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BY JEFF FALK

MYERSTOWN – With some time to ponder, the Elco boys’ basketball team re-assessed what its brand of basketball was all about. What the Raiders landed on was that the concept of getting the ball down low would create better opportunities for their shooters and get them to the foul line more often.

It is a brand of basketball that is much better suited to the postseason.

On Thursday night at Elco High School, the Raiders’ commitment to pounding the ball inside produced instant returns, in the form of a 59-54 victory over Eastern York, in the quarterfinal round of the District Three Class AAAA playoffs. Following a 13-day layoff, Elco led most of the way, but only put the Golden Knights away down the stretch.

With the outcome, the third-seeded Raiders advanced to 19-5 and into Monday’s 7 p.m. Class AAAA semifinal at number-two seed Bishop McDevitt. That contest will represent Elco’s first trip to a District Three semfinal in program history, and the result also qualified the Raiders for the upcoming PIAA Class AAAA postseason.

The loss dropped Eastern York, the sixth-seed, to 14-9 on the year. Back on December 30th in Wrightsville, the Raiders had defeated the Golden Knights 75-51 in a regular-season, non-league affair.

“I really liked our commitment to getting the ball in the post,” said Elco head coach Brad Conners. “We thought we had an advantage inside. We wanted to work on that and establish it. I thought it paid dividends.

“We don’t shoot a lot of free throws,” added Conners. “We’re a perimeter-oriented team. Even our ‘bigs’ like to face up, and they’re good at it. And players like to do what they’re good at. But we felt if we could play inside-out, it would be to our advantage. We thought it would be something that could benefit us in the future.”

For Elco, the key to the outcome played out in the early moments of the final stanza.

Up a single point, the Raiders pieced together a 9-0 run – on two Braden Bohannon buckets, three Bryce Coletti free throws and an Evan Huey lay-in – to forge a 45-35 advantage. Elco then put the Golden Knights away with an Asher Kemble three-point play, and nine-for-13 foul shooting over the final 1:51.

“It was a good win,” said Conners. “It was a really tough game. It was like we re-invented ourselves by getting the ball into the post. I’m just really proud of the effort. The kids were locked in.”

The Raiders turned a four-point halftime lead into a 34-26 advantage, on a couple of inside hoops from Bohannon and a lay-up by Ben Horst. But Elco managed just two more points over the remainder of the third period, as Eastern York closed to within 36-35 of Elco’s lead.

“They’re familiar with us,” said Conners of the Golden Knights. “We’re familiar with them. There was a little bit of that coming in.”

Bohannon poured in a team-high 28 points on eight deuces, the Raiders’ lone three-pointer and nine-for-11 foul shooting. The junior guard became the fifth player in Elco boys’ basketball history to reach 1,000 points for his career, on a bucket early in the third quarter.

Kemble produced 15 more Elco points.

Overall, Elco connected on 19-of-28 free throws and outscored Eastern York by 13 points at the line. Knight star Trevor Seitz netted a career-high 30 points.

“Braden’s a coach’s dream,” said Conners. “He’s a sponge. He’s a coach on the floor. He’s got a great mind. He lives for this moment. But it was just a great team effort.

“The last two times we played them, I thought we did a good job of containing Seitz,” Conners continued. “I thought he was a key for them staying in the game. He’s got to score for them. He’s a shot maker. We weren’t going to let him have his. We started Evan Huey on him, then he got a little bit of Bryce, then he got a little bit of Ben.”

Showing no ill effects from the lay-off, Elco netted 12 of the final 14 points of the opening quarter to establish an 18-9 advantage. Bohannon accounted for seven of those points, while Kemble contributed three and Coletti converted a driving lay-up.

“Everyone’s been irritable the last couple of weeks,” said Conners, referring to losses to Lancaster Catholic and Elizabethtown. “Everyone’s been sensitive. It was important for us to get the win. The season was easy sailing, then we hit a rough patch.

“You worry about starting slow,” continued Conners. “You watch other games. But we were able to scrimmage last week, and that helped. We started out well, and our focus was on establishing something inside.”

A Bohannon charity toss early in the second period made it 24-15 Raiders. Elco went to the locker room with a 28-24 advantage.

“It will be a great opportunity for our kids,” said Conners of Monday’s match-up at Bishop McDevitt. “We got to watch them in the Mid-Penn (Conference) playoffs. It’s going to be fun.”

