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IMG_9959BY JEFF FALK

SOUTH LEBANON – The Cedar Crest boys’ basketball team is ‘new money’. The Falcons have a history with the sport, but it’s a more recent one.

It’s an emerging tradition that doesn’t figure to go away any time soon. One that this current group of Falcons seems committed to fostering.

On Friday night at ‘The Cage’, Cedar Crest garnered the championship of its own holiday tournament by besting rival Lebanon 50-38 in the title tilt. The Falcons raced out to an early double-digit advantage and protected it throughout by playing stingy defense and making good decisions with the ball.

With the victory, Cedar Crest, now 8-2 overall, appears well on its way to its sixth straight winning season. In that time, the Falcons have qualified for five straight District Three tournaments, four Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs and won two Section One championships, two league championships and finished as the L-L runner-up twice.

IMG_9868Lebanon High, the owners of Lebanon County’s most storied basketball tradition, fell to 3-6 on the year.

The result marked the second time this season that the Falcons defeated the Cedars for the championship of a tournament. On December 9th, Cedar Crest defeated Lebanon 49-46 in the Cedar’s tip-off event.

“It feels awesome,” said Tom Smith, who’s in his eighth season as Cedar Crest’s head coach. “I don’t think about it too much. I didn’t do this by myself. I have great assistant coaches. We’ve just kind of changed the culture of Cedar Crest basketball. We’re not going to lower the bar. Anyone who enters the program is committing to us and that. After the season’s over, it’s very satisfying to look at our cool accomplishments. Our kids want to be good. We talk about being a basketball family, and that’s what we are.

IMG_9982“I think their (his current players’) story isn’t written yet,” continued Smith. “I think they’re super talented, one of the most talented groups I’ve coached. I do believe they are a product of the culture that was created. Our expectations are set at a young level, and I think that plays into what’s going on.”

“He’s done such a great job,” said Lebanon head coach Tim Speraw of Smith. “We’re crosstown rivals, and we see each other a lot. Our lower levels play each other too. He came in the same year as I did. He’s really built them into a team you don’t want to play. They’re (the Falcons) tough.

“They are who they are,” Speraw continued. “They have a veteran squad. They’re good. They don’t have many weaknesses. They were better than we were tonight.”

Last night’s outcome was all about the start, especially for a squad that’s been riding high and one that’s been struggling to find its consistency.

Falcon junior guard Logan Horn netted his team’s first seven points and it staked Cedar Crest to a 7-2 lead. Then on three points from Blake Thomson, another Horn three-pointer and a pair of Dylan Miller free throws, the Falcons ended the opening stanza on an 8-0 run and with a 17-3 lead.

“Obviously you want to get out to a good start,” said Smith. “I thought for the most part we kept our foot on the gas pedal. If we can play with a lead, with our defense, it’s important.

“We started the game like, ‘let’s take the fight to them’,” added Smith. “We got seven quick ones (points). And we always talk about the first three minutes of the second half as being critical, one way or the other.”

“We didn’t knock down shots early, and they (the Falcons) scored on their first six or seven possessions,” said Speraw. “They built a lead and held it. They’re an experienced group.

IMG_9906“I’m just proud of our effort and the way we fought back,” Speraw added. “After as disastrous a first quarter that you could have, we had another bad spurt in the third quarter that created separation. It is what it is. We move on.”

The Falcons’ second-quarter lead reached 27-9, on a trifecta from Cole Laney. But on the strength of four points by Sincere Scott and triples by Felix Kortright and Carlos Rivera, Lebanon netted the last ten points of the first half.

“I remember a lot of second-chance points,” said Smith of the latter portions of the second quarter. “They (the Cedars) were kicking the ball out for ‘threes’. They were working hard on the glass and giving themselves extra opportunities.

“My message at halftime was: ‘Clean it up a little bit,’” Smith continued. “I thought we had a good game plan and we were executing it. It was just rehashing our coaching points.”

“I think our focus was better,” said Speraw, referring to an uneven effort the night before. “The kids were more in tune. We just didn’t play well enough to win.

“I’ve been telling them (his players) ‘We’ve got to keep getting better’,” continued Speraw. “We’re not where we want to be.”

IMG_0140Just as he was at the Lebanon Tip-Off Tournament, Horn was selected as the event’s most valuable player, after pumping in 16 points. Horn was joined on the all-tournament team by Thomson, Luis Aquino-Rios and Kortright.

Cedar Crest outscored Lebanon 30-10 on two-point field goals.

“Logan’s really stepped up for us,” said Smith. “He’s really come on.

“Any time you play Lebanon, there’s a sense of pride,” Smith continued. “I don’t want to say preparation is easy. But these kids know their kids better than I do. They could give me a scouting report. It’s a fun game to be involved in. I tell them (his players): ‘Embrace the opportunity, embrace the atmosphere’. When you’re young, you dream about playing in this game.”

