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IMG_9110BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – They say that what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. Well right now, the Lebanon girls’ basketball has a lot to fight through.

And on the other side, the Cedars will be better for it – in one way or another.

On Tuesday night, during the consolation game of its own booster club’s holiday tournament, Lebanon’s concerns deepened, thanks to a 50-44 defeat at the hands of Garden Spot. After Lebanon had gone back and forth with the Spartans, Garden Spot established an eight-point advantage in the third quarter that it refused to relinquish.

IMG_9092The Cedars played a majority of the contest without star forward Alexis Hill, who spent a good portion of her evening between the floor, the bench and the trainer’s table, because of an early injury to her back. But time and time again, Lebanon’s man-to-man defense was beaten off the dribble, and the Cedars struggled to provide help away from plays.

The setback was the Cedars’ fifth in their last six outings and dropped Lebanon High to 4-6 on the campaign. It also represented the first time in recent memory that Lebanon did not win a game in its own Christmas event.

With the triumph, Garden Spot improved to 3-8 overall.

IMG_9145“I said we’ve got to be positive, because we’re still in first place (in Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon League),” said Lebanon head coach Ben Brewer of his post-game address to the troops. “We’ve got to take the positives out of it. We had girls step up. We have to stick together and fight through some growing pains.”

Despite Hill’s availability and their defensive shortcomings, the Cedars were very much in the contest with 1:11 to go, when Jasmine Turner drained a three-pointer to pull the home team within 48-44. But Lebanon misfired on at least four good looks in the final 38 seconds, and Garden Spot put the outcome out of reach with a Kayla Harley-Smith bucket.

“They defended better than we did,” said Brewer of the Spartans. “We knew what we were supposed to be doing, but they (the Spartans) scored a lot of buckets inside. But we still had the fight. That’s the sign of a team coming together.

IMG_9125“It’s not following fundamental rules,” Brewer continued. “They (the Spartans) run their offense very compact. They were able to get the ball inside. That’s what happens when you play a team that has all five starters returning.”

Following the see-saw first half, Hill drew Lebanon to within 26-24, on a lay-up two minutes into the third quarter. But Garden Spot hit the Cedars with a 10-4 spurt over the next five minutes to push its advantage to 36-28.

With 2:22 left, Lebanon was still within striking distance, down 46-41, after a steal and lay-in from Ary’Anna Ortolazo.

IMG_9124“I think she tweaked it, but she’s going to be alright,” said Brewer of Hill’s first-half back injury. “She wasn’t 100 percent. She went from the floor to the training table. Give her credit for trying to fight through it. With the league schedule coming up, we wanted to be careful, because we need her.”

Alicia Houser came off the Cedar pines to tally 13 points, and Hill connected for 11. Ortolazo represented the Cedars on the all-tournament team.

Penn Manor notched 31 of its total points from the foul line in.

“It’s a transition for all of us,” said Brewer. “Not only does the team rely on her (Hill) for points, she’s the focus of the other team’s defense. While I appreciated Brittany Ulrich and Alicia Haitos last year, I appreciate them even more now. It’s evident how good of leaders they were.

“We’re young,” Brewer continued. “We don’t have anyone with more than a year of varsity experience. We need to stay together, support each other and trust in the coaches.”

IMG_9156The opening half featured six lead changes.

Lebanon’s biggest lead came at 8-4, courtesy of Ortolazo’s conversion of an in-bounds play. Garden Spot enjoyed a 24-20 cushion 45 seconds before the break.

“I was looking at our stats and we lead our opponents in every category except three-point shooting, free throw shooting and turnovers – and that includes points,” said Brewer. “To do all that and be 4-5, that tells me we’re shooting well enough. To me, it’s turnovers. We’re good shooters, we just need more confidence. And I like defense. We can always be better defensively.”

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

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG_91152015-16 Lebanon Girls’ Basketball Schedule 

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/04 #
@Muhlenberg
7:30 PM L 35-36
12/05
Reading
6:00 PM W 54-38
12/11 *
@Manheim Twp.
6:00 PM W 47-46
12/14 *
@Penn Manor
7:30 PM W 45-43
12/16 *
Warwick
7:30 PM L 42-50
12/18 *
Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM L 36-44
12/21 *
@Ephrata
7:30 PM L 37-44
12/23 *
Solanco
7:30 PM W 50-34
12/28 #
Lebanon Catholic
7:30 PM L 45-51
12/29
Garden Spot
6:00 PM L 44-50
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
01/02
Governor Mifflin
12:00 PM Lebanon High School
01/05 *
Elizabethtown
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/08 *
@Garden Spot
7:30 PM Garden Spot High School
01/11 *
@Hempfield
7:30 PM Hempfield High School
01/13 *
McCaskey
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/14 *
Cedar Crest
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/19 *
@Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM Conestoga Valley High School
01/22 *
Ephrata
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/25 *
@Solanco
7:30 PM Solanco High School
01/28 *
@Elizabethtown
7:30 PM Elizabethtown High School
02/02 *
Garden Spot
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
02/04
Hershey
7:30 PM Lebanon High School

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