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

2019-20 Elco Boys’ Basketball Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
12/06
7:30 pm
Elco
Lebanon
at Lebanon
57
53

Nonleague
12/07
7:30 pm
Elco
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
55
59

Nonleague
12/10
7:30 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
49
70

Nonleague
12/13
7:30 pm
Cocalico
at Elco
41
60

League
12/16
7:30 pm
Elco
at Manheim Central
73
71

League
12/18
7:30 pm
Solanco
at Elco
47
62

League
12/20
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lampeter-Strasburg
50
54

League
12/28
7:30 pm
Elco
Spring Grove
at Eastern York
76
52

Nonleague
12/30
7:30 pm
Elco
Eastern York
at Eastern York
75
51

Nonleague
1/03
7:30 pm
Octorara
at Elco
42
49

League
1/04
1:30 pm
Oley Valley
at Elco
48
62

Nonleague
1/08
7:30 pm
Camp Hill
at Elco
60
72

Nonleague
1/09
7:30 pm
Elco
at Donegal
87
55

League
1/10
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
34
81

League
1/15
7:30 pm
Wyomissing
at Elco
44
49

Nonleague
1/17
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Elco
69
55

League
1/21
7:30 pm
Elco
at Octorara
59
48

League
1/24
7:30 pm
Donegal
at Elco
34
58

League
1/28
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
73
39

League
1/29
7:30 pm
Conrad Weiser
at Elco
58
81

Nonleague
1/31
7:30 pm
Garden Spot
at Elco
44
72

League
2/04
7:30 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
50
65

League
2/07
5:30 pm
Elco
Elizabethtown
at Warwick
49
50

Playoff
2/20
7:00 pm
Eastern York
at Elco

Playoff

PIAA District Three

Final Class AAAA Power Rankings

AAAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1***Lancaster Catholic19-2-0 0.762191 0.923596 0.564920 20.6 259.8 1.7 200.1
2***Bishop McDevitt17-2-0 0.751060 0.916870 0.548403 18.8 224.1 1.7 184.5
3***Eastern Lebanon County18-4-0 0.711677 0.848485 0.544467 19.6 260.5 3.5 218.0
4***Susquehanna Township14-7-0 0.661975 0.714607 0.597646 15.9 269.2 6.4 181.2
5***Littlestown18-4-0 0.643487 0.823256 0.423771 17.7 197.4 3.8 268.4
6***Eastern York14-8-0 0.628721 0.686364 0.558268 15.1 263.0 6.9 208.1
7***Wyomissing16-6-0 0.621187 0.765766 0.444480 17.0 209.4 5.2 261.7
8***Susquehannock12-10-0 0.601390 0.595349 0.608773 12.8 289.4 8.7 186.0
9***Octorara Area14-8-0 0.601272 0.681223 0.503555 15.6 233.8 7.3 230.5
10***Berks Catholic School12-8-0 0.587544 0.612745 0.556743 12.5 239.7 7.9 190.8
11James Buchanan11-11-0 0.529826 0.549065 0.506311 11.8 228.7 9.7 223.0
12East Pennsboro Area9-13-0 0.497445 0.432127 0.577279 9.6 268.6 12.6 196.7
13Schuylkill Valley10-11-0 0.493401 0.479616 0.510250 10.0 226.5 10.9 217.4
14Boiling Springs8-13-0 0.486786 0.428212 0.558378 8.5 250.6 11.4 198.2
15Middletown Area7-14-0 0.480847 0.354217 0.635617 7.4 286.3 13.4 164.1
16Northern Lebanon7-15-0 0.440695 0.350917 0.550423 7.7 260.4 14.2 212.7
17Kennard Dale6-16-0 0.429874 0.301887 0.586302 6.4 276.5 14.8 195.1
18Fleetwood7-14-0 0.392123 0.368675 0.420781 7.7 187.5 13.1 258.1
19Bermudian Springs7-14-0 0.387194 0.333333 0.453023 6.9 201.6 13.7 243.4
20Hamburg Area6-16-0 0.382099 0.283784 0.502262 6.3 233.1 15.9 231.0
21West Perry6-16-0 0.379199 0.278539 0.502227 6.1 231.2 15.8 229.1

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