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 BY JEFF FALK

 LEBANON – You have to be prepared for the worst. But you’ve got to expect success, and hope for the best.

 Still, you never really know.

 During Friday night’s opening round of the 20th Annual Lebanon Athletic Booser Club’s Tip-Off Tournament, the best-case scenario played out for the host club, as the Cedars rolled to an impressive 70-42 triumph over Red Land. Competing at a fast and furious pace, untested Lebanon High used some defensive pressure to gain control of the outcome late in the first quarter, then never relented.

 It was a surprising result for a Cedar club which utilized a handful of first-year starters. In addition to getting it off on the right foot, the victory propelled Lebanon  into Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. tourney championship contest, opposite rival Cedar Crest.

 “To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect,” said Lebanon head coach Tim Speraw. “This was my first year of not having a core coming back. We’re mixing in a lot of young guys. I was pleasantly surprised. They (his players) did what they needed to do.

 “It was up in the air (coming in),” continued Speraw. “I wasn’t nervous, but I was excited for the kids. It’s a group I just enjoy coaching.”

 The Cedars’ on-the-ball pressure paid dividends all evening long, but never more so than late in the opening period. Lebanon was able to get lay-ups and three-pointers in transition during that time, but it also showed patience in its half-court offense, against the Patriots’ extended zone.

 The Cedars held Red Land without a point for an 8:15 span that stretched into the middle of the second stanza, during which time LHS opened a 27-11 margin. Included in Lebanon’s 17-0 run were eight points by Jean Carlos Gonzaleyz-Belen, a trey from Scottie Porter and buckets by Isaiah Rodriguez, Nasier Phifer and Marquis Ferreira.

 Lebanon carrried a 34-17 lead to the halftime locker room, courtesy of another Porter three-pointer.

 “I would say ‘yes’, we pretty much played the way we wanted to,” said Speraw. “They (the Patriots) did throw some zone at us that we weren’t expecting. We have to grind it out defensively. We don’t have a lot of size, but we have some team speed.

 “There’s going to be a lot of teaching,” Speraw continued. “We have such a mix of kids. We have some kids who skipped JV. It is what it is. There’s a huge learning curve right now. But the fun thing is that they (his players) want to learn, and that’s half the battle.”

  The Cedars kept coming in the third quarter. Pena Raylin nailed a couple of three-pointers and Gonzalez-Belen scored twice inside as part of the 10-2 run that Lebanon opened the second half on, one that extended its lead to 44-20.

 By the early portions of the final period, the Cedar advantage had reached 61-31.

  “They’re going to be our energy,” said Speraw of seniors Jahlil Young and Scottie Porter. “They’re going to be our leaders. They kept us in it. Jahlil was all over the place defensively.”

 Porter and Gonzalez-Belen, a junior, each tallied 12 points to pace Lebanon’s attack. Impressively, 11 of the 13 Cedars who played scored.

 Lebanon outscored Red Land 30-15 from beyond the arc and 34-16 on deuces.

 “It was great,” said Speraw of the balanced contributions. “Isaiah (Rodriguez) came in and gave great minutes. The two freshmen (Ferreira and Luke Collins) look like I just pulled them off the Sixth Street playground, but they have skills. I could go on and on. We have a lot of guys who can do a lot of things.

 “Right now, everyone’s fighting for minutes,” added Speraw. “They’re all fighting for a piece of the pie. That makes for good competition and interesting practices.”

 The contest was much more competitive early.

 Lebanon trailed 6-3 in the first two minutes, before Young came up with consecutive steals and lay-ins.

  “We’ve had a lot of turnover,” said Speraw. “In the past, we had kids who were juniors and sophomores and had playing experience. This is probably the youngest team I’ve ever coached. They’re fun. They come to work and they work hard.

 “Cedar Crest has more back than we do,” Speraw concluded. “They’re battle-tested. We’ll see what we’re made of (Saturday night).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 2018-19 Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Schedule

 
 
Date Teams    
12/07
8:00 pm
Red Land
at Lebanon
   
12/11
7:30 pm
Governor Mifflin
at Lebanon
   
12/14
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at McCaskey
   
12/17
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
   
12/19
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Hempfield
   
12/21
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Lebanon
   
12/28
6:00 pm
Halifax
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
   
1/03
7:30 pm
Ephrata
at Lebanon
   
1/05
5:30 pm
Palmyra
Lebanon
at Lebanon Valley College
   
1/11
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Elizabethtown
   
1/12
6:00 pm
Wilson
Lebanon
at Garden Spot
   
1/15
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Warwick
   
1/17
7:30 pm
Conestoga Valley
at Lebanon
   
1/21
7:30 pm
Garden Spot
at Lebanon
   
1/22
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Ephrata
   
1/29
7:30 pm
Elizabethtown
at Lebanon
   
2/01
7:30 pm
Warwick
at Lebanon
   
2/05
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Conestoga Valley
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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