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IMG_2391BY JEFF FALK

MYERSTOWN – There’s really only one problem with these feel-good, underdog, local-boy-makes-good tales. Because they’re so rare – and no one ever wants to put any sort of ‘whammy’ on them – they’re difficult to enjoy while they’re unfolding.

On Tuesday night, the Elco boys’ basketball team continued to author its own storybook script by notching a rare 55-42 victory over rival Northern Lebanon. The Raiders’ first win over the Vikings in seven tries, over four years, was the result of outscoring their guests in each of the first three quarters, balanced point production and a barrage of seven three-point field goals.

IMG_2432The triumph also put the Raiders in position to make a rare run at the postseason. Elco is now 7-5 overall and 4-3 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, while Northern Lebanon fell to 6-7 on the season and 2-5 in the section.

“I think going into the season, looking at things, I thought we had a chance to compete for that spot,” said Elco head coach Brad Conners of a runner-up position in Section Three that would also qualify the owner for the league playoffs. “We’ll see. We’re right there. I like where we’re at. I like our kids. I like their energy.

“That’s a long way down the road,” continued Conners. “That’s always a goal. The league playoffs, that’s on our board.”

IMG_2490“I like the Elco kids,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Gary Bouchette. “They’re a tough bunch of kids. They complement one another. What one player lacks, the other one makes up for. They’re a physical group.

“Hands down, I think they’re the second best team in the section,” Bouchette continued. “(Section-leading) Manheim Central’s kind of in a league of their own.”

Elco took the lead for good with a run that began late in the first half and spilled over into the third quarter.

Courtesy of a Luke Darkes charity toss, two free throws from Mason Bossert and a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Caleb Buchmoyer, Elco outscored the Vikes 6-2 over the final 3:28 of the second quarter, to take a 26-19 lead to intermission. And when Raider horse Colton Lawrence opened the second half with a strong move to the cup, the Elco lead had been extended to nine points.

IMG_2470“Listen, my preparation for this game was writing a big ‘N’ and a big ‘L’ on the board,” said Conners. “It’s a county rivalry. That’s a good team. They’re well-coached. It feels good to beat them, especially after three years of going 0-for against them.

“That was fun,” added Conners. “That’s because we hadn’t beaten them since (former NL star) Sam Light was a sophomore. But I’ll tell you what – that (current NL star) Isaac Ray, he’s a good player. I knew his handle was good, but he’s a good passer as well.”

“I didn’t think we did a bad job defensively,” said Bouchette. “But our offense was stale.

IMG_2405“I don’t know that there were any runs,” Bouchette added. “We stalled offensively, and they started to pull away.”

The Raiders put a little distance between themselves and Northern Lebanon in the middle of the third period, when they registered seven unanswered points to jack the lead to 35-22. Lawrence drained a three-pointer, Bossert knocked down a pull-up and Buchmoyer converted an offensive rebound.

A Bossert trey with 2:09 remaining made it a 55-34 game.

“That’s something we stressed from Day One,” said Conners of Elco’s defensive emphasis. “And it’s something we’ve never gotten away  from. The first 45 minutes of every practice is dedicated to defense.

“We did knock down some shots,” Conners continued. “We talk about shot selection all the time. There’s a fine line between good ones and bad ones. It felt like early in the game that we were completely perimeter-oriented. We do have shooters.”

“I wish I knew,” said Bouchette,when asked about what’s motivating his group now. “I don’t know either.

IMG_2453“We were in some games we probably should’ve won,” continued Bouchette. “It’s a tough  section. There are no easy games from  here on out.”

Lawrence registered 21 points to lead all scorers, while Buchmoyer tallied 13 points and Bossert had 12. Ray tossed in 19 Northern Lebanon points, and Isaac Bicher contributed ten.

Elco made good on 39 percent of its 18 three-point field goal attempts. Northern Lebanon was just seven-for-16 from the foul stripe.

“We’ll take it,” said Conners of his side’s three-point proficiency. “I thought we did a phenomenal job on Ray in the first half. Caleb Buchmoyer has bought into the role of defensive stopper. His job every night is to play the other team’s best player.

IMG_2487“Coming into the season, it was a new role for Caleb,” added Conners. “Caleb has a lot of skills, a lot of ball skills, he’s a smooth shooter, a great shooter, but he’s accepted the role of number-one defender.”

“At times, Isaac played well,” said Bouchette of Ray. “At times, they took him out of the game. They helped on him, even when he came off screens. He had to work. Nothing came easy. I don’t know how many shots he had that were wide open.”

Thanks in part to a little home cooking, the Raiders opened an early 16-9 margin on a foul shot from Lawrence. But Northern Lebanon responded with a 6-0 burst – five of which came from Noah Gingrich – to pull to within 16-15.

“There’s been a couple maybe we could’ve gotten,” said Conners. “But we weren’t ready. Friday night against Manheim Central, that’s a tough game. That’s a tough team. That game got to be too big for us for the time. At the end of this week, we’ll have a good idea of the direction we’re headed.”

“I just want them to play hard,” said Bouchette of his charges. “I’m not looking at wins. I’m not looking at districts. At times, we’re not playing as a team, and that’s probably the biggest thing.”

