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IMG_4096 BY JEFF FALK

LANCASTER – The Northern Lebanon boys’ basketball team is at a dangerous crossroad. The Vikings’ season can go one of two ways.

They can rebound and validate one of their best seasons in recent memory. Or they can allow things to slip away.

Success can be fleeting. Live in the moment, because at any time it can be taken away from you, even through no fault of your own.

On Friday night at Lancaster Mennonite High School, Northern Lebanon endured its second difficult loss in as many outings, a 66-43 road loss to the hometown Blazers. After playing a spirited first half, the Vikings were outscored 46-22 during the second 16 minutes of action.

IMG_4221The result came on the heels of a heart-breaking and controversial 55-54 double-overtime loss to Lancaster Catholic on Tuesday, one in which the Crusaders appeared to notch the game-winning basket after time expired. Should the Vikings, now 15-6 overall and 10-3 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, finish third in the section they would play Section One champion Hempfield in the upcoming Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs.

According to the latest power rankings, Northern Lebanon was the fourth best Class AAAA team in District Three.

The outcome all but assured Lancaster Mennonite, now 16-5 on the winter and 11-2 in the league, the runner-up spot in the section. Back on January 9th in Fredericksburg, the Vikings had edged the Blazers 63-62.

“It’s there for us,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Chris George. “Not looking too far ahead, this game had bigger district implications. It’s not like it’s going to get any easier. Districts for us is huge. We needed to win tonight to get a home game. Our goal is to make a little noise in the playoffs. We’re not going to have time to feel sorry for ourselves. But tonight is going to cost us. Hopefully we didn’t dip to seventh (in the power rankings), but it’s in our control. Now we’ve got to win games to get the right seed.

IMG_4132“The first time we played them, I thought we did a great job,” continued George. “Tonight we had some break-downs. I don’t think anyone played well for us. We’ve got to go back and regroup. It’s at the point of the year where almost every game is a playoff game. We were coming off a stretch where we played seven games in nine days.”

During the first half, the contest took on the feel of the first time the two sides met.

Six minutes in, Northern Lebanon enjoyed a 13-9 lead on a Caleb Light lay-in. And teammate Cameron Gensler beat the first-quarter buzzer with an inside move, to give the Vikings a 15-11 margin heading into the second.

“The goal this week was to get one,” said George. “The last time we had Lancaster Catholic and Lancaster Mennonite in the same week, we did. We thought we had one the other night, but we didn’t. But I thought we drew a confidence from that. I thought if we would see it (a letdown), we’d see it in the first half.

“I don’t want to say that (that there was a letdown),” George continued. “We had two really good practices since. We took something from the fact that we played with, or maybe out played, one of the better teams in the area.”

An Alex Yeager basket off an in-bounds play and a couple of charity tosses from Light tied the game at 19, three minutes into the second quarter. The Vikings took a 21-20 lead to the locker room courtesy of a driving lay-up by Michigan Daub.

“We just didn’t execute tonight, and they (the Blazers) played great defense,” said George. “It’s tough when you’re in these spots. It’s one of those things when you’re on the road. Sometimes I think you make more mistakes when you’re on the road.”

Daub tallied 12 points to lead the Vikings’ scoring, while Gensler popped for ten points. Lancaster Mennonite got 23 points from John Gillespie and 15 points from Roman Ali.

IMG_4186The Blazers outscored the Vikings 42-24 on field goals that came inside the arc.

“It was pretty simple,” said George. “Defensively, we had so many break-downs. When you turn the ball over, you put your defense in scramble situations. It piles up. They were scoring and we were losing focus. It wasn’t good on that half of the court.

“Caleb (Light) has been shouldering the load,” added George. “Obviously it wasn’t the best night for him.”

Lancaster Mennonite thoroughly out played Northern Lebanon in the second half.

A bucket from Daub two minutes into the third quarter knotted the game at 23. But Lancaster Mennonite notched the next eight points, and led 40-31 at the end of the stanza.

“This is a good team, but we weren’t sharp,” said George of the Blazers. “We got into foul trouble. Obviously the score is frustrating. The fact that it got away from us is disappointing. I was calling timeouts to try to stem the flow.

IMG_4196“We’ll play whoever (in the league playoffs),” George added. “We knew we were playing for second place tonight. That would’ve been nice. At the end of the day, you could say we were pretty darn close to being section champions.”

With the Vikings turning the ball over, the Blazers broke the game open in fourth quarter. Northern Lebanon went without a point for a 3:21 span early in the period, during which Lancaster Mennonite extended its lead to 53-33.

