Lebanon Sports Buzz
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IMG_8409BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – Last night, the Lebanon girls played their least important basketball game of the season. But despite that fact, the Cedars performed like it was very important.

That approach will serve it well when Lebanon High plays its most important games of the season.

On Thursday evening, Lebanon closed out what was perhaps the best regular season it could’ve hope for, with a 47-37 home victory over Ephrata. After relinquishing most of a double-digit lead late in the first half, the Cedars really asserted themselves following the break.

Lebanon, which had secured its first Lancaster-Lebanon Section Two title since 2007 last week, won for the 15th time in its last 16 outings. The Cedars are now 18-4 overall and 13-3 in the section.

IMG_8520Ironically, it was the same Ephrata outfit which had handed Lebanon its only loss during its current streak, a 41-38 outcome on Jan. 10. The Mounts are now 10-12 on the year and 7-9 in the circuit.

Things will get a whole lot more serious for the Cedars as soon as Monday, when they host the Section Four runner-up in the opening round of the L-L League playoffs.

“I’ve got to say, ‘no’, because we’re in the top seven in the (District Three Class AAAA) power rankings,” said Lebanon head coach Ben Brewer. “To get a home game in districts is a probability. I didn’t want them (his players) to take a game off. I didn’t want them to take that approach. Plus we had won eight in-a-row and I want to keep the momentum going.

“In our last 16 games, we had one quarter where we got outscored 14-2 (by Ephrata),” added Brewer. “Other than that, we’ve been pretty darn consistent. Now everyone’s good. We’ve got to have 32 minutes of consistency to win those big games.”

IMG_8450The Cedars led by as many as eleven points in the first half, but the Mounts pulled to within 22-20 with a bucket in the first two minutes of the third quarter. It was at that point that Lebanon put it in another gear.

Lebanon notched up the speed and outscored Ephrata 13-3 over the rest of the quarter to open a 12-point bulge. Impressively, six different Cedars – Shaela Shellehamer, Kiana Graves, Lauren Chambers, Brittany Ulrich, Maddy Rakow and Alicia Haitos – contributed to the decisive spurt, both offensively and defensively.

IMG_8516“The effort was there. That’s one thing I never worry about,” said Brewer. “We got a little shot happy in the first half. I think we shot 10 three-pointers. But we got the ball to the rim more in the second half. Ephrata is always a tough win. You know you’re always going to get a tough game from them. They’re well-coached and fundamental. Fortunately we got away with a win, and finished off a great regular season.

‘Yeah, we’ve got goals for the postseason,” Brewer continued. “We want to win every game. We’d like to make a run. We’d like to play in the Giant Center. I’d like to take these girls to states. We have an opportunity to play a lot more games.”

Junior point guard Ulrich showed the way for Lebanon with 15 points, while classmate Rakow canned a dozen. Ephrata made good only three of its seven free throw attempts.

“I would disagree,” said Brewer. “I think we’ve become a junior and senior team. Lauren Chambers is a rock who keeps us going. She’s going to give you her all, all the time. She has grit and  plays with such heart. We’re a senior-led team, and we’ve had the juniors step up and emerge.”

IMG_8423With her basket 43 seconds into the final stanza, Ulrich gave her side a 37-23 advantage. Lebanon enjoyed four other 14-point leads in the fourth quarter, on buckets by Rakow, Shellehamer, Chambers and Ulrich again.

“We started here at the beginning of the first practice and point up at the wall,” said Brewer. “They were still remodeling and none of the banners were up. One of our goals was to make them put the banner up with a new championship on it. And if you do well in the section, you’ll do well in the league playoffs and districts. The goals all kind of fall in line. We were 9-13 last year. Now we’re 18-4, section champions and seventh in the district.”

Down 4-3 early, treys from Ulrich and Chambers sparked an 11-4 LHS run. Then the Cedars got consecutive lay-ins out of Rakow at the start of the second period to open a 19-8 bulge.

IMG_8496But all Lebanon could manage over the final 4:22 of the first half was a Shellehamer drive, as Ephrata closed to within 22-18 at the break.

“The football team had an amazing fall season,” said Brewer. “And with the boys (basketball team) and us winning section championships, it says a lot for our kids and the school. (Boys’) Coach (Tim) Speraw and I are both Lebanon grads and it makes us proud. We needed that.”

Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Two Standings

 

x-Lebanon 13 – 3 – 0 18 – 4 – 0
Cocalico 9 – 6 – 0 15 – 7 – 0
Conestoga Valley 8 – 8 – 0 12 – 10 – 0
Ephrata 7 – 9 – 0 10 – 12 – 0
Elizabethtown 2 – 14 – 0 4 – 18 – 0
Solanco 0 – 15 – 0 1 – 21 – 0

x- clinched section championship

District Three

 Class AAAA Power Rankings

RANK SCHOOL NAME POWER RANKING TWWP (55%) OWWP (45%)
1 Manheim Township (21-0) 0.825755 1.000000 (26.7-0) 0.612789 (277.9-175.6)
2 Cumberland Valley (18-2) 0.812796 0.943548 (23.4-1.4) 0.652987 (268.9-142.9)
IMG_84513 Dover Area (18-2) 0.797673 0.930435 (21.4-1.6) 0.635409 (272.4-156.3)
4 Wilson (15-7) 0.788649 0.896552 (18.2-2.1) 0.656769 (225.6-117.9)
5 Cedar Crest (16-5) 0.760928 0.846473 (20.4-3.7) 0.656372 (301.8-158)
6 Mechanicsburg Area (18-2) 0.741286 0.921739 (21.2-1.8) 0.520733 (227.3-209.2)
7 Lebanon (17-4) 0.738936 0.873418 (20.7-3) 0.574569 (253.5-187.7)
8 Dallastown Area (16-6) 0.732391 0.808333 (19.4-4.6) 0.639572 (299-168.5)
9 Central Dauphin (12-9) 0.726578 0.751220 (15.4-5.1) 0.696460 (273.5-119.2)
10 Red Lion Area (14-8) 0.707925 0.737288 (17.4-6.2) 0.672037 (317-154.7)
11 Cocalico (14-7) 0.700691 0.780269 (17.4-4.9) 0.603429 (271-178.1)
12 Hempfield (13-8) 0.692874 0.728972 (15.6-5.8) 0.648754 (283.7-153.6)
13 Muhlenberg (14-8) 0.690102 0.726496 (17-6.4) 0.645620 (290.4-159.4)
14 Central Dauphin East (12-9) 0.687325 0.726415 (15.4-5.8) 0.639549 (266.5-150.2)
15 Exeter Township (15-6) 0.672027 0.795349 (17.1-4.4) 0.521301 (227.6-209)
16 Lampeter Strasburg (15-5) 0.669540 0.802885 (16.7-4.1) 0.506564 (204.5-199.2)
17 New Oxford (12-9) 0.668751 0.669767 (14.4-7.1) 0.667508 (317.4-158.1)
18 Governor Mifflin (12-10) 0.667854 0.681416 (15.4-7.2) 0.651277 (290.6-155.6)
IMG_850019 Harrisburg (13-9) 0.658761 0.707207 (15.7-6.5) 0.599549 (265.9-177.6)
20 Hershey (14-7) 0.655681 0.744395 (16.6-5.7) 0.547252 (238-196.9)
21 J P McCaskey (11-10) 0.652446 0.661972 (14.1-7.2) 0.640804 (296.5-166.2)
22 Ephrata Area (10-11) 0.631604 0.618357 (12.8-7.9) 0.647793 (290.6-158)
23 Conestoga Valley (11-10) 0.627081 0.658537 (13.5-7) 0.588635 (260-181.7)
24 Spring Grove Area (11-10) 0.618182 0.622120 (13.5-8.2) 0.613368 (280.8-177)
25 Garden Spot (12-8) 0.599535 0.656250 (12.6-6.6) 0.530218 (216.7-192)
26 Lower Dauphin (10-10) 0.597443 0.578947 (11-8) 0.620049 (280.2-171.7)
27 Central York (10-12) 0.583866 0.563636 (12.4-9.6) 0.608591 (279.1-179.5)
28 Warwick (6-15) 0.530021 0.410811 (7.6-10.9) 0.675722 (315.9-151.6)
29 Red Land (8-12) 0.528653 0.468085 (8.8-10) 0.602680 (260.9-172)
30 York Country Day (13-4) 0.512469 0.718310 (10.2-4) 0.260885 (73.7-208.8)
31 Manheim Central (8-13) 0.483026 0.419890 (7.6-10.5) 0.560194 (242.9-190.7)
32 Chambersburg Area (5-16) 0.470685 0.329843 (6.3-12.8) 0.642824 (281.3-156.3)
33 Daniel Boone (5-17) 0.450353 0.309783 (5.7-12.7) 0.622162 (276.8-168.1)
34 Elizabethtown Area (4-17) 0.437929 0.272189 (4.6-12.3) 0.640499 (292.9-164.4)
35 Reading (3-18) 0.421241 0.228070 (3.9-13.2) 0.657338 (288.9-150.6)
IMG_852236 South Western (3-17) 0.420524 0.194118 (3.3-13.7) 0.697244 (323.8-140.6)
37 Penn Manor (2-19) 0.395892 0.157576 (2.6-13.9) 0.687166 (321.8-146.5)
38 Cedar Cliff (3-17) 0.391164 0.203488 (3.5-13.7) 0.620546 (282.1-172.5)
39 Carlisle (1-20) 0.348943 0.080745 (1.3-14.8) 0.676741 (309-147.6)
40 William Penn (4-17) 0.343964 0.213198 (4.2-15.5) 0.503789 (219.4-216.1)
41 Solanco (1-20) 0.328798 0.058824 (0.9-14.4) 0.658767 (300.2-155.5)
42 Waynesboro Area (2-18) 0.301881 0.113636 (2-15.6) 0.531959 (232.2-204.3)

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