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IMG_8803BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – Instilled or inherited? The source really isn’t all that important.

The current version of the Northern Lebanon girls’ basketball team isn’t as talented as its predecessor. But the new Vikings have just as much spunk, just much as much grit, just as much toughness.

On Monday night at Northern Lebanon High School, the Vikings made the most of thier intestinal fortitude to knock off a talented Lebanon Catholic squad 57-51, in a pretty good early season test for both sides. Northern Lebanon turned the intensity up on the Beavers in the second half, when it outscored them 34-23.

It was the most complete outing to date for a Viking team that was supposed to be rebuilding. Northern Lebanon improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, while the result made Lebanon Catholic 2-3 on the year and 1-1 in the circuit.

IMG_8761Northern Lebanon, the two-time reigning L-L Section Three champs, captured last season’s District Three Class AAAA title with a distinctly different cast. Lebanon Catholic has everyone back from a club that won District Three and PIAA Class A championships a year ago.

“I think they’ve (his players) been around so long and been conditioned that they’re supposed to die before they fail,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Ken Battistelli, himself quite possibly the originator. “I think they’ve learned that together. Day in and day out, that’s what we preach. Maybe they’re better than people think. I thought they showed an immense amount of heart for a young team.

“What this means to me is that now they’ve (his players) shown what we’re capable of,” continued Battistelli. “Anything but progress from here on is a step back. We’re not allowed to (stink), and we’re not going to. I found out a lot about my team, and it really makes me feel happy. I’m looking forward to moving ahead.”

“We played OK,” said Lebanon Catholic head coach Patti Hower. “We can play better. They’re (the Vikings) physical. They were pushing and shoving all game. We knew they were very physical. They have two really nice players.

“It’s a league game,” Hower continued. “The most important thing was it was a section game. Nobody’s going to beat Lancaster Catholic. You’ve got to stay unbeaten just to have a shot.”

IMG_8701With steals, turnovers and missed opportunities on both ends, the outcome was very much in doubt with 53 seconds remaining, when senior Taylor Bossert drained a three-pointer to pull Lebanon Catholic to within 51-49. But Vikings Liz Voight and Zara Zerman drilled six pressure-packed free throws to ice it.

It was Voight and Zerman who had spearheaded a key 8-0 run early in the final quarter that gave the Vikings a 46-39 advantage.

“The biggest thing for us was our shot selection,” said Battistelli. “If it (a rebound) lands in one of their (the Beavers’) hands, they go like a missile. We knew we were at a massive disadvantage there. Defensively, we need to be together as a team.

“This was important because we know how good they are,” added Battistelli. “They are an amazing basketball team. We’d like to consider ourselves a good basketball team. They (the Beavers) are very, very, very good. Tonight my kids stepped up. I don’t know if we can do it again.”

“I thought we did very well defensively,” said Hower. “But we didn’t execute offensively. That’s to their (the Vikings’) credit. That’s what they made us do.

“They (the Vikings) don’t have the inside game they had last year,” Hower added. “They have two guards, and they’re very good. They shoot well from the outside.”

IMG_8764Down five points at the break, Northern Lebanon emerged from the locker room and hit the Beavers with eight straight points – on a pair of buckets from RaeAnn Lessing, a Zerman pull-up and charity tosses from Voight and Lindsay McFeaters – to forge a 33-30 edge. But on buckets from Celine Mars and Alexis Hill, Lebanon Catholic notched the final four points of the third stanza to grab a 37-36 margin.

“I thought we played great,” said Battistelli. “It’s girls’ basketball. People who have seen us play know it’s not always pretty. This game had some ups and downs. For us to take punches and not fold at all was pretty impressive.

“We were shaky in the first half with our defensive game plan,” Battistelli continued. “After halftime, I think we were better. The determination and passion was apparent. They (his players) didn’t fold.”

“You want the county rivalries,” said Hower. “It’s kind of the end of the road for us with county rivalries.

“Right now, it’s (the section championship) our main goal,” continued Hower. “It’s going to be tough now.”

On seven field goals and ten-for-11 free throwing, Voight paced all scorers with 25 points. Zerman checked in with 18 points, while Jasmine Turner struck for 16 Lebanon Catholic points and Hill tallied ten.

IMG_8832Northern Lebanon outscored Lebanon Catholic 19-8 at the foul stripe.

“To me, it felt like we were playing against women,” said Battistelli. “Those kids (the Beavers) are big and strong. Age and experience makes a difference.

“But we’ve got some kids who can play too,” added Battistelli.