“It was a really tough call and clearly the clock  said 0.0, but it goes by the buzzer,” said George of the tough ending to Tuesday’s game. “It was crazy loud in there. I’m not saying they (the officials) got it wrong. Ideally, it doesn’t come down to that. It is what it is. It’s a tough way to lose. But I thought we got over it quickly. I thought defensively we were sharp early, but we were just no good in the second half.”

 

 

 

 

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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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2017-18 Northern Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Results

Date Opponents Results
12/08
6:00 pm
Palmyra
Northern Lebanon
at Donegal
37
49
12/09
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Donegal
52
55
12/13
7:30 pm
Conrad Weiser
at Northern Lebanon
59
67
12/15
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
59
63
12/18
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon Catholic
80
36
12/20
7:30 pm
Columbia
at Northern Lebanon
48
56
12/22
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Pequea Valley
83
45
12/27
7:30 pm
Daniel Boone
at Northern Lebanon
55
66
12/28
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Northern Lebanon
54
51
1/09
7:30 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Northern Lebanon
62
63
1/11
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic
38
61
1/12
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
44
45
1/18
7:30 pm
Middletown
at Northern Lebanon
71
61
1/19
7:30 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
35
76
1/20
2:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Tulpehocken
74
52
1/22
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
55
42
1/23
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Columbia
59
50
1/25
7:30 pm
Manheim Central
at Northern Lebanon
40
43
1/26
7:30 pm
Pequea Valley
at Northern Lebanon
23
67
1/30
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
55
54
2/02
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Mennonite
2/06
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
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 PIAA District Three
 Class AAAA Power Rankings
AAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP  TWPW  OWPW  TWPL  OWPL
1 Lancaster Catholic 18- 2- 0  0.736069  0.906404  0.527881  18.4  219.2  1.9  196.0
2 Berks Catholic 16- 2- 0  0.712950  0.896907  0.488114  17.4  169.4  2.0  177.7
3 Middletown 12- 6- 0  0.647430  0.689840  0.595596  12.9  232.9  5.8  158.1
4 Northern Lebanon 15- 5- 0  0.632453  0.768229  0.466505  14.8  191.9  4.5  219.4
5 Boiling Springs 11- 7- 0  0.625841  0.660326  0.583693  12.2  229.8  6.3  163.9
6 Kennard Dale 14- 5- 0  0.624993  0.773067  0.444014  15.5  183.2  4.6  229.4
7 Littlestown 13- 6- 0  0.604737  0.714286  0.470843  13.3  190.2  5.3  213.7
8 Bishop McDevitt 9- 9- 0  0.593344  0.572626  0.618666  10.3  254.6  7.7  156.9
9 Susquehanna Township 11- 10- 0  0.575000  0.577726  0.571668  12.5  238.3  9.1  178.6
10 Eastern Lebanon County 10- 10- 0  0.529421  0.515957  0.545876  9.7  229.4  9.1  190.8
11 Eastern York 9- 11- 0  0.529018  0.512887  0.548733  10.0  227.5  9.5  187.1
12 Biglerville 10- 9- 0  0.492288  0.528302  0.448272  9.8  179.6  8.8  221.1
13 Wyomissing 8- 11- 0  0.467953  0.456338  0.482149  8.1  197.9  9.7  212.5
14 James Buchanan 5- 15- 0  0.412941  0.265714  0.592884  4.7  240.8  12.9  165.4
15 Schuylkill Valley 7- 12- 0  0.408367  0.386301  0.435337  7.1  174.2  11.2  226.0
16 Bermudian Springs 2- 18- 0  0.314521  0.091398  0.587228  1.7  240.0  16.9  168.7
17 Oley Valley 3- 14- 0  0.311088  0.180428  0.470784  3.0  184.1  13.4  207.0
18 Hamburg 1- 18- 0  0.271954  0.056000  0.535897  1.1  220.2  17.7  190.7
19 Susquenita 0- 20- 0  0.223694  0.000000  0.497097  0.0  201.2  21.7  203.6
IMG_4193
 IMG_4227Lancaster-Lebanon League
 Section Three Standings
League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT PF PA
Lancaster Catholic 13 0 100.00 19 2 90.48 1292 933
Lancaster Mennonite 11 2 84.62 16 5 76.19 1324 1007
Northern Lebanon 10 3 76.92 15 6 71.43 1245 1042
Elco 8 5 61.54 11 10 52.38 1210 1109
Annville-Cleona 4 9 30.77 9 12 42.86 1136 1172
Columbia 4 9 30.77 7 12 36.84 1081 1085
Pequea Valley 2 11 15.38 3 18 14.29 884 1361
Lebanon Catholic 0 13 0.00 3 13 18.75 650 1061

 

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