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Saturday night was a perfect example of why the Cougars and Cedars should meet on the basketball floor. 

 IMG_7809BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE – As a whole, Lebanon County boys’ basketball is so healthy right now it’s difficult to come up with things to make it better. Perhaps one way is games like this.

On Saturday night at Lebanon Valley College’s Lou Sorrentino Gymnasium, during the nightcap of the eighth annual Rhoades Classic, Palmyra nudged Lebanon High 75-73 in overtime, in a battle of two of the top and hottest teams in Lebanon County. After the Cedars had rallied from a 17-point, early third-quarter deficit, it was Braden Vernet’s three-point, up-and-under move with 26 seconds left in the extra period that proved decisive for the Cougars.

With the score deadlocked at 68, Lebanon had opened the four-minute overtime period with a three-pointer from Luis Aquino-Rios, before Palmyra countered with three free throws by Bryant Willis. Vernet’s strong move in the paint gave Palmyra a 74-73 edge.

IMG_7800“The genesis of that was we were playing Annville-Cleona in this event and the games weren’t competitive,” said Palmyra head coach Pete Conrad. “We just thought we’d get more out of playing this kind of game. I think it’s a great game for our guys to play. It’s a great game for Lebanon County basketball.”

“It was just a good test for us, playing a team that’s 12-1,” said Lebanon head coach Tim Speraw. “As a coach, you want that competition. I’m pleased with how our kids fought back. I couldn’t be more proud of the kids and the effort they gave.”

The win was Palmyra’s tenth in-a-row and it improved its overall mark to 12-1. The result snapped Lebanon’s seven-game winning streak and left the Cedars 8-3 on the season.

“I would say you had two teams that were gassed,” said Conrad. “It got to be a little bit of a war of attrition. Their pressure was very good. We were trying to make difficult plays. I thought in overtime we made easier basketball plays.

IMG_7776“They (the Cedars) played last night too. It’s all the same,” continued Conrad. “I thought we were gassed because they put so much pressure on us. They were the team pushing forward in the second half. We’re fortunate to get a win against a very good team.”

“Sometimes it’s the way the ball bounces,” said Speraw. “Sometimes its a ball that gets tipped. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t go in the basket. There’s so many things going on simultaneously. I can’t pinpoint one thing.

“We don’t believe in moral victories at all,” Speraw continued. “But this will make us stronger going forward. We needed a battle. Palmyra is a heck of a basketball team. Pete does a great job with his kids and the system he runs.”

After trailing 41-24 early in the second half, the Cedars actually had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but Camryn Shaak’s long-three pointer was short. It was Shaak who had knotted the game at 68 with a three-pointer with 43 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Thanks to five points by Shaq Ortiz, a three-pointer by Shaak, two charity tosses by Felix Kortright-Roman and a free throw by Dante Vargas, Lebanon ended the third quarter on an 11-3 run to pull to within 53-48 of the Cougars’ lead. Then in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Cedars used baskets from Sabu Pereyra, Shaak and Aquino-Rios to shave Palmyra’s lead to 66-63, with 1:56 left in regulation.

IMG_7761“That’s tough,” said Conrad of regaining momentum. “It’s one of the challenges you face. You don’t want to hold the ball and be passive. That game is going to make both teams better. We’ll look at some of the things that disrupted us.”

“I’m extremely proud of my kids right now,” said Speraw. “I’m proud of the effort they gave, and not just in the second half and overtime. They executed the adjustments we made at halftime.”

The Cougars’ balanced attack featured 21 points by Vernet, 17 points by Willis, 15 from Isaac Blatt and ten from Bennett Von Stetten. Before fouling out in overtime, Ortiz poured in a game-high 24 points for the Cedars, while Aquino-Rios dropped in 16 points and Shaak counted an even dozen.

Palmyra made 17 of its 27 foul shots and outscored the Cedars by three points there.

IMG_7757“It’s funny. Winning creates chemistry,” said Conrad. “We have great chemistry right now. Our collective is what we’re about. We’re very together. I think we present tough match-ups with our length.”

“Shaq played one of the better games he’s played all year,” said Speraw. “Obviously we wanted him on the floor at the end. It made us smaller, but it made us quicker. And the press is what got us back into it.”

The Cougars forged a 32-16 lead by scoring 16 unanswered points early in the second quarter. Actually, the run started late in the opening period with a Blatt pull-up and it included five Willis points, three more from Blatt , four Sam Sheils charity tosses and a Vernet deuce.

Palmyra held Lebanon without a point during the 6:32 stretch.

