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BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – COVID-19 this, COVID-19 that.

Improvement. Imschmovement.

Noise. Noise. Noise.

Blah, blah, blah.

Sometimes you just want to hang a basket above the barn door and whoop your neighbor in a game of baskeball.

On Wednesday night at Northern Lebanon High School, the home-standing Vikings surprised rival Elco 51-45, in a clash of two Lebanon County boys’ basketball squads jockeying for playoff position. Northern Lebanon gained control of the contest early in the fourth quarter, then outlasted the Raiders at the free throw line, after Elco star Braden Bohannon had fouled out.

Not only was it its first victory over Elco in three seasons, it was a quality win for an improving Northern Lebanon club which moved to 6-6 on the year and 2-4 in Section Four of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. On the flip side, it was the Raiders’ third loss in their last four outings, and it dropped them to 6-4 overall and 3-3 in Section Four.

Back on January 19 in Myerstown, Elco had handled Northern Lebanon 61-55.

“For us, this was big,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Chris George. “It matters because it’s Elco. These guys have been playing against each other for years. Plus we needed to get a win over a quality team. We had been so close.

“It’s good for your confidence when you’re not getting smoked, but you’ve got to win,” added George. “At some point, you’ve got to do it and make the plays. This is the year we’ve been pointing to.”

“It’s Northern Lebanon,” said Elco head coach Brad Conners. “This is our rival. They’re our neighbor to the north. It’s a border war.”

With the game knotted at 30, Northern Lebanon held Elco without a point for a 4:34 stretch to open the final quarter. The Vikings’ ensuing 10-0 burst was highlighted by five points from Peyton Wolfe, an old-fashioned three-point play from Josh Clemmer and a couple of charity tosses by Nate Shirk, and gave them a 40-30 lead.

Before fouling out with 2:47 remaining, Bohannon had led a charge that drew Elco to within 40-37 of the lead. The Raiders pulled to within 42-40 on a Dallas George three-pointer 26 seconds later, and to within 45-43 on Calvin Blatt’s three-point play with 44 seconds to go, but the Vikings netted their final 13 points at the charity stripe, courtesy of Wolfe, Owen Treadway, Shirk and Simon Grimes.

“Once he’s (Bohannon) out, it does change things defensively,” said George. “They (the Raiders) had all the momentum at that point. Maybe halfway through the fourth quarter, they had stolen the momentum back. With less than 40 seconds left, (Elco’s Corey) Attivo was so close to getting an ‘and-one’, and if he does, it ends up being a tied game. There for a little stretch, it was three points for one.”

“What they did was battled back,” said Conners, of his side’s effort with Bohannon on the bench. “Some of the others stepped up and hit some shots. They gave themselves a chance at the end.”

A three-pointer from Wolfe 20 seconds into the second half tied the score at 24. Then five minutes later, a couple of free throws by Northern Lebanon’s junior guard gave his side a 30-29 edge.

“We got some big ‘stops’,” said George. “Elco turned the ball over a little bit. I’m sure Elco would like to have some of those plays back. We knew ‘Bo’ was going to get his. I love watching him play. It just makes the win that more sweet knowing he was over there.”

“That’s kind of the way it’s been for us over the last couple of games,” said Conners, of the Raiders’ offensive woes. “We’ve had quarters in a couple of games where we couldn’t score. Sometimes we go eight, nine possessions where we just don’t score. They (the Vikings) were playing good defense, but that’s something we’ve been doing.”

Wolfe knocked down five three-pointers and finished with a game-high 21 points, while Shirk struck for 15. Bohannon canned 19 points and teammate Luke Williams contributed ten.

Northern Lebanon converted 20 of its 25 free throw attempts, and outscored the Raiders by nine points at ‘the stripe’.

“I’ll take it,” said George. “It’s been a couple of years with Elco. I think the last time we beat them was ‘Bo’s freshman year. They were a juggernaut the last two years. They’re well-coached and they have great players.

“It was just guys making plays, and they followed the game plan,” continued George. “Our whole thing is starts. In a lot of these games, we let them get away from us. Tonight was an old-school back-and-forth struggle.”

“That’s a great win for them,” said Conners of the Vikings. “They’ve got some talent and some kids who can knock down some shots. We lost their shooters some times. It’s a matter of executing the game plan and taking care of your assignments.”

Northern Lebanon notched five of the game’s first seven points, but behind Bohannon, Williams and Attivo, the Raiders rattled off seven straight points to establish an early 9-5 cushion. Elco’s lead reached 14-8 late in the opening stanza, courtesy of a Bohannon triple.

“It’s not an easy section, but I feel like we’re right there,” said George. “We told our guys if we beat Octorara tomorrow (Thursday), it’s a three-way tie for second place. I told our guys we have a chance at get second place. I tried to sell them on that.”