IMG_9939‘It’s tough to take them all away,” said Speraw of Cedar Crest’s multiple options. “We had some missed assignments and at times we didn’t close out fast enough. (Jason) Eberhart hurt us in the third quarter. Things like that can’t happen if you expect to beat good teams.”

Eberhart tallied Crest’s first seven points of the second half, as the Falcons were pushing their advantage to a dozen points. The Falcons followed that up with a 6-0 run fueled by Horn, Laney and Brandon Showers, and opened it up to 40-22.

“I wouldn’t say they’re underachieving,” said Smith of the Cedars. “They’re scrappy. If you lock down on their scorers, they’re going to struggle to score. But they play with a lot of energy.”

“I think we’re still figuring out roles, figuring out where we need to be with each other,” said Speraw. “I think there is a chemistry issue.”

The best the Cedars could do in the final period was two free throws by Scott and a driving lay-in from Jeremiah Beckley to get within 42-29 of the Falcons, with 5:47 remaining.

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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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Cedar Crest 50, Lebanon 38

Lebanon (38)
Beckley 1 0-0 2, L. Rivera 0 0-0 0, Porter 0 0-0 0, C. Rivera 1 0-0 3, Scott 2 5-6 9, Aquino-Rios 3 2-4 10, Kauffman 0 3-3 3, Apple 0 0-0 0, Kortright 4 0-0 11. Totals: 11 10-13 38.

Cedar Crest (50)
Thomson 3 2-4 8, Miller 2 2-2 7, Horn 7 0-1 16, Loehr 0 0-0 0, Dunlop 1 1-2 3, Showers 1 0-0 2, Laney 1 2-2 5, Eberhart  4 1-2 9. Totals: 19 8-13 50.

Lebanon 3 16 6 13 – 38
Cedar Crest 17 10 15 8 – 50

Three-point field goals: L – Kortright 3, Aquino-Rios 2, CC – Horn 2, Laney, Miller

 

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2017-18 Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Schedule

Date Teams Results
12/08
6:00 pm
Red Lion
at Lebanon
51
59
12/09
7:45 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
49
46
12/13
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Governor Mifflin
58
60
12/15
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Manheim Township
40
75
12/18
7:30 pm
McCaskey
at Lebanon
59
56
12/20
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Warwick
51
58
12/22
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Lebanon
31
44
12/28
6:00 pm
Lebanon
York Country Day
at Cedar Crest
58
48
12/29
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
1/05
7:30 pm
Conestoga Valley
at Lebanon
1/06
5:00 pm
Palmyra
Lebanon
at Lebanon Valley College
1/09
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Hempfield
1/12
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
1/16
7:30 pm
Manheim Township
at Lebanon
1/19
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at McCaskey
1/22
7:30 pm
Ephrata
at Lebanon
1/23
7:30 pm
Warwick
at Lebanon
1/26
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Lebanon
1/27
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Hershey
1/30
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Conestoga Valley
2/02
7:30 pm
Hempfield
at Lebanon
2/06
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
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2017-18 Cedar Crest Boys’ Basketball Schedule
Date Teams Results
12/08
7:45 pm
Cedar Crest
Elco
at Lebanon
68
44
12/09
7:45 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
49
46
12/11
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Central
57
39
12/14
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at McCaskey
61
46
12/15
TBD
Cedar Crest
York
at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
48
55
12/18
7:30 pm
Warwick
at Cedar Crest
40
52
12/20
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Conestoga Valley
73
39
12/22
7:30 pm
Manheim Township
at Cedar Crest
77
71
12/28
7:30 pm
Camp Hill
at Cedar Crest
49
70
12/29
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
1/05
7:30 pm
Hempfield
at Cedar Crest
1/06
7:00 pm
Lower Dauphin
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon Valley College
1/09
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Penn Manor
1/12
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
1/16
7:30 pm
McCaskey
at Cedar Crest
1/19
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Warwick
1/20
3:00 pm
Cedar Crest
Williamsport
at Reading
1/23
7:30 pm
Conestoga Valley
at Cedar Crest
1/26
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Township
1/30
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Hempfield
2/02
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Cedar Crest
2/06
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
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 IMG_0069Lancaster-Lebanon League
 Section One Standings
 
  League Overall
W L PCT W L PCT PF PA
Hempfield 4 0 100.00 9 0 100.00 545 367
Cedar Crest 3 1 75.00 8 2 80.00 599 473
Manheim Township 3 1 75.00 6 2 75.00 488 427
McCaskey 2 2 50.00 2 5 28.57 421 466
Conestoga Valley 1 3 25.00 5 5 50.00 528 565
Penn Manor 1 3 25.00 4 6 40.00 453 501
Lebanon 1 3 25.00 3 6 33.33 450 481
Warwick 1 3 25.00 2 7 22.22 481 507
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