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IMG_5371BY JEFF FALK

PALMYRA – The Palmyra boys’ basketball team has definitely improved this season. But whether or not the Cougars have improved enough is a matter of conjecture.

On Monday night at home, the Cougars flashed signs of their inevitable improvement, before ultimately succumbing to their own miscues, during a 69-66 non-league setback to Ephrata. Palmyra’s most disturbing mistake came late in the third quarter when a technical foul helped fuel a seven-point Ephrata trip that the Mounts used to take the lead for good.

The loss dimmed any glimmer of hope that the Cougars had of sneaking into the backdoor of the District Three Class AAA tournament. The rebuilding Cougars are now 5-9 overall, while the Mounts upped their seasonal mark to 6-7.

“My expectations were that we would be getting better,” said Palmyra head coach Pete Conrad. “I do think we have gotten better. But we’re not satisfied with where we’re at. We have some things we need to correct, and we need to continue to move in the right direction.

IMG_5401“I thought if we could’ve won this game we might have a chance (at a postseason berth),” Conrad continued. “This loss hurts towards that, and it shows that maybe we’re not there yet. Maybe we need to take care of our house before we look outside of it.”

Palmyra was protecting a 44-41 lead, when it was hit with a technical foul following a conventional three-point play by the Mounts, with 28 seconds to go in the third quarter. After Ephrata made one of two charity tosses, the Mounts hit a buzzer-beating trey to carry a 48-44 advantage into the final quarter.

Ephrata’s momentum spilled over into that fourth period, where it notched the stanza’s initial five points to up its margin to nine points.

To their credit, the Cougars didn’t fold, getting seven Ian Frazier points in a matter of 22 frantic seconds late, to pull within 69-66. After the Mounts clanged a couple of foul shots with four seconds left, Palmyra’s Eric Lynn’s off-balanced three-point attempt at the buzzer fell well off the mark.

“It was huge, a huge swing,” said Conrad of the Mounts’ seven-point trip at the end of the third. “But at the same time, that wasn’t our only mental mistake. We didn’t quit. There’s no fault in how hard we played.

IMG_5421“But I thought we had a lot of strategic Xs and Os lapses,” he added.

Palmyra had opened a 30-16 bulge three minutes into the second quarter on back-to-back treys from Frazier and Isaac Blatt. But the Mounts would score the next 13 points to get back to within a point of the Cougars.

“I was a little disappointed with the guys defensively,” said Conrad. “Normally we have trouble with the guys in the post, but tonight we had trouble with the guards.

“The guys are working hard and they’re staying together,” Conrad continued. “Those things are intact. But we still ¬†have to get better in other areas.”

Assertive guard Austin Yetter had a strong offensive showing for Palmyra, pumping in 17 points. Dorta netted 14 points and Frazier notched 13.

The Cougars made only half of their 14 free throw attempts and were outscored by ten points at the foul line.

“I thought we had a little better intensity early,” said Conrad, whose team is ranked 20th in District Three, in a Class AAA field that sends 18 to the playoffs. “We had some things go our way. When they (the Mounts) had some adversity, they worked through it. When we had adversity, we didn’t. That’s the sign of a young team.’

IMG_5394Ironically, an intentional foul and a technical foul on the Mounts had helped Palmyra to a 22-point first quarter. Six different Palmyra players found their way into the scoring column during the initial eight minutes of action.

“Ephrata’s got some smart senior leadership,” said Conrad. “They played real smart. And we made mistakes characteristic of a young team.”