“I thought we did a much better job of sitting down and guarding the ball,” said Conrad. “I don’t think there was any magic there. We did a good job in the second quarter.

“The first thing I’d say about them (the Cedars) is that they’re so together,” Conrad added. “Their players like each other. They want to win. They don’t care who scores. They play very hard. I’m nothing but impressed by them. We’re fortunate to escape with a win.”

IMG_7820“We just weren’t hitting shots,” said Speraw of the Cedars’ second quarter. “We were turning the ball over too much. I thought their length got to us. If you’re not shooting well and you’re not getting shots off, that’s a recipe for disaster.

“They’re (the Cougars) big, but don’t really have post players,” added Speraw. “That makes match-ups difficult all the way round. It makes it tough to combat. Pete always has them well coached. Give them credit. That was just a good high school basketball game right there.”

 

 

 

 

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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_78422016-17 Palmyra Boys’ Basketball Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/09 #
Susquehannock
6:00 PM W 72-34
12/10 #
@Donegal
7:30 PM 83-46
12/13 *
Mechanicsburg
7:30 PM L 47-57
12/16 *
Susquehanna Twp.
7:30 PM W 65-60
12/17
@Milton Hershey
6:00 PM W 62-61
12/20 *
@Cedar Cliff
7:30 PM W 54-38
12/21 *
@Bishop McDevitt
7:30 PM W 70-50
12/23
Cocalico
7:30 PM W 57-41
12/27 #
@Elco
4:00 PM W 68-53
12/28 #
@Ephrata
8:00 PM W 63-44
01/03 *
@Red Land
7:30 PM W 63-44
01/06 *
Hershey
7:30 PM W 58-42
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
01/10 *
@Lower Dauphin
7:30 PM Lower Dauphin High School
01/13 *
@Mechanicsburg
7:30 PM Mechanicsburg High School
01/17 *
@Susquehanna Twp.
7:30 PM Susquehanna Twp. High School
01/20 *
Cedar Cliff
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
01/21
New Oxford
7:50 PM Gettysburg High School
01/24 *
Bishop McDevitt
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
01/27 *
Red Land
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
01/31 *
@Hershey
7:30 PM Hershey High School
02/03 *
Lower Dauphin
7:30 PM Palmyra High School

 

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2016-17 Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Schedule
DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/09 #
Red Lion
7:30 PM W 52-39
12/10 #
Cedar Crest
7:30 PM L 42-58
12/14
Governor Mifflin
7:30 PM L 50-54
12/16 *
Manheim Twp.
7:30 PM W 64-52
12/19 *
@McCaskey
7:30 PM W 68-58
12/21 *
Warwick
7:30 PM W 79-56
12/29
Cedar Cliff
6:00 PM W 67-50
12/30
Camp Hill
6:00 PM W 68-44
01/03 *
@Penn Manor
7:30 PM
01/06 *
@Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
01/10 *
Hempfield
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/13 *
@Cedar Crest
7:30 PM Cedar Crest High School
01/17 *
@Manheim Twp.
7:30 PM Manheim Twp. High School
01/20 *
McCaskey
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/23
@Ephrata
7:30 PM Ephrata High School
01/24 *
@Warwick
7:30 PM Warwick High School
01/27 *
Penn Manor
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
01/31 *
Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
02/03 *
@Hempfield
7:30 PM Hempfield High School
02/04
Hershey
2:30 PM Lebanon High School
02/07 *
Cedar Crest
7:30 PM Lebanon High School
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PIAA District Three