“They were throwing us all over the place,” said Hower of the Vikings. “They’re just more physical than us. They did a great job of boxing out. We talked about it. They made everything and they made their foul shots.”

IMG_8814On the strength of a Neesha Pierre put-back, a pair of Hill free throws and an old-fashioned three-point play from Mars, Lebanon Catholic notched the first seven points of the contest. The Vikings’ response came in the form of a Voight-Zerman inspired 13-4 run that gave them a 13-11 lead.

“What I think deep down is irrelevant,” said Battistelli. “We have a way of thinking, a standard, we are not allowed to fail. They’re just little kids, but they believe. This team has not played in 27 playoff games.

“To play in this environment, they lifted their chins,” added Battistelli. “Grind, grind, grind. We tell them (his players) all kinds of stuff. We had enough spurts on offense.”

“I think we can play better,” said Hower. “You certainly want your record to be better. At this point, you’ve got to want to get better.”

The Beavers closed out the first half with a 7-0 run to take a 28-23 advantage to the intermission. Turner knocked down a three-pointer and canned a jumper, and Mars laid in a deuce.

“Maybe a little bit,” said Hower of the pressure that comes with defending a state championship. “I don’t know what goes through teenage girls’ minds. We’re everybody’s big game.”

 

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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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Northern Lebanon 57, Lebanon Catholic 51

Lebanon Catholic (51)
Turner 6 2-3 16, Bossert 3 3-3 12, Hill 4 2-2 10, Mars 4 1-1 9, Pierre 2 0-3 4, Shellehamer 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 8-12 51.

Northern Lebanon (57)
Voight 7 10-11 25, Zerman 6 5-7 18, Ray 2 3-4 7, Lessing 2 0-1 4, Hubbard 1 0-0 2, McFeaters 0 1-2 1, Kelliher 0  0-0 0. Totals: 18 19-25 57.

Lebanon Catholic 15 13 9 14 – 51
Northern Lebanon 13 10 13 21 – 57

3-point field goals: LC – Bossert 3, Turner 2, NL – Voight, Zerman

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2017-18 Lebanon Catholic Girls’ Basketball Schedule

Date Teams Score
12/11
7:30 pm
Mahanoy Area
at Lebanon Catholic
61
51
12/13
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Trinity
66
69
12/15
7:00 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Pequea Valley
71
53
12/16
6:00 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Christian School of York
62
41
12/18
6:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon Catholic
12/20
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lebanon Catholic
12/22
6:00 pm
High Point Baptist
at Lebanon Catholic
12/27
6:30 pm
Marian Catholic
at Lebanon Catholic
12/29
7:30 pm
Mount Calvary
Lebanon Catholic
at Lebanon Catholic Tournament
12/30
TBD
TBD
Lebanon Catholic
at Lebanon Catholic Tournament
1/02
7:30 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Lebanon Catholic
1/05
7:30 pm
Columbia
at Lebanon Catholic
1/09
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Lancaster Catholic
1/11
6:00 pm
Veritas Academy
at Lebanon Catholic
1/12
6:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lebanon Catholic
1/16
7:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Lebanon Catholic
1/19
8:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon Catholic
1/23
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Elco
1/26
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Lancaster Mennonite
1/30
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Columbia
2/02
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Lebanon Catholic
2/06
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Annville-Cleona

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IMG_85822017-18 Northern Lebanon Girls’ Basketball Schedule

Date Teams Score
12/08
6:45 pm
Kennard-Dale
Northern Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon Tournament
19
39
12/09
6:45 pm
Palmyra
Northern Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon Tournament
38
35
12/12
7:30 pm
Middletown
at Northern Lebanon
42
56
12/15
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
44
19
12/18
6:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon Catholic
12/20
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Columbia
12/22
7:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Northern Lebanon
12/27
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
Lebanon
at Lebanon Tournament
12/28
TBD
Northern Lebanon
TBD
at Lebanon Tournament
1/03
7:30 pm
Garden Spot
at Northern Lebanon
1/05
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
1/09
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Mennonite
1/12
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
1/16
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
1/19
8:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon Catholic
1/20
1:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Tulpehocken
1/23
7:30 pm
Columbia
at Northern Lebanon
1/25
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Manheim Central
1/26
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Pequea Valley
1/30
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic
2/02
7:30 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Northern Lebanon
2/06
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon

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One thought on “With Their Will, Vikings Find a Way

  1. Nice article Jeff! Glad to see an informative piece on a local sports event again. The way it should be. Merry Christmas!

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