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BY JEFF FALK

EPHRATA – Sure, they all sting. But this one really hurt, especially given the time of the year.

Still, it wasn’t critical. And the outlook moving forward is positive, and the prognosis includes bouncing back.

On Friday night at Ephrata Middle School, the Cedar Crest girls’ basketball team endured a key setback in its quest for the postseason, as it dropped a 55-50 decision to the home-standing Mountaineers. The contest was close throughout, never more than a possession or two either way, before Ephrata gained control of the outcome during crunch time.

With the loss, the Falcons slipped to 8-5 overall. In the latest District Three power rankings, Cedar Crest was seated tenth in an AAAAAA classification that takes 12 for its playoff tournament.

The result pushed Lancaster-Lebanon Section Two champion Ephrata to 9-3 on the year.

“This game was important for district seeding,” said Will Wenninger, who’s in the first year of his second stint as Cedar Crest’s head coach. “But even more important, it was for pride. Do you like losing at anything?

“We’re not into moral victories, but I think tonight showed we’re headed in the right direction,” added Wenninger. “For me, what we want to instill in the program is a certain culture, and it’s about pride. For the seniors, finishing strong is important to leave behind a legacy.”

After the two teams had stood toe-to-toe and exchanged blows for 28 minutes, it was Ephrata which made a few more plays when it mattered most. The Mounts outscored Cedar Crest 7-2 late in the fourth quarter, after Sarah Laney had pulled the Falcons to within 46-45 of the lead, with 4:20 remaining.

Mount sophomore guard Jasmine Griffin netted 11 of her game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter, but the backbreaker may have been Brynn Adams’ three-pointer with 2:30 left that gave Ephrata a 50-45 lead.

“We were down two or three, until that one kid (Adams) hit a ‘three’,” said Wenninger. “I told the kids we were going to roll the dice and try to take away Griffin.

“Our kids work hard and do the things we ask them to do,” Wenninger added. “As people, we couldn’t ask more of them. We’ll come back in 28 hours and get after it again.”

After they had enjoyed a modest two-point halftime margin, the Falcons went without a point over the first three minutes of the third quarter, and Ephrata assumed a 33-31 edge. Later in the stanza, Cedar Crest took a 37-35 advantage on a drive by Laney, then a 39-38 edge on another Laney basket, but it would prove to be the Falcons’ last lead of the evening.

“I thought we played hard,” said Wenninger. “I thought we executed much better than we have the last couple of weeks. It’s hard to prepare when you don’t practice, or you practice once a week. It’s hard to make adjustments, first year, new system, new culture. But no excuses.”

Griffin’s 31 came on 11 field goals and nine-for-14 free throwing, while Laney led the Falcons with 22 points. Ephrata attempted 12 more foul shots than Cedar Crest, and outscored the Falcons by five points at the stripe.

“Was she the difference? I hate to say one kid was the difference,” said Wenninger of Griffin. “But she took the game over. I don’t think it was just Griffin. It was a couple of missed lay-ups here, and a couple of made lay-ups there.

“She’s, hands down, the best guard in the Lancaster-Lebanon League,” continued Wenninger. “That’s no disrespect to our kids. I thought (CC’s Kaya) Camasta did a heck of a job on her. She can take over a game and I need to convey to our girls that we need to give help. I have to emphasize things in more of a distinct way.”

Ephrata’s biggest lead of the first half came at 13-7, five minutes into the contest. But Reese Glover tallied five Falcons points in 13 seconds to pull her side to within a single point of the lead.

“Defensively, I thought, at times, we did really well,” said Wenninger. “I think at times we had mental lapses, again because of a lack of preparation.”

In the middle of the second period, back-to-back baskets from Mallory Deiderick and Glover gave the Falcons a 26-22 advantage. Then 1:21 before the intermission, Laney scored on a stick-back to make Cedar Crest’s lead 29-24.

“I told the girls at halftime that we were exactly where we wanted to be,” said Wenninger. “I said that the first four minutes of the second half was going to determine it, and it was tied halfway through the third quarter.”

