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IMG_1382BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – Can we be too competitive? Are there limits to what we can ask of our student-athletes?

Every time the Northern Lebanon girls’ basketball team steps on the court it explores the boundaries of competitiveness. Last night we discovered that there are limits’ to the usefulness of that competitiveness.

On Wednesday night at Northern Lebanon High School, the Vikings’ competitive spirit was no match for a bigger, more talented and more seasoned Lancaster Catholic club, as the Crusaders registered a resounding 51-25 road win. Though Northern Lebanon certainly didn’t play its best game, some or most of that could be attributed to the opponent.

After getting off to a slow start, the Vikings hung with the Crusaders for most of the first half. But Lancaster Catholic came out after halftime and erased any doubts which team was better on this particular night.

The result erased Northern Lebanon’s personal four-game winning streak over Lancaster Catholic, one that dated back a couple of years. It also snapped the Vikings’ nine-game win streak this season and gave the Crusaders a leg up atop the Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three standings.

IMG_1358Northern Lebanon, the two-time defending section champion, slipped to 10-2 overall and 5-1 in the section. Lancaster Catholic improved to 11-0 on the year and 6-0 in the circuit.

“There probably is a limit,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Ken Battistelli. “I don’t ever pretend to be that smart. You’ve got to go with what you see and fell. You’re constantly trying to get them to do more. With my kids, I think they’ve been conditioned that I can’t push too hard. It’s never been different. I think we balance that with a lot of good things.

“Can you push too hard”, Battistelli continued. “I think you can. I think there’s probably been some times when I have. I definitely don’t clam to have all the answers. I try to be honest and listen. If you think they can do more, you’re probably right. If they think they can do more, they’re probably right. We’ll bounce back. We’ll learn and we’ll do the things we need to do to get better. It’s not like we got pounded by a bunch of saps.”

The Crusaders netted the first two baskets of the game and opened a 10-2 lead 5:30 in. Northern Lebanon never led.

“I think it’s a matter of them being a very tough, physical team,” said Battistelli of the Crusaders. “We weren’t ready to handle this. They’re so fast and strong and physical. A lot of it has to do with our mental stability, or the lack thereof.

IMG_1260“At no point did we operate with any sense of comfort,” continued Battistelli. “The reasons are two-fold. They’re (the Crusaders) tough, strong, athletic kids. The environment, the setting, got to us. In some situations, we handled some things well. We didn’t handle some things effectively.”

The Vikings did pull to within 10-7 of Lancaster Catholic’s lead early in the second stanza, when Zara Zerman nailed a triple and then converted a couple of charity tosses. But the Crusaders response was decisive and immediate, and it came in the form of an 8-2 burst that gave them an 18-9 intermission advantage.

“In the first half, we played pretty good defense,” said Battistelli. “For the most part, we did what we needed to do. But it never seemed like we ran our offense. We let the stage affect us. In the second half, we stopped doing our things.

“They (the Crusaders) are playing well,” Battistelli. “They have a nice mix of players. They’re a handful.”

Offensively, the Vikings managed just six total field goals, half of which came inside the arc. Northern Lebanon was also a woeful nine-for-20 from the foul line.

Zerman popped for 11 points and teammate Liz Vought registered ten. Lancaster Catholic superstar Kiki Jefferson poured in a game-high 22 points.

The Vikings were guilty of 22 turnovers. Lancaster Catholic also out rebounded Northern Lebanon 28-17.

“It didn’t bother them (the Crusaders) because they played a different team,” said Battistelli of the recent rivalry with Lancaster Catholic. “It’s like apples and oranges. This team (the Vikings) cares about their own identity. We try never to think about them (the Crusaders) or talk about them. I think our kids were frustrated for the first three minutes.

“I think with our kids, it definitely wasn’t over-confidence,” added Battistelli. “It was almost a burden to live up to a certain standard. For us to do what we needed to do, we needed to function at a different level. We’ll see if they (his players) want to go to a darker place. It’s a process to get there. This team has done a lot of good stuff. But this team wasn’t ready for this.”

Jefferson took over in the third quarter. She scored 11 straight Lancaster Catholic points, all on moves around the basket, and the Crusaders opened a 31-17 advantage, with 3:53 left in the period.

