Lebanon Sports Buzz
Breaking News

IMG_8267BY JEFF FALK

PALMYRA – As the playoffs quickly approach, there is a level of concern swirling around the Palmyra girls’ basketball team. Not because the Cougars might not live up to some preseason standard or that they may not attain some stated goal, but because they might not become the team they are capable of.

Palmyra will enter a once promising postseason surrounded by questions and on a down note, in light of Tuesday’s 54-43 home loss at the hands of rival Hershey. The regular-season finale wasn’t as competitive as the final score might indicate, as the Cougars once again struggled offensively and Hershey shredded Palmyra’s vaunted fullcourt pressure, time and time again.

Palmyra never led, and with their second win over it this season, the Trojans snapped the Cougars’ 39-game home winning streak. The outcome also ended Palmyra’s three-season reign as Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division champions, as well as its tenure as overall Mid-Penn champs.

IMG_8331The Cougars, now 19-3 overall and 13-3 in the Keystone, will see their next action on Wednesday, February 19th when they host an opening round game in the District Three Class AAA tournament, probably as the second seed. Hershey, which had edged Palmyra 39-38 on Jan. 8, moved to 14-7 on the year and 10-6 in the conference.

“How concerned am I?,” said Palmyra head coach Ron Berman. ‘It’s not life or death. But what may determine how far we go in the postseason is our offensive execution. I don’t know if we can improve our individual offensive skills that quickly. But we have to do a better job of finishing. We rush a lot of shots.

“Our goal for the playoffs is to obviously get in and get back to playing good Lady Cougar basketball,” Berman continued. ‘If that’s good enough, hopefully we’ll advance. We’re 19-3 and finished second in our division. Now we’ve got to get away from it and regroup. We’ve just got to get better. But I don’t know how much better we’ve gotten in January.”

After the Cougars trailed 23-13 at the break, last night’s outcome was probably decided in the third quarter when Hershey outscored them 16-7 to lengthen its lead to 19 points. That lead reached 41-20 when the Trojans netted the first bucket of the final quarter.

IMG_8301‘I’m disappointed,” said Berman. “I didn’t think we had a real good effort tonight. We made way too many defensive mistakes early in the game. I wasn’t surprised by the offensive mistakes. (Trojan) Gabriela Blackburn is a very good player and we knew she was going to get her’s. We just gave up way too many ‘other’ baskets. When you’re playing such a good ball handling team, you don’t want to be behind the whole second half.

“When things aren’t going as well as you want, you always look at the effort,” added Berman. “I don’t think it was like we didn’t want to win. But any time I thought we were going to make a run, we made a mistake.”

IMG_8342When the Cougars did make their runs in the second half, it was too late.

Off a Richardson jumper, a steal and lay-in from Maria Tukis, a steal and lay-in by Katie McClellan and then a charity toss from McClellan, Palmyra tallied seven points in 34 seconds in the middle of the fourth quarter. But by that time, Hershey was sitting on a 46-24 cushion.

The closest Palmyra would come was 52-41, courtesy of a Josie Stovall foul shot, with 1:09 to go.

“First of all, we lost our home winning streak, which was almost four years long,” said Berman. “We always feel like we have to win at home. We didn’t, and we didn’t play great. On the road, you can make more excuses.

IMG_8221“I thought we played a great game on Friday against Trinity, in every aspect,” continued Berman. “But then we had a light practice on Saturday, and it was good. Monday we were snowed out. When you’re playing against a zone as good as their’s, we’ve got to shoot the ball better.”

With 13 points, Richardson was the only Cougar scorer to reach double figures. Hershey held Palmyra to single-digit scoring in each of the first three quarters.

Hershey tallied 20 two-point baskets, many of which were scored from in-close.

“At times, Carly is trying to do a little more than she’s capable of,” said Berman. “Other times, she doesn’t seemed as relaxed. And sometimes she’s trying to carry us. Again, we don’t have as good a supporting cast around her. Last year, we had four very good offensive players. This year, besides Carly, we don’t have many.

IMG_8222“I’m confident we can continue to play very good defense,” Berman continued. “Our offensive execution is our number-one concern.”

Palmyra didn’t score for the first five minutes of the game, and Hershey’s seven straight points put the Cougars behind the eight-ball right out of the gate. But the Cougars ‘D-ed it up’, clawed back and pulled to within 11-9 on a jumper from Stovall two minutes into the second stanza.

The Trojans responded with a 12-4 burst to end the half, and took a ten-point margin to intermission.

IMG_8328“It bothers me more that we lost,” said Berman of relinquishing the Keystone crown to Mechanicsburg. “Mechanicsburg deserves everything they get. I’ve got nothing but praise for Mechanicsburg. It was disappointing we didn’t win.

“We knew that (Hershey needed to win to enhance its playoff standing),” added Berman. “But I don’t know if they wanted it more. They just executed better. They did everything a little better than we did. It might be the most points we’ve given up all year. And we shot poorly.”