 Class AAAAA Power Rankings

1 Northeastern 11- 0- 0  0.805782  1.000000  0.568406
2 Manheim Central 8- 0- 0  0.774842  1.000000  0.499649
3 Palmyra Area 11- 1- 0  0.754214  0.936090  0.531920
4 Mechanicsburg Area 8- 2- 0  0.735423  0.837838  0.610249
5 Ephrata Area 9- 2- 0  0.711632  0.866109  0.522827
6 Spring Grove Area 7- 3- 0  0.709154  0.756881  0.650822
7 Greencastle Antrim 7- 3- 0  0.679187  0.767327  0.571461
8 Hershey 6- 3- 0  0.676526  0.735135  0.604894
9 Milton Hershey 5- 2- 0  0.674548  0.766423  0.562255
10 Lower Dauphin 6- 3- 0  0.670651  0.728205  0.600306
11 New Oxford 7- 4- 0  0.668712  0.703057  0.626735
12 Waynesboro Area 7- 3- 0  0.647469  0.757426  0.513078
13 Exeter Township 5- 4- 0  0.628786  0.653631  0.598420
14 Shippensburg Area 7- 3- 0  0.628051  0.750000  0.479002
15 Dover Area 7- 3- 0  0.624413  0.742991  0.479485
16 Lampeter Strasburg 6- 5- 0  0.590582  0.600858  0.578021
17 Garden Spot 4- 4- 0  0.567555  0.587500  0.543178
18 Solanco 6- 6- 0  0.547075  0.588235  0.496768
19 Big Spring 5- 4- 0  0.543357  0.593220  0.482413
20 William Penn 3- 6- 0  0.531821  0.415205  0.674353
21 Daniel Boone 4- 5- 0  0.531458  0.490798  0.581154
22 West York Area 5- 5- 0  0.526040  0.563725  0.479980
23 Northern York 4- 6- 0  0.511813  0.457447  0.578261
24 Conrad Weiser 5- 6- 0  0.492315  0.488372  0.497134
25 Muhlenberg 3- 6- 0  0.487824  0.371069  0.630524
26 Cocalico 3- 7- 0  0.485393  0.375000  0.620318
27 Twin Valley 4- 6- 0  0.481961  0.453608  0.516615
28 West Perry 4- 5- 0  0.460775  0.414201  0.517698
29 East Pennsboro Area 3- 6- 0  0.457184  0.337143  0.603901
30 Susquehannock 3- 8- 0  0.440894  0.314010  0.595974
31 South Western 2- 8- 0  0.435212  0.268817  0.638583
32 Red Land 2- 8- 0  0.428609  0.263158  0.630828
33 York Suburban 2- 8- 0  0.378777  0.236559  0.552599
34 Fleetwood Area 2- 5- 0  0.363163  0.290076  0.452491
35 Donegal 1- 9- 0  0.346099  0.117978  0.624913
36 Elizabethtown Area 1- 8- 0  0.335234  0.148387  0.563603
37 Gettysburg Area 1- 9- 0  0.325307  0.126374  0.568449

 

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PIAA District Three Class AAAAAA Power Rankings

AAAAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP
1 Governor Mifflin 10- 0- 0  0.830248  1.000000  0.622772
2 Carlisle 8- 2- 0  0.784786  0.867257  0.683988
3 Reading 9- 2- 0  0.780081  0.849372  0.695391
4 Harrisburg 7- 2- 0  0.757691  0.853659  0.640397
5 Lebanon 8- 2- 0  0.743067  0.866071  0.592729
6 Central Dauphin East 7- 3- 0  0.741930  0.791667  0.681140
7 Cedar Crest 7- 2- 0  0.722047  0.837563  0.580860
8 Wilson (3) 7- 3- 0  0.711338  0.782407  0.624476
9 Dallastown Area 7- 3- 0  0.691053  0.766055  0.599384
10 Chambersburg Area 6- 4- 0  0.663665  0.702970  0.615626
11 Central York 6- 4- 0  0.660061  0.682692  0.632401
12 Manheim Township 5- 4- 0  0.654977  0.668508  0.638439
13 J P McCaskey 4- 4- 0  0.637607  0.617284  0.662447
14 HEMPFIELD 5- 4- 0  0.635676  0.664865  0.600000
15 Central Dauphin 5- 5- 0  0.623759  0.605000  0.646687
16 Warwick 5- 5- 0  0.614445  0.590909  0.643210
17 Cumberland Valley 4- 8- 0  0.565570  0.439252  0.719959
18 Penn Manor 4- 7- 0  0.534302  0.443350  0.645465
19 York County School Of Technology 2- 5- 0  0.407224  0.296296  0.542803
20 Red Lion Area 1- 8- 0  0.366309  0.137255  0.646263
21 Conestoga Valley 1- 10- 0  0.336519  0.083799  0.645398

 

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Mid-Penn Conference

 Keystone Division Standings

TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL
Mechanicsburg 6-0 8-2
Palmyra 5-1 10-1
Bishop McDevitt 4-2 5-3
Hershey 4-2 6-4
Lower Dauphin 3-3 6-4
Susquehanna Twp. 1-5 3-8
Red Land 1-5 2-8
Cedar Cliff 0-6 0-11

 

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Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section One Standings

League Overall
W L PCT W L PCT
Lebanon 5 0 100.00 8 2 80.00
Cedar Crest 3 2 60.00 7 3 70.00
Hempfield 3 2 60.00 7 3 70.00
Manheim Township 3 2 60.00 5 4 55.56
McCaskey 3 2 60.00 4 4 50.00
Warwick 2 3 40.00 5 7 41.67
Penn Manor 1 4 20.00 4 7 36.36
Conestoga Valley 0 5 0.00 1 10 9.09

 

 

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