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

2021 Cedar Crest Girls’ Basketball Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
1/08
7:30 pm
Manheim Township
at Cedar Crest
23
36

League
1/14
7:30 pm
Hempfield
at Cedar Crest
36
28

League
1/19
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Penn Manor
45
27

League
1/21
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at McCaskey
55
39

League
1/27
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Palmyra
36
40

Nonleague
1/29
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Hempfield
52
44

League
1/30
6:00 pm
Wilson
at Cedar Crest
23
34

Nonleague
2/04
7:30 pm
Garden Spot
at Cedar Crest
31
35

Nonleague
2/05
7:30 pm
McCaskey
at Cedar Crest
33
34

League
2/09
8:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Township
33
43

League
2/11
8:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Elizabethtown
31
45

Nonleague
2/17
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
40
47

Nonleague
2/19
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Ephrata

Nonleague

PIAA District Three

Class AAAAAA Power Rankings

AAAAAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1Cumberland Valley13-0-0 0.827931 1.000000 0.617624 16.15 117.75 0.00 72.90
2Central Dauphin9-2-0 0.770130 0.882353 0.632968 11.25 112.70 1.50 65.35
3Governor Mifflin14-4-0 0.720012 0.841837 0.571115 16.50 156.20 3.10 117.30
4Red Lion11-4-0 0.718529 0.814241 0.601547 13.15 151.65 3.00 100.45
5Central York10-3-0 0.718397 0.819113 0.595301 12.00 146.95 2.65 99.90
6Hempfield (3)9-4-0 0.705836 0.783972 0.610336 11.25 111.60 3.10 71.25
7Ephrata8-3-0 0.698788 0.800000 0.575085 9.80 101.10 2.45 74.70
8Cedar Cliff8-5-0 0.691813 0.701107 0.680454 9.50 143.95 4.05 67.60
9Dallastown8-5-0 0.669947 0.690909 0.644328 9.50 147.10 4.25 81.20
10Cedar Crest8-4-0 0.664368 0.755725 0.552710 9.90 102.50 3.20 82.95
11Manheim Township8-7-0 0.649254 0.646865 0.652174 9.80 126.00 5.35 67.20
12Harrisburg5-5-0 0.617630 0.625000 0.608622 6.25 107.30 3.75 69.00
13Wilson (3)8-8-0 0.595804 0.586420 0.607274 9.50 156.95 6.70 101.50
14Carlisle5-5-0 0.593251 0.625000 0.554447 6.25 63.90 3.75 51.35
15Warwick5-5-0 0.576603 0.608911 0.537114 6.15 102.75 3.95 88.55
16Penn Manor4-6-0 0.569895 0.515789 0.636025 4.90 128.00 4.60 73.25
17William Penn6-9-0 0.528315 0.498270 0.565037 7.20 136.40 7.25 105.00
18Chambersburg Area4-9-0 0.520773 0.408511 0.657982 4.80 128.80 6.95 66.95
19Reading6-10-0 0.513327 0.469799 0.566529 7.00 137.10 7.90 104.90
20Conestoga Valley2-5-0 0.474927 0.390244 0.578428 2.40 90.90 3.75 66.25
21Muhlenberg5-13-0 0.441991 0.326590 0.583038 5.65 197.30 11.65 141.10
22Lebanon2-11-0 0.403592 0.199095 0.653532 2.20 140.15 8.85 74.30
23York County School of Technology5-9-0 0.370315 0.366667 0.374774 4.95 82.90 8.55 138.30
24J P McCaskey1-10-0 0.364242 0.142857 0.634822 1.25 117.95 7.50 67.85
25Central Dauphin East0-15-0 0.320426 0.000000 0.712057 0.00 159.75 11.45 64.60

Lancaster-Lebanon League

Section One Standings

LeagueOverall
WLPCTWLPCTPFPA
Hempfield710.8751140.733660523
Cedar Crest520.714850.615516478
Manheim Township530.625870.533555510
Penn Manor250.286470.364466468
McCaskey080.0001100.091379581

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