Mid-Penn Conference

 Keystone Division Standings

x-Mechanicsburg 14 – 1 – 0 18 – 2 – 0
Palmyra 13 – 3 – 0 19 – 3 – 0
Hershey 10 – 6 – 0 14 – 7 – 0
Trinity 8 – 7 – 0 9 – 10 – 0
Lower Dauphin 7 – 7 – 0 10 – 10 – 0
Susquehanna Twp. 6 – 8 – 0 8 – 12 – 0
Red Land 5 – 10 – 0 8 – 12 – 0
Bishop McDevitt 4 – 12 – 0 4 – 14 – 0
Cedar Cliff 1 – 14 – 0 3 – 17 – 0

x-clinched division crown

 

IMG_8231District Three

 Class AAA Power Rankings

RANK SCHOOL NAME POWER RANKING TWWP (55%) OWWP (45%) 

1 Susquehannock (17-3) 0.790322 0.897321 (20.1-2.3) 0.659545 (284-146.6)
2 Palmyra Area (19-2) 0.783024 0.941909 (22.7-1.4) 0.588832 (243.6-170.1)
3 Greencastle Antrim (19-0) 0.756991 1.000000 (21.9-0) 0.459980 (181.6-213.2)
4 Fleetwood Area (17-2) 0.756312 0.913043 (18.9-1.8) 0.564751 (221.1-170.4)
5 Lancaster Catholic (19-1) 0.727928 0.966019 (19.9-0.7) 0.436926 (166.6-214.7)
6 Berks Catholic (15-4) 0.724344 0.813953 (17.5-4) 0.614822 (243.9-152.8)
7 West York Area (14-7) 0.709632 0.751092 (17.2-5.7) 0.658960 (285-147.5)
IMG_83338 Middletown Area (18-3) 0.708831 0.875576 (19-2.7) 0.505031 (205.8-201.7)
9 Conrad Weiser (14-5) 0.701361 0.776119 (15.6-4.5) 0.609990 (247.9-158.5)
10 Susquenita (17-4) 0.668988 0.809045 (16.1-3.8) 0.497807 (204.3-206.1)
11 West Perry (15-5) 0.663501 0.770408 (15.1-4.5) 0.532836 (221.5-194.2)
12 Eastern York (14-7) 0.646875 0.720379 (15.2-5.9) 0.557036 (238.3-189.5)
13 Eastern Lebanon County(ELCO) (12-7) 0.640343 0.703911 (12.6-5.3) 0.562648 (213.3-165.8)
14 Hamburg Area (13-8) 0.621630 0.658537 (13.5-7) 0.576523 (232.8-171)
15 Gettysburg Area (12-8) 0.617455 0.679612 (14-6.6) 0.541486 (224.5-190.1)
16 Donegal (11-7) 0.612026 0.632979 (11.9-6.9) 0.586416 (202.9-143.1)
17 Trinity (9-10) 0.605123 0.564767 (10.9-8.4) 0.654448 (255.3-134.8)
18 Northeastern (10-10) 0.603285 0.591398 (11-7.6) 0.617813 (262.2-162.2)
19 Susquehanna Township (8-12) 0.581139 0.505376 (9.4-9.2) 0.673739 (285.8-138.4)
20 York Suburban (8-13) 0.557624 0.492147 (9.4-9.7) 0.637651 (274.7-156.1)
21 James Buchanan (12-10) 0.554769 0.592593 (12.8-8.8) 0.508540 (211.4-204.3)
22 Big Spring (10-11) 0.553188 0.543779 (11.8-9.9) 0.564689 (237-182.7)
23 Boiling Springs (9-12) 0.531307 0.487685 (9.9-10.4) 0.584623 (249.4-177.2)
24 Bermudian Springs (10-10) 0.526191 0.529412 (10.8-9.6) 0.522255 (211.2-193.2)
25 East Pennsboro (9-11) 0.521536 0.479381 (9.3-10.1) 0.573059 (231-172.1)
26 Kennard Dale (7-13) 0.457602 0.403226 (7.5-11.1) 0.524062 (217.8-197.8)
27 Twin Valley (5-14) 0.438738 0.298246 (5.1-12) 0.610452 (241.8-154.3)
28 Schuylkill Valley (5-15) 0.431549 0.255682 (4.5-13.1) 0.646497 (263.9-144.3)
IMG_824829 Northern Lebanon (5-15) 0.406358 0.247253 (4.5-13.7) 0.600820 (234.5-155.8)
30 Northern York (4-15) 0.380435 0.240838 (4.6-14.5) 0.551054 (232.6-189.5)
31 Shippensburg Area (3-16) 0.367136 0.213873 (3.7-13.6) 0.554458 (224.5-180.4)
32 Littlestown (3-17) 0.310714 0.173684 (3.3-15.7) 0.478195 (188.6-205.8)
33 Milton Hershey (0-18) 0.293294 0.000000 (0-17) 0.651764 (242-129.3)

IMG_8229

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


3 × = twenty one