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IMG_7608BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – It’s more than just a little bit ritualistic.

Every year the Cedar faithful turn out for the tip-off tournament for their first assessment of the latest edition of the Lebanon boys’ basketball team – how they play, how much individual talent they have, how they stack up to memorable teams of the past. What they’re really looking for is hustle, style and a fair share of moxie.

On Friday night at Lebanon High School, the Cedars provided their fans the types of things they’ve grown accustomed to, during a 59-51 season-opening, overtime victory over Red Lion, in the first round of their tip-off tournament. After the score was tied at 43 at the end of regulation, Lebanon turned to intestinal fortitude to outscore the Lions 16-8 in the four-minute extra session.

The Cedars never trailed, after senior leader Luis Aquino-Rios notched the first five points of overtime, on a put-back, three-point play and a couple of free throws. In OT, Lebanon led 54-45 on a Felix Kortright lay-in.

IMG_7674“Hopefully they saw a Lebanon team who played hard,” said Lebanon head coach Tim Speraw of Cedar Nation. “They saw a team with upside working on the kinks with a lot of guys. Hopefully. we’ll figure things out sooner rather than later.

“When I can’t get kids to play hard, I shouldn’t be coaching any more,” continued Speraw. “And I’ll be the first one to admit it. It’s been a style of our team the last seven or eight years. They want to play hard. They know what the jersey represents. They know what it means to play for Lebanon.”

With the outcome, Lebanon advanced to Saturday’s championship game of the event. The Cedars will challenge rival Cedar Crest at 7:30 p.m. for the big trophy. It will be the first of at least three meeting between the Cedars and Falcons this season.

“We did not play very well, to be blunt,” said Speraw. “But I thought we did what we needed to do. We rebounded when we needed to. We made shots when we needed to. We have a very inexperience group, so you’ve got to expect that.

IMG_7700“But the bottom line is we came out with a ‘W’,” added Speraw. “We’re happy with that.”

Red Land’s switch to a zone defense early in the fourth quarter limited Lebanon to two points in the opening 5:35 of the period, and allowed the visitors to erase the Cedars’ eight-point cushion. But Carlos Rivera’s three-pointer stemmed the tide for the home side, and it was a Sincere Scott trey with a minute left in regulation that ultimately forced overtime.

“They (the Lions) went to zone early in the fourth quarter,” said Speraw. “I don’t think it gave us many problems. It just changed the pace of the game. When we had he lead, we were a little too aggressive. I thought overall we did OK against it.”

Lebanon held Red Land to a single point during a key stretch early in the second half, and assumed a 25-19 margin on a stick-back from Kortright. A trey by Scott with ten seconds left in the third stanza pushed the Cedar advantage to 35-25.

“That’s what it’s all about,” said Speraw of efforts to find Lebanon’s most effective combinations. “That’s what we’ve been doing in the preseason, just filling in holes from last season. Finding everyone’s role is a challenge. But everyone gave good minutes.

“We’ll see how it plays out,” Speraw added. “We always have the same goals.”

Scott, a versatile, athletic slasher, paced the Lebanon offense with 17 points. Rios checked in with 15 points and Kortright pumped in 11.

The Cedars drained a total of eight three-point field goals, but shot a woeful 13-for-25 from the charity stripe.

IMG_7619“Louie’s motor never stops,” said Speraw. “He’s a great leader for us. He’s a spark plug. He gets it done in every phase of the game.

“Sincere knocked down some huge shots and just made plays,” continued Speraw. “We needed him on the court. He knows every position.”

The opening half was sloppy on both sides.

But thanks to their defense, the Cedars’ took an 18-16 edge to the break, courtesy of a steal and lay-in by Rios. Earlier in the second period, Lebanon had notched eight unanswered points – on a Carlos Rivera three-pointer, an old-fashioned three-point play by Rios and an offensive rebound from Josh Kauffman – to open a 14-10 advantage.

“We did our best not to look ahead,” said Speraw. “It (a possible impending match-up with Cedar Crest) was in the back of their (his players’) minds, but we didn’t talk about it. Tomorrow night is going to be a whole lot of power. But we didn’t look past Red Lion. They (the Lions) played hard. We just have to show up to play against Cedar Crest, and be smarter with the ball. We know them pretty well. They (the Falcons) don’t have many weaknesses.”

Lebanon grabbed a 6-4 edge on Rios’ trey three minutes in. But the Cedars would go the next 7:16 without a score of any kind.

 

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To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

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Lebanon 59, Red Lion 51 (OT)
Red Lion (51)
Foster 8 6-6 24, Burchett 0 2-2 2, Dennis 0 4-8 4, Douglass 3 0-0 6, Stabley 0 1-2 1, Watt 1 0-0 2, Virata 3 0-0 9, Rollins 0 3-4 3. Totals: 15 16-22 51.

Lebanon (59)
Young 0 1-4 1, Scott 4 6-10 17, Aquino-Rios 5 4-6 15, Kortright 5 0-2 11, Martinez 1 0-0 2, Rivera 3 0-1 9, Kauffman 1 2-2 4. Totals: 19 13-25 59.

Red Lion 8 8 11 16 8 – 51
Lebanon 6 12 17 8 16 – 59
3-pointers: RL – Foster 2, Virata 3. L -Scott 3, Aquino-Rios, Rivera 3, Kortright.

 

 

 

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2017-18 Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Schedule

Date Teams Score
12/08
6:00 pm
Red Lion
at Lebanon
51
59
12/13
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Governor Mifflin
12/15
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Manheim Township
12/18
7:30 pm
McCaskey
at Lebanon
12/20
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Warwick
12/22
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Lebanon
12/28
TBD
Lebanon
TBA
at Cedar Crest
12/29
TBD
Lebanon
TBA
at Cedar Crest
1/05
7:30 pm
Conestoga Valley
at Lebanon
1/06
5:00 pm
Palmyra
Lebanon
at Lebanon Valley College
1/09
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Hempfield
1/12
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
1/16
7:30 pm
Manheim Township
at Lebanon
1/19
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at McCaskey
1/22
7:30 pm
Ephrata
at Lebanon
1/23
7:30 pm
Warwick
at Lebanon
1/26
7:30 pm
Penn Manor
at Lebanon
1/27
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Hershey
1/30
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Conestoga Valley
2/02
7:30 pm
Hempfield
at Lebanon
2/06
7:30 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest

 

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