeke, you can get away with that. But when you play against really good teams, with really good athletes, it’s different.”

Zerman tallied 17 points and again made the spectacular look routine. The Vikings outscored the bigger Indians 26-18 on two-point buckets.

“We think every single team we play is like that,” said Battistelli of Susquehanna Township’s physical prowess. “Eastern York played great against us, and we didn’t step up and score the ball. But even at the end, the girls didn’t back down. We think Susquehanna Township is too good for us, and to beat them we have to be super human.

“If you take us individually, man-to-man, how many teams are better than us?,” Battistelli added. “But they (his players) think that together they’re better.”

With three minutes of the second quarter remaining, Zerman scored on a driving lay-in to tie the score at 12. But the Indians notched the final six points of the first half, and with 19 seconds left before the break, Zerman was hurt and hobbled off the floor.

“I knew she was coming back,” said Battistelli of his floor general. “It was kind of nice because I got to yell at everyone else and tell them to try to score. She’s that competitive, she’s not going to break.”

The Vikings registered the first two baskets of the evening on driving lay-ups from Zerman. Northern Lebanon also scored the last two buckets of the opening quarter, courtesy of Tabitha Hubbard and Zerman, to grab an 8-4 advantage.

“When we lost to Eastern York, that was the first goal we failed to reach,” said Battistelli. “We have never reached a final four in states. That would be fanstastic. We’ll look at our first state game and look at it like it’s the most important game Northern Lebanon has ever played, and we’ll prepare for it that way.”

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

2019-20 Northern Lebanon Girls’ Basketball Results

DateOpponentsOutcome
12/06
6:45 pm
Ephrata
Northern Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon Tip-Off Tournament
43
48

Nonleague
12/07
7:00 pm
Palmyra
Northern Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon Tip-Off Tournament
29
41

Nonleague
12/10
7:30 pm
West Perry
at Northern Lebanon
19
35

Nonleague
12/13
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lampeter-Strasburg
38
26

League
12/16
7:30 pm
Cocalico
at Northern Lebanon
31
37

League
12/18
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Garden Spot
48
17

League
12/20
7:30 pm
Solanco
at Northern Lebanon
19
35

League
12/27
6:00 pm
New Oxford
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon Holiday Tournament
27
45

Nonleague
12/28
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
McCaskey
at Lebanon Holiday Tournament
44
41

Nonleague
1/03
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
50
47

League
1/04
2:30 pm
East Pennsboro
Northern Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon Middle School
22
44

Nonleague
1/08
6:30 pm
Middletown
at Northern Lebanon
15
38

Nonleague
1/10
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
53
45

League
1/14
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Octorara
54
17

League
1/17
7:30 pm
Donegal
at Northern Lebanon
39
65

League
1/18
2:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Tulpehocken
Postponed
Nonleague
1/21
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic
35
42

League
1/23
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Manheim Central
47
35

League
1/25
4:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
47
12

Nonleague
1/28
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
35
37

League
1/31
7:30 pm
Octorara
at Northern Lebanon
30
59

League
2/04
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Donegal
60
46

League
2/06
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
Warwick
at Garden Spot
43
32

Playoff
2/08
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Solanco
32
41

Playoff
2/21
7:00 pm
Bishop McDevitt
at Northern Lebanon
45
60

Playoff
2/25
7:00 pm
Eastern York
at Northern Lebanon
51
28

Playoff
2/27
7:00 pm
Susquehanna Township
at Northern Lebanon

Playoff

PIAA District Three

Final Class AAAA Power Rankings

AAAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1***Lancaster Catholic19-3-0 0.770048 0.878099 0.637985 21.3 305.9 3.0 173.6
2***Northern Lebanon19-2-0 0.717449 0.917927 0.472421 21.3 214.6 1.9 239.6
3***Eastern York16-6-0 0.690866 0.779736 0.582247 17.7 283.7 5.0 203.6
4***Susquehanna Township17-5-0 0.693070 0.814894 0.544175 19.2 257.2 4.4 215.4
5***Bermudian Springs18-4-0 0.690098 0.820276 0.530991 17.8 256.2 3.9 226.3
6***Wyomissing17-5-0 0.640972 0.799539 0.447167 17.4 201.7 4.4 249.3
7***Bishop McDevitt10-9-0 0.605559 0.588859 0.625970 11.1 262.3 7.8 156.7
8***Fleetwood13-8-0 0.600233 0.676960 0.506457 14.3 223.6 6.8 217.9
9***Kennard Dale12-11-0 0.585607 0.579521 0.593045 13.3 298.5 9.7 204.8
10***Schuylkill Valley14-8-0 0.562965 0.671171 0.430713 14.9 194.0 7.3 256.4
11Eastern Lebanon County11-11-0 0.554537 0.550228 0.559803 12.1 266.6 9.9 209.6
12Big Spring9-11-0 0.508521 0.505076 0.512731 10.0 221.5 9.8 210.5
13Littlestown11-11-0 0.502302 0.497685 0.507945 10.8 244.6 10.9 236.9
14Boiling Springs11-11-0 0.498550 0.536866 0.451720 11.7 211.5 10.1 256.7
15James Buchanan9-13-0 0.466487 0.438389 0.500829 9.3 226.5 11.9 225.8
16West Perry7-15-0 0.393886 0.325000 0.478081 7.2 225.2 14.9 245.9
17Oley Valley8-14-0 0.386301 0.344186 0.437774 7.4 199.8 14.1 256.6
18Middletown Area5-16-0 0.382454 0.253071 0.540588 5.2 247.4 15.2 210.3
19Hamburg Area6-16-0 0.371387 0.295238 0.464459 6.2 216.0 14.8 249.0
20Octorara Area2-17-0 0.324956 0.123324 0.571394 2.3 235.9 16.4 177.0

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