IMG_54472013-2014 PIAA District III Boys Basketball Power Rating
CLASS AAA – Unofficial Rankings
(Includes results of all games as reported through Sunday January 12
Top 18 qualify for playoffs)
RANK SCHOOL NAME POWER RATING
1 Bishop McDevitt (11-0) 0.831378 1.000000 (13.1-0) 0.625285 (164.7-98.7)
2 West York Area (13-0) 0.778485 1.000000 (14.6-0) 0.507744 (121.3-117.6)
3 Boiling Springs (10-2) 0.752214 0.888889 (11.2-1.4) 0.585167 (143.6-101.8)
4 Lancaster Mennonite (10-3) 0.727697 0.900000 (9.9-1.1) 0.517105 (117.9-110.1)
5 Bermudian Springs (11-1) 0.724571 0.930769 (12.1-0.9) 0.472552 (107.6-120.1)
6 Manheim Central (10-2) 0.703521 0.852941 (11.6-2) 0.520896 (139.6-128.4)
7 Susquehanna Township (6-4) 0.690105 0.700000 (7-3) 0.678012 (151.4-71.9)
8 Gettysburg Area (10-4) 0.685373 0.789474 (12-3.2) 0.558140 (129.6-102.6)
9 Berks Catholic (8-3) 0.680669 0.843137 (8.6-1.6) 0.482097 (92.9-99.8)
10 Steelton Highspire (10-3) 0.669709 0.785185 (10.6-2.9) 0.528571 (118.4-105.6)
11 Conrad Weiser (8-4) 0.660716 0.745763 (8.8-3) 0.556770 (132.4-105.4)
12 Northern Lebanon (10-4) 0.643818 0.760563 (10.8-3.4) 0.501130 (133.1-132.5)
IMG_538713 York Suburban (8-4) 0.629877 0.714286 (8-3.2) 0.526712 (133.1-119.6)
14 East Pennsboro (7-4) 0.621102 0.706422 (7.7-3.2) 0.516822 (127.5-119.2)
15 Milton Hershey (6-4) 0.610218 0.666667 (6.4-3.2) 0.541225 (143.1-121.3)
16 Lancaster Catholic (6-5) 0.600297 0.601770 (6.8-4.5) 0.598496 (159.2-106.8)
17 Northeastern (6-6) 0.597287 0.586207 (6.8-4.8) 0.610828 (168.1-107.1)
18 Eastern York (5-5) 0.585771 0.548077 (5.7-4.7) 0.631841 (165.1-96.2)
19 Dover Area (5-6) 0.584290 0.541284 (5.9-5) 0.636852 (178-101.5)
20 Palmyra Area (5-8) 0.533797 0.471074 (5.7-6.4) 0.610459 (161.1-102.8)
21 Wyomissing Area (6-5) 0.533130 0.577320 (5.6-4.1) 0.479121 (109-118.5)
22 Eastern Lebanon County(ELCO) (5-8) 0.517973 0.445378 (5.3-6.6) 0.606701 (166.6-108)
23 Middletown Area (5-7) 0.516002 0.482456 (5.5-5.9) 0.557002 (141.2-112.3)
24 Fleetwood Area (6-5) 0.506084 0.604396 (5.5-3.6) 0.385926 (70.2-111.7)
25 Greencastle Antrim (4-7) 0.487239 0.417722 (3.3-4.6) 0.572205 (126.4-94.5)
26 Twin Valley (4-6) 0.466321 0.477273 (4.2-4.6) 0.452936 (97.2-117.4)
27 Susquehannock (5-8) 0.459505 0.421488 (5.1-7) 0.505971 (127.1-124.1)
28 Big Spring (4-10) 0.438180 0.317460 (4-8.6) 0.585726 (142.8-101)
29 Donegal (3-10) 0.427668 0.299145 (3.5-8.2) 0.584752 (151.1-107.3)
30 Pequea Valley (2-10) 0.383027 0.206897 (2.4-9.2) 0.598298 (147.6-99.1)
IMG_545231 West Perry (3-8) 0.371668 0.267327 (2.7-7.4) 0.499196 (124.2-124.6)
32 Littlestown (2-8) 0.365253 0.215686 (2.2-8) 0.548057 (134-110.5)
33 Oley Valley (3-8) 0.342295 0.262136 (2.7-7.6) 0.440268 (85.5-108.7)
34 James Buchanan (2-10) 0.323216 0.115789 (1.1-8.4) 0.576738 (131.9-96.8)
35 Hamburg Area (2-11) 0.322651 0.136752 (1.6-10.1) 0.549861 (119.1-97.5)
36 Schuylkill Valley (1-12) 0.291062 0.081081 (0.9-10.2) 0.547705 (121.7-100.5)
37 Kennard Dale (0-14) 0.285898 0.000000 (0-12.4) 0.635330 (167.6-96.2)

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