The Lebanon girls without Gemiqua Benjamin? Or the Lebanon girls with Gemiqua Benjamin?
For the informed Cedar basketball fan, there really is no debate.
Benjamin, LHS’ best player and one of the top female players in Lebanon County, has played sparingly during the early portions of the 2010-11 season. The 6-1 senior center and four-year starter has been nursing a foot injury sustained during the fall volleyball season.
Cleared by ‘medicine men’ to play on Dec. 13, Benjamin made her initial appearance of the season Thursday, Dec. 16, when Lebanon hosted rival Cedar Crest. Benjamin entered the fray in the second quarter, notched a single basket, grabbed a couple of rebounds and blocked a shot during the Falcons’ 45-36 victory.
But Benjamin did not move particularly well and only played a handful of minutes. While the Cedars are loaded with talented players, it would seem Benjamin holds the key to LHS reaching its preseason goals.
“Percentage-wise, she’s about 60 percent at best,” said Lebanon head coach Carlos Sanchez following the Cedar Crest game. “Obviously we’re a different team with her. She’s a big factor on our team. But that’s no excuse for us losing.”
Without Benjamin, Lebanon had enough firepower to win the championship of the Nothern Lebanon Tip-Off Tournament. Currently, the Cedars sport a 2-1 overall mark and an 0-1 Lancaster-Lebanon Section Two record.