IMG_1252Lancaster Catholic carried a 38-20 bulge into the final eight minutes of play.

“I think that was when we were mentally breaking down,” said Battitselli of Jefferson. ‘The thing with her is there’s no margin for error. If you make a mistake, it’s a lay-up. I thought we did a pretty good job of defending her. When you’re not completely aware of where she is, she scores.”

The Crusaders did not relent in the final period, pushing their lead to 47-22 on an old-fashioned three-point play from Jefferson.

 

 

 

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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 Girls’ Basketball Schedule

Date Teams Results
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
57
52
12/20
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Columbia
51
39
12/22
7:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Northern Lebanon
53
65
12/27
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
Lebanon
at Lebanon Tournament
51
15
12/28
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
New Oxford
at Lebanon Tournament
49
38
1/03
7:30 pm
Garden Spot
at Northern Lebanon
39
59
1/09
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Mennonite
58
48
1/10
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
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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 PIAA District Three
 Class AAAA Power Rankings
AAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP  TWPW  OWPW  TWPL  OWPL
1 Lancaster Catholic 9- 0- 0  0.812897  1.000000  0.584215  9.3  127.0  0.0  90.4
2 Bishop McDevitt 10- 2- 0  0.765441  0.877863  0.628037  11.5  140.9  1.6  83.5
3 Northern Lebanon 10- 1- 0  0.724144  0.921659  0.482737  10.0  113.3  0.9  121.4
4 Berks Catholic 6- 1- 0  0.709653  0.862745  0.522542  6.6  99.1  1.1  90.6
5 Wyomissing 10- 1- 0  0.698307  0.914027  0.434648  10.1  91.5  1.0  119.0
6 Kennard Dale 5- 3- 0  0.635364  0.680723  0.579925  5.7  131.2  2.7  95.0
7 York Suburban 6- 4- 0  0.623915  0.663366  0.575697  6.7  129.1  3.4  95.2
8 Eastern York 5- 5- 0  0.583556  0.552885  0.621043  5.8  136.4  4.7  83.2
9 Schuylkill Valley 7- 4- 0  0.556542  0.643836  0.449849  7.1  96.7  3.9  118.2
10 West Perry 7- 4- 0  0.555826  0.627907  0.467727  6.8  101.5  4.0  115.5
11 Susquehanna Township 3- 5- 0  0.515107  0.420000  0.631348  3.2  158.5  4.4  92.6
12 Bermudian Springs 5- 5- 0  0.508351  0.510101  0.506213  5.1  110.0  4.9  107.3
13 Eastern Lebanon County 5- 6- 0  0.507907  0.467249  0.557601  5.4  128.8  6.1  102.2
14 James Buchanan 3- 7- 0  0.403216  0.367021  0.447454  3.5  96.7  6.0  119.4
15 Lancaster Mennonite 3- 9- 0  0.386034  0.226496  0.581025  2.7  133.2  9.1  96.1
16 Littlestown 3- 8- 0  0.373174  0.263158  0.507638  2.8  108.0  7.7  104.8
17 Boiling Springs 2- 10- 0  0.331526  0.194915  0.498494  2.3  99.3  9.5  99.9
18 East Pennsboro 1- 7- 0  0.308303  0.134615  0.520588  1.1  117.0  6.8  107.7
19 Hamburg 1- 9- 0  0.288963  0.093137  0.528306  1.0  108.3  9.3  96.7
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Lancaster-Lebanon League
 Section Three Standings
League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT PF PA
Lancaster Catholic 6 0 100.00 11 0 100.00 668 354
Northern Lebanon 5 1 83.33 10 2 83.33 589 453
Lebanon Catholic 4 2 66.67 9 4 69.23 823 588
Columbia 3 3 50.00 6 6 50.00 510 620
Pequea Valley 2 3 40.00 6 4 60.00 621 503
Elco 2 3 40.00 5 6 45.45 480 482
Lancaster Mennonite 0 5 0.00 3 9 25.00 552 678
Annville-Cleona 0 5 0.00 2 8 20.00 248 389

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