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IMG_8925BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – Do you know the difference between nice people and good people? Conflict resolution.

OK, do you know the difference between romantic love and true love? Positive affirmation, accountability and another kind of love we have come to know as ‘tough love’.

Members of the Northern Lebanon girls’ basketball team express love to one another every time they’re together, and on Friday night exactly how the Vikings feel about each other was very apparent during a hard-fought, 44-31 home victory over Lebanon Catholic. With a raucous packed gymnasium creating an electric environment, Northern Lebanon pulled away from the Beavers down the stretch, after the two local foes had stood toe-to-toe and traded punches for about 28 minutes.

IMG_8803Fifteen games into the 2016-17 season, the Vikings have now beaten everyone they’ve played. Last night’s result avenged Northern Lebanon’s only setback to date, a 45-42 loss to the Beavers on Assumption Hill on December 19.

With the win, Northern Lebanon improved to 14-1 overall and 8-1 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. The outcome dropped Lebanon Catholic, now 11-5 on the year and 7-2 in the circuit, out of a first-place tie in the section.

“It’s stupid. But it’s just love,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Ken Battitelli of his troops’ unwavering consistency. “Or maybe I’m imagining it. I think the kids love each other. I think they love us coaches. They don’t want to let us down, and in turn, we don’t want to let them down. That’s why we prepare so hard. They enjoy it, and they’re petrified of failure. It ain’t easy getting a group of girls to play to the point of exhaustion every single night.

“If people want to see kids play hard, they should come and see us play,” continued Battistelli. “These kids try to do things the right way, on the court and off the court.”

“I thought we played well defensively,” said Lebanon Catholic head coach Patti Hower. “They (the Vikings) kind of pulled way at the end. We didn’t convert offensively. We played strong against a very strong team.

IMG_8929“We were tied for first place with them,” Hower continued. “Now we’ve just got to take care of our business. Obviously the winner of this game was going to be in the driver’s seat a little bit. You never know what’s going to happen, but we need some help. Going into the postseason, this is only going to happen.”

Northern Lebanon outscored Lebanon Catholic 18-7 in the fourth quarter.

With the game tied at 26, 20 seconds into the final period, the Vikings notched six straight points, on a Megan Brandt inside move, an Amber Kintzer jumper and a Zoe Zerman ‘jump stop’ in the lane. Northern Lebanon then spread the floor and became even more deliberate on offense, all the while continuing to play its trademark, physical man-to-man defense.

IMG_8804Over the game’s final 2:27, Northern Lebanon scored all but two of its points at the charity stripe, on eight-of-13 shooting.

“Terribly. Immeasurably so,” said Battistelli of the influence of the last encounter with the Beavers had on this one. “Because they beat us. We take a lot of pride in a lot of the things we do. They beat us, and sometimes we feel like we’re the champions of public schools. We don’t like to lose. If things hadn’t turned out right, these kids would’ve been distraught.

“That loss affected us so badly,” added Battistelli. “We did a lot of talking and soul-searching after that loss.”

“I don’t think it mattered,” said Hower of the effect of the previous meeting had on the most recent. “When we’re watching film and making adjustments, they’re watching film and making adjustments. They won this time and we won last time. We’re even. That’s the way I look at it.

“I’m pretty sure (Liz)  Voight didn’t have as many points the first time around,” Hower added. “She hit some nice outside shots tonight, and that made us extend our defense.”

IMG_8844Thanks to a three-pointer from Jasmine Turner, a couple of free throws from Celine Mars, a jumper from Jayden Shellehamer and an inside look from Neesha Pierre, Lebanon Catholic opened the second half on a 9-1 run and assumed a 24-20 lead. But the Vikings closed the third quarter with six unanswered points – three from Brandt, a short jumper by Zoe Zerman and a free throw by Cassiah Ray – to regain the lead.

“It wasn’t nothing but perseverance,” said Battistelli. “We couldn’t get anything going offensively. Our defense was working on a tremendous level. I thought Zoe made some incredibly huge shots down the stretch. And we got some incredibly huge rebounds – ones that were contested – down the stretch.

“Their whole team revolves around her (Alexis Hill),” added Battistelli. All we did was not allow her to get to the rim, in any situation. She is probably the most athletic kid I’ve ever coached against. I asked Zoe that under no circumstances was she allowed to get to the rim. She’s (Zoe Zerman) all heart and fight.”

“They’re a very, very good defensive team,” said Hower of the Vikings. “They’re very physical. Offensively, we’re getting there. It takes a little longer when you have new pieces. But it was hard to run the stuff we wanted to run.

“When they (the Vikings) got the lead, they were going to hold the ball,” Hower added. “I don’t feel like it was a 13-point loss. Neesha did a great job controlling the offense. But they (the Vikings) got that lead. That’s what we’ve got to hope doesn’t happen. But I thought we played well defensively.”

