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BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – The Northern Lebanon boys’ basketball is close, and getting closer. But from a confidence standpoint, the Vikings really need to get over the proverbial hump.

Learning experiences can only take you so far.

On Wednesday night at Northern Lebanon High School, the Vikings played a more physical Garden Spot club tough, but endured a 52-46 Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three-Four crossover setback. After falling into an early hole, Northern Lebanon made a handful of runs at the Spartans, but each one ultimately fell short.

After opening the season with a victory, the loss was Northern Lebanon’s fifth straight and dropped it to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in Section Four. The result pushed Garden Spot to 3-3 on the year and 1-2 in Section Three.

“Obviously our record is not good,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Chris George. “This is a game you’re a little worried about. Could this be a game that gets out of hand, just because of their (the Spartans’) size? But the kids battled. We don’t do moral victories, but we learn from wins and losses. Hopefully we can learn from this.

“It’s a tough start to the season,” added George. “We’re on the road seven of the first 11, and the teams we’re playing are mostly 5-A. So the schedule is tough.”

The Vikings never led, but they kept things interesting all night – especially in the final stanza.

An 8-0 Northern Lebanon run – comprised of a pair of Owen Treadway three-pointers and an Ethan Borcky stick-back – early in the fourth shaved a nine-point deficit to 39-38. Later, the Vikings closed to within 45-43 on a three-pointer from Peyton Wolfe, then to within 47-46 on Borcky’s trey with 39 seconds remaining.

But that would prove to be Northern Lebanon’s final score, as the Spartans went eight-for-12 at the charity stripe down the stretch.

“It felt like every possession they had from the end of the third quarter through the entire fourth quarter, they held the ball and made us come out after them,” said George. “We got some turnovers, but they also got some easy baskets. We did OK. We got some ‘stops’. It (playing from behind) changes the way you play. If we had gotten the lead, then they have to come after us.

“The defense was pretty good,” George added. “The game plan was just trying to be fiesty, with all their big guys and all our little guys. Early on, we had some breakdowns and I had to call a couple of timeouts.”

After trailing by seven points at the break, and as many as 11 points in the middle of the third quarter, Wolfe netted five straight points to pull the Vikings to within 36-30 of the lead. Wolfe drained a total of three ‘treys’ and led Northern Lebanon in scoring with 13 points.

The Vikings connected on eight three-point attempts as a team, but attempted only four foul shots. Garden Spot went ten-for17 at the charity stripe.

“It’s kind of a mix right now,” said George. “It’s been different guys every night. We’ve been trying to preach team work. Part of my job every night is ‘Who’s got it going?’

“We got a little more aggressive,” continued George. “We’re starting to slowly figure it out. We have ten or 11 kids in our rotation.”

Garden Spot tallied ten of the contest’s first 12 points. But behind four points from Simon Grimes, three-pointers by Wolfe and Alex Folmer and an inside bucket from Josh Clemmer, the Vikings pieced together a 12-6 spurt and closed to within 16-14 of ‘The Spot’ early in the second period.

“We’ve had a couple of tough ones early,” said George. “When you’re in that spot, you really just have to focus on getting better. It’s too early in the season to make rash decisions about your team. Tonight, we almost pulled one out. We had a couple of opportunities.”

With 3:19 of the second quarter remaining, Borcky nailed a jumper to make it a 22-18 game. But the Spartans led 27-20 at the intermission.

“We were hoping to compete in the section, but our section is loaded,” said George. “We have confidence we can compete in the section. I think this game was big for us. It reminds us we can compete. If we can hang around, maybe a shot goes our way.

“We just want to be in the mix,” concluded George. “This was good for us, as far as our goals go. If you can get seven or eight wins, you can start peaking at the district playoffs.”

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

2019-20 Northern Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Schedule

DateOpponentsOutcomes
12/06
6:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
Dover
at Bermudian Springs
55
51

Nonleague
12/07
TBD
Northern Lebanon
Camp Hill
at Bermudian Springs
40
89

Nonleague
12/10
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Williams Valley
48
50

Nonleague
12/13
7:30 pm
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Northern Lebanon
67
34

League
12/16
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Cocalico
38
55

League
12/18
7:30 pm
Garden Spot
at Northern Lebanon

League
12/20
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Solanco

League
12/27
TBD
Annville-Cleona
Northern Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon

Nonleague
12/28
TBD
TBA
Northern Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon

Nonleague
1/03
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic

League
1/07
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Pine Grove

Nonleague
1/10
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco

League
1/14
7:30 pm
Octorara
at Northern Lebanon

League
1/17
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Donegal

League
1/18
5:00 pm
Conrad Weiser
at Northern Lebanon

Nonleague
1/21
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon

League
1/23
7:30 pm
Manheim Central
at Northern Lebanon

League
1/25
6:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague
1/28
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon

League
1/31
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Octorara

League
2/01
7:00 pm
Palmyra
at Northern Lebanon

Nonleague
2/04
7:30 pm
Donegal
at Northern Lebanon

League

Lancaster-Lebanon League

Section Four Standings

LeagueOverall
WLPCTWLPCTPFPA
Elco301.000510.833377320
Lancaster Catholic201.000310.750211177
Octorara210.667420.667349301
Northern Lebanon030.000150.167261364
Donegal030.000060.000232343

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