 

 IMG_2426Northern Lebanon (42)

PLAYER FGM FTM FTA 3PM PTS_TOT FT%
Joe Atoigue 0 0 0 0 0
Isaac Bicher 4 1 2 1 10 0.5
Noah Gingrich 3 0 0 1 7 0
Ben Light 0 0 0 0 0
Caleb Light 0 0 0 0 0
Lum 0 0 0 0 0
Devin Mease 0 0 0 0 0
Isaac Ray 7 4 8 1 19 0.5
Shane Reese 1 1 1 3 1
Trevor Shirk 1 1 2 3 0.5

Elco (55)

PLAYER FGM FTM FTA 3PM PTS_TOT FT%
Joseph Baker 0 0 0 0 0
Mason Bossert 3 4 4 2 12 1
Caleb Buchmoyer 5 0 0 3 13 0
Luke Darkes 0 2 4 2 0.5
Ryan Eshleman 0 0 2 0 0
Jesse Kline 0 0 0 0 0
Colton Lawrence 8 2 4 3 21 0.5
Dustin Miller 0 0 0 0 0
Dylan Stoops 3 1 1 7 1

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  • Team 1 2 3 4 Final
    Northern Lebanon
    15 4 8 15 42
    Elco
    18 8 14 15 55
Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Three Standings

TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL
Manheim Central 7-0 12-1
Cocalico 5-2 8-4
Elco 4-3 7-5
Lampeter-Strasburg 4-3 7-5
Northern Lebanon 2-5 6-7
Donegal 1-6 2-10

 

IMG_2516Elco Boys’ Basketball Results

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/05
Muhlenberg
6:00 PM W 54-43
12/06
@Lebanon
7:30 PM L 38-48
12/10
@Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM L 71-74
12/12 *
@Lebanon Catholic
7:30 PM W 51-35
12/15 *
Columbia
7:30 PM L 66-74
12/17 *
@Lancaster Catholic
7:30 PM L 49-74
12/19 *
Cocalico
7:30 PM W 65-61
12/23 *
@Lampeter-Strasburg
7:30 PM W 54-44
12/26 #
@Pine Grove
7:30 PM W 60-48
12/27 #
Mahanoy Area
7:30 PM W 56-41
01/02 *
@Manheim Central
7:30 PM L 38-56
01/06 *
Northern Lebanon
7:30 PM W 55-42

 

IMG_2387Northern Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Results

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/05
@Middletown
5:30 PM L 48-50
12/06
@Annville-Cleona
12:30 PM W 50-41
12/10
@Tulpehocken
7:30 PM W 64-56
12/12 *
@Pequea Valley
7:30 PM L 52-60
12/15 *
Lebanon Catholic
7:30 PM W 59-50
12/17 *
@Lancaster Mennonite
7:30 PM L 36-68
12/19 *
Donegal
7:30 PM W 55-54
12/23 *
@Cocalico
7:30 PM L 38-61
12/26 #
Impact Academy
7:00 PM L 55-67
12/27
New Covenant Christian
5:30 PM W 65-44
01/02 *
Lampeter-Strasburg
7:30 PM L 37-56
01/03
Hamburg
7:30 PM W 62-21
01/06 *
@Elco
7:30 PM L 42-55

 

 IMG_2508PIAA District Three

 Class AAA Rankings

AAA School W L T Rating
1 Susquehanna Township 8 3 0 .784704
2 Bishop McDevitt 6 2 0 .775571
3 Steelton Highspire 7 1 0 .748909
4 Boiling Springs 9 1 0 .748149
5 Manheim Central 11 1 0 .733853
6 West York Area 7 2 0 .709456
7 Cocalico 8 3 0 .682087
8 East Pennsboro 7 3 0 .668685
9 Dover Area 7 3 0 .647743
10 Palmyra Area 6 6 0 .621493
11 Lancaster Catholic 7 4 0 .609493
12 Lampeter Strasburg 6 5 0 .600914
13 Wyomissing Area 6 3 0 .597276
14 Eastern York 5 4 0 .594975
15 Milton Hershey 4 5 0 .573767
IMG_251416 Eastern Lebanon County 6 5 0 .564811
17 Twin Valley 6 4 0 .550183
18 Conrad Weiser 5 4 0 .538385
19 James Buchanan 5 7 0 .536299
20 Gettysburg Area 5 5 0 .534109
21 West Perry 5 6 0 .519290
22 Berks Catholic 4 5 0 .512258
23 Northern Lebanon 6 6 0 .492101
24 Bermudian Springs 5 5 0 .480427
25 Fleetwood Area 5 5 0 .476645
26 Kennard Dale 4 7 0 .472435
27 Pequea Valley 4 6 0 .468915
28 York Suburban 3 8 0 .453558
29 Middletown Area 3 9 0 .428965
IMG_250630 Donegal 2 9 0 .375931
31 Big Spring 2 7 0 .371243
32 Schuylkill Valley 3 7 0 .355580
33 Susquehannock 1 8 0 .354399
34 Oley Valley 1 9 0 .242018
35 Littlestown 0 11 0 .233372
36 Hamburg Area 0 12 0 .220669

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