Voight’s game-high 12 points featured two three-pointers and four-for-six foul shooting. She was supported by nine points apiece from Zoe Zerman and Brandt, a total matched by Turner for Lebanon Catholic.

IMG_8810With Zoe Zerman shadowing her all evening, Hill was limited to a season-low two points. Northern Lebanon is now holding its opponents to an average of less than 31 points per game, a figure that is far and away the lowest in the entire Lancaster-Lebanon League.

“They were very physical,” said Hower of Northern Lebanon’s defensive job on Hill. “They did a really good job on her defensively. It didn’t cost us the game, but it didn’t help.”

“A lot of shots in the first quarter looked like they were down, and then came out,” said Battistelli. “It felt like there was a lid on the basket.”

It was Lebanon Catholic’s defense that shined in the opening stanza.

The Beavers held the Vikings score-less for a 5:19 stretch of the first quarter, and to just a Kintzer lay-in overall. The frame ended with Catholic up six points.

“We missed a lot of opportunities in the first half,” said Hower. “I was really proud of our effort, in a loss in a tough environment. I thought they (her players) handled it well. We were tied for first place, but even more important was the fact that it was a county game.”

IMG_8889“To be honest, I’m tremendously concerned about Columbia,” said Battistelli of the next opponent on the schedule. “They’re playing well and we never play well on that floor. We don’t get caught looking ahead too much. We’re not looking for Lancaster Catholic. The kids fight. They’re toughest when they need to be their toughest.”

Courtesy of three-pointers from Voight and Zoe Zerman, and a Brandt lay-in, Northern Lebanon notched the first eight points of the second quarter. And when Zara Zerman scored on a hard ‘take’ to the cup 43 seconds before the break, the Vikings had themselves a 19-13 advantage.

“I’m pleased with the way we’re playing and the way we’re sticking together,” said Hower. “I’m really pleased with the way we’ve been playing defense, night in and night out. We’re much better defensively than we were last year.”

“I have absolutely not thought about Cedar Crest,” said Battistelli. “And I’m not trying to be politically correct. We’re fighting for our lives here in our own section. I know who Ariel (Jones) is. She’s tough and I’ve seen (Alyssa) Austin play. I have to no idea what to do with those studs if we ever have to game plan against them.

IMG_8908“They’re (his players) friends with them,” continued Battistelli. “They (the Falcons) are over there, but both teams are good. We’re not percolating about teams not on our schedule, only the teams we play against. That’s who gets our blood boiling.”

 

 

 

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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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IMG_88522016-17 Lebanon Catholic Girls’ Basketball Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/13
@Mahanoy Area
7:00 PM L 29-44
12/14
Trinity
7:30 PM W 56-33
12/16 *
Pequea Valley
7:30 PM W 62-35
12/17
Christian School of York
6:00 PM W 62-12
12/19 *
Northern Lebanon
7:30 PM W 45-42
12/21 *
@Elco
7:30 PM W 62-46
12/27
@Marian Catholic
2:15 PM
12/29 #
Linden Hall
7:30 PM W 53-39
12/30 #
Donegal
7:30 PM
01/03 *
@Lancaster Mennonite
7:30 PM
01/06 *
@Columbia
7:30 PM
01/09
Lititz Christian
6:00 PM
01/10 *
Lancaster Catholic
7:30 PM L 41-42
01/13 *
Annville-Cleona
6:00 PM W 48-26
01/14
High Point Baptist
6:00 PM
01/17 *
@Pequea Valley
7:30 PM
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
01/20 *
@Northern Lebanon
7:30 PM Northern Lebanon High School
01/24 *
Elco
7:30 PM Lebanon Catholic School
01/27 *
Lancaster Mennonite
7:30 PM Lebanon Catholic School
01/31 *
Columbia
7:30 PM Lebanon Catholic School
02/03 *
@Lancaster Catholic
7:30 PM Lancaster Catholic High School
02/07 *
@Annville-Cleona
7:30 PM Annville-Cleona High School

 

 

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2016-17 Northern Lebanon Girls’ Basketball Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/09 #
Littlestown
7:00 PM W 56-22
12/10 #
Palmyra
7:00 PM W 43-24
12/13
@Middletown
7:30 PM W 66-52
12/14
@Garden Spot
7:30 PM W 53-23
12/16 *
Annville-Cleona
7:30 PM W 58-24
12/19 *
@Lebanon Catholic
7:30 PM L 42-45
12/21 *
Columbia
7:30 PM W 56-36
12/27 #
McCaskey
6:00 PM W 47-36
12/28 #
@New Oxford
7:30 PM W 53-38
01/03 *
@Pequea Valley
7:30 PM
01/06 *
@Lancaster Catholic
7:30 PM W 49-35
01/10 *
Lancaster Mennonite
7:30 PM W 50-21
01/13 *
Elco
7:30 PM W 51-22
01/17 *
@Annville-Cleona
7:30 PM W 48-18
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
01/20 *
Lebanon Catholic
7:30 PM Northern Lebanon High School
01/21
Tulpehocken
7:30 PM Northern Lebanon High School
01/24 *
@Columbia
7:30 PM Columbia High School
01/26
Manheim Central
7:30 PM Northern Lebanon High School
01/27 *
Pequea Valley
7:30 PM Northern Lebanon High School
01/31 *
Lancaster Catholic
7:30 PM Northern Lebanon High School
02/03 *
@Lancaster Mennonite
7:30 PM Lancaster Mennonite High School
02/07 *
@Elco
7:30 PM Elco High School