“I liked our fight,” said Conners. “We didn’t give up. But we didn’t execute the way we needed to. When the play got physical, we thought it would go our way, but it didn’t. We have to figure out how to win these close ones. All of our losses have been close.”

Northern Lebanon used eight straight points – threes from Wolfe and Treadway and a couple of charity tosses by Shirk – to take a 21-16 lead late in the second quarter. But the Raiders closed the half on an 8-0 run, on a three-pointer from George, a Bohannon drive, Williams’ inside bucket and a foul shot by Attivo, to carry a 24-21 margin into the locker room.

“We’re playing for the playoffs,” said George. “We’re trying to get more games. We lost one (on the schedule) today, but we’re trying to get in the mix. We’re trying to get there. But having said that, we have to take it one game at a time.”

“It feels like it’s still early,” said Conners. “But we’re ten games in, and we have to take a step back and think where we are. I think the section is a given. We just have to win tomorrow. I’m not thinking about anything but that. We’re Elco. We don’t look past anyone.”

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

2021 Elco Boys’ Basketball Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
1/08
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
39
46

League
1/09
1:30 pm
Antietam
at Elco
37
65

Nonleague
1/13
7:30 pm
Elco
at Octorara
62
48

League
1/15
7:30 pm
Donegal
at Elco
38
55

League
1/19
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
55
61

League
1/21
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
21
66

Nonleague
1/25
7:30 pm
Octorara
at Elco
50
45

League
1/28
7:30 pm
Columbia
at Elco
46
45

Nonleague
1/30
7:30 pm
Hamburg
at Elco
47
59

Nonleague
2/03
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon

League

2021 Northern Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
12/11
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon
58
70

Nonleague
1/08
7:30 pm
Donegal
at Northern Lebanon
53
61

League
1/09
5:00 pm
Pine Grove
at Northern Lebanon
31
41

Nonleague
1/13
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
61
52

League
1/19
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
55
61

League
1/22
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Octorara
54
60

League
1/23
6:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
28
68

Nonleague
1/25
5:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic
64
76

League
1/27
7:30 pm
Tulpehocken
at Northern Lebanon
59
71

Nonleague
1/28
7:30 pm
Hamburg
at Northern Lebanon
34
47
Boxscore
Nonleague
1/30
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Susquehannock
52
57

Nonleague
Postponed
Nonleague
2/03
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon

League

PIAA District Three

Class AAAA Power Rankings

AAAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1Wyomissing6-1-0 0.737752 0.892086 0.549121 6.20 64.00 0.75 52.55
2Middletown6-1-0 0.724835 0.874074 0.542432 5.90 54.65 0.85 46.10
3Schuylkill Valley9-2-0 0.645197 0.834061 0.414363 9.55 61.45 1.90 86.85
4Littlestown4-1-0 0.644607 0.800000 0.454682 4.20 60.45 1.05 72.50
5Oley Valley5-1-0 0.630076 0.844262 0.368293 5.15 45.30 0.95 77.70
6Kennard Dale7-3-0 0.618553 0.750000 0.457895 7.65 60.90 2.55 72.10
7Eastern Lebanon County6-3-0 0.599510 0.677596 0.504073 6.20 80.45 2.95 79.15
8Trinity (3)4-2-0 0.595567 0.636364 0.545705 3.50 49.55 2.00 41.25
9Berks Catholic4-6-0 0.559403 0.453608 0.688708 4.40 101.55 5.30 45.90
10Susquehanna Township2-2-0 0.555462 0.540541 0.573700 2.00 46.90 1.70 34.85
11Bermudian Springs5-3-0 0.547633 0.631250 0.445435 5.05 52.45 2.95 65.30
12Hanover (3)4-3-0 0.536022 0.562963 0.503094 3.80 69.10 2.95 68.25
13Boiling Springs2-4-0 0.535678 0.403509 0.697217 2.30 93.95 3.40 40.80
14East Pennsboro1-1-0 0.518740 0.500000 0.541645 0.95 51.70 0.95 43.75
15Northern Lebanon5-6-0 0.504004 0.483568 0.528981 5.15 83.05 5.50 73.95
16Bishop McDevitt (3)2-4-0 0.492668 0.354839 0.661126 2.20 61.65 4.00 31.60
17James Buchanan1-3-0 0.429111 0.257576 0.638765 0.85 71.35 2.45 40.35
18West Perry1-6-0 0.406855 0.157025 0.712204 0.95 78.20 5.10 31.60
19Eastern York1-6-0 0.374825 0.181102 0.611596 1.15 87.55 5.20 55.60
20Hamburg1-8-0 0.301851 0.104972 0.542480 0.95 94.50 8.10 79.70

Lancaster-Lebanon League

Section Four Standings

LeagueOverall
WLPCTWLPCTPFPA
Lancaster Catholic601.000910.900611447
Elco330.500640.600543439
Octorara330.500350.375431502
Northern Lebanon240.333660.500674635
Donegal040.000060.000285355

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