 

 

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PIAA District Three

 Class A Power Rankings

A School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP
1 Halifax Area 13- 1- 0  0.676273  0.913934  0.385798
2 Harrisburg Christian School 12- 1- 0  0.658439  0.888889  0.376779
3 Linden Hall 11- 1- 0  0.630453  0.890351  0.312801
4 Lebanon Catholic School 11- 4- 0  0.628754  0.710247  0.529151
5 Christian School Of York 11- 2- 0  0.591207  0.769585  0.373189
6 Dayspring Christian Academy 9- 3- 0  0.478241  0.655340  0.261787
7 Mount Calvary Christian School 8- 6- 0  0.460169  0.477941  0.438447
8 Greenwood 7- 8- 0  0.449928  0.427609  0.477206
9 Lititz Christian School 7- 5- 0  0.397392  0.486111  0.288958
10 New Covenant Christian School 4- 5- 0  0.371217  0.324324  0.428531
11 Lancaster Country Day School 4- 7- 0  0.341577  0.271493  0.427235
12 Covenant Christian Academy 4- 7- 0  0.336923  0.255319  0.436662
13 West Shore Christian Academy 5- 10- 0  0.322779  0.239617  0.424422
14 Millersburg Area 4- 10- 0  0.314361  0.218543  0.431471
15 Conestoga Christian School 5- 7- 0  0.298000  0.302419  0.292598
16 Harrisburg Academy 2- 7- 0  0.271502  0.146341  0.424476
17 Veritas Academy 3- 7- 0  0.249776  0.204545  0.305058
18 High Point Baptist Academy 3- 8- 0  0.236989  0.183673  0.302153
19 Lancaster Mennonite School-Hershey Campus 1- 8- 0  0.229821  0.069767  0.425441
20 Lancaster County Christian 2- 10- 0  0.190925  0.112782  0.286433
21 Berks Christian 0- 9- 0  0.151484  0.000000  0.336631
22 LINVILLE HILL CHRISTIAN 0- 0- 0  0.000000  0.000000  0.000000

 

 

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PIAA District Three

 Class AAAA Power Rankings

 

AAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP
1 Northern Lebanon 13- 1- 0  0.725158  0.915541  0.492468
2 Bishop McDevitt 12- 3- 0  0.714394  0.847352  0.551891
3 Lancaster Catholic 11- 2- 0  0.711913  0.865613  0.524057
4 Wyomissing Area 14- 1- 0  0.703168  0.932907  0.422376
5 Eastern York 11- 5- 0  0.659870  0.738235  0.564091
6 York Suburban 8- 7- 0  0.598718  0.602007  0.594699
7 Boiling Springs 8- 5- 0  0.591700  0.659498  0.508835
8 West Perry 9- 4- 0  0.580283  0.694118  0.441151
9 Berks Catholic 7- 7- 0  0.556545  0.534965  0.582921
10 Susquehanna Township 5- 8- 0  0.517943  0.439331  0.614024
11 Littlestown 8- 7- 0  0.485673  0.528053  0.433875
12 Eastern Lebanon County 6- 9- 0  0.476160  0.409241  0.557949
13 Hamburg Area 7- 8- 0  0.467145  0.474048  0.458706
14 East Pennsboro Area 5- 9- 0  0.462872  0.375000  0.570272
15 Kennard Dale 3- 8- 0  0.425580  0.317073  0.558199
16 James Buchanan 4- 10- 0  0.425210  0.344000  0.524466
17 Bermudian Springs 3- 12- 0  0.326082  0.184669  0.498919
18 Lancaster Mennonite 2- 13- 0  0.315804  0.127090  0.546454
19 Schuylkill Valley 2- 12- 0  0.305336  0.140845  0.506382

IMG_8867Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Three Standings

League Overall
W L PCT W L PCT PS PA
Northern Lebanon 8 1 88.89 14 1 93.33 771 460
Lancaster Catholic 8 1 88.89 12 2 85.71 852 568
Lebanon Catholic 7 2 77.78 11 5 68.75 830 617
Columbia 6 3 66.67 7 7 50.00 704 741
Elco 2 6 25.00 6 9 40.00 658 742
Pequea Valley 2 7 22.22 7 10 41.18 848 889
Lancaster Mennonite 1 7 12.50 2 13 13.33 562 762
Annville-Cleona 1 8 11.11 5 11 31.25 570 693

 

 

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