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ANNVILLE – Kids are tangible creatures. If they’re going to toil, perspire and aspire, their prize is going to have to be something you can touch, see and feel.

That said, playoffs can be a wonderful reward, and a great motivational tool.

On Monday night, in a battle of local clubs scuffling to reach the postseason, it was Annville-Cleona which took a step in that direction, with a resounding 59-42 triumph over rival Northern Lebanon. The two teams went back-and-forth during a tit-for-tat first half, before the Little Dutchmen outscored the Vikings 34-21 over the second 16 minutes of action.

IMG_0110The valuable win lifted Annville-Cleona to 5-10 on the season and 2-6 in Section Four of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. The Little Dutchmen were situated 12th in the latest power rankings for a District Three Class AA field which takes ten teams for its postseason.

Its eighth loss in its last nine outings all but eliminated Northern Lebanon, now 5-9 overall and 2-6 in Section Three of the L-L, from postseason consideration. The Vikings were sitting 28th in the latest power rankings for a District Three Class AAA field which takes 18 for its playoffs.

Back on December 5th, during both sides’ season opener, Northern Lebanon had defeated Annville-Cleona 44-39.

IMG_0244“It’s definitely a goal that’s attainable,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Chris Bradford of next month’s district tournament. “Double-A is smaller, but there are some good team. That was our first goal at the beginning of the year. We haven’t been there since I’ve been here. You can build off of this. We can take that and use it later. All of this for us is preparation. But we’re not there yet.

“(Northern Lebanon head coach, George) Chris’ team has put together some very good games against some very good teams,” added Bradford. “They’re throwing punches with the best of them. When you’re playing Lebanon teams, you’d like to win games against your neighbors.”

IMG_0248“This is one we needed, if we had any hopes of the postseason at all,” said George, the Vikings’ first-year skipper. “It’s a four-game week for us. This one should really sting. It was a team we already beat. But we didn’t dominate them by any stretch of the imagination. This makes it, I don’t want to say impossible. Pretty much we can’t lose too many more.

“I’m not ready to look back at the season,” George added. “This is a process. It’s a year-to-year thing. The kinds of things we’re trying to change are from Grade One up. We’ve got seniors. To tell them there’s no chance at something, that’s what makes tonight tough.”

It was a 12-3 third-quarter run that turned the trick for the Little Dutchmen. Annville-Cleona was nursing a precarious 25-24 edge, before the decisive burst made it 37-27, with 40 seconds left in the period.

Four different Little Dutchmen tallied points in the run, including senior guard Matt Light, who struck for six.

But what settled the issue was Annville-Cleona’s 11 straight points late in the fourth quarter. Up 46-39 at the time, the Little Dutchmen built an insurmountable 57-39 lead – their biggest of the evening – on a couple of charity tosses from Light, with 52 ticks to go.

IMG_0269Noah Myers contributed four points to that particular spurt, while Julian DyReyes-Kapp converted an old-fashioned three-point play and Don Friday stroked a couple of foul shots.

“Our thing this year has been coming out flat,” said Bradford. “We’re searching for answers about that. Last year it was the complete opposite. I don’t want to say it’s a lack of focus. But we have to find ways to play better at beginning of games. But as the game wore on, we played better, We cut down on our turnovers.

“We’ve got a rough week,” continued Bradford. “Three games against Section Three teams. You’ll take what you can get from that. Section Three is pretty tough. Having played them (the Vikings) early, we owed them a little bit. Now it’s kind of: “Can we roll up this feeling and use it?'”

IMG_0280“We really lost focus tonight,” said George. “The same thing happened against Elco. We lost focus on the little things. I thought the kids came out ready to go. But we haven’t been able to put 32 minutes together all year. We just don’t have the habits. It’s a new program, a new philosophy.

“I just thought they (the Little Dutchmen) played with more hustle and heart,” George continued. “That’s no excuse. They had bigger guys beating us down the court. I don’t want to take credit away from them.”

Light finished with a game-high 19 points, a total that was matched by Myers. Light notched nine of his total from the charity stripe, and nine of Myers’ points came from beyond ‘the arc’.

DyReyes-Kapp recorded ten points for the Little Dutchmen, while Isaac Bicher tossed in 14 Northern Lebanon points and Caleb Light threw in 11.

Annville-Cleona made good on 15 of 18 free throw attempts, and Northern Lebanon went nine-for-21 at ‘the stripe’.

IMG_0114“Nineteen points for Matt was probably a career high,” said Bradford of his senior point. “He’s had his ups and downs. He’s had his bumps and bruises. We ask a lot of him. But this may be as rewarding for him as anyone.”

“The kid had an amazing game,” said George of Light. “He controlled the game. He gave us fits all night. Their size gave us trouble around the rim. They’ve got a couple of trees.

“The free throws were huge,” continued George. “I think we were one-of-nine in the first half. It’s hard to maintain momentum. We dominated the first half, but they hit a couple of buckets and you go into the half down.”

IMG_0270Northern Lebanon netted the first nine points of the game, on a pair of ‘threes’ by William Fellows and one from Shane Reeese. Annville-Cleona notched the second nine points of the game, on five Myers points, a DyReyes-Kapp stick-back and a couple of charity tosses from Cameron Hoch.

The first quarter ended in a nine-all deadlock.

“I told our guys, ‘You dug yourself a hole. You got down, now find a way out,'” said Bradford. “Being against Northern Lebanon is a big thing for our guys. Northern Lebanon is one of those teams where there’s a lot there. But there was plenty of time. I called an early timeout and I said, ‘What are you going to do? Are you going to lay down? Or are you going to do something about it?’

IMG_0182“We talked a lot about the paint and the free throw line,” added Bradford. “Chris’ kids are effective getting in there, and they’re effective at getting you to foul them. But we were effective at what we wanted to do, and I can be happy about that. They (the Vikings) were able to speed us up. That’s typically not what we want to do. But maybe that’s something we need to look at.”

“I thought the foul shots were huge,” said George. “When you have a chance to bury a team, and when you don’t and they have life, it’s a different vibe. You could see it in them. They had a hunger. Some of it was a lack of hustle on our part, and some of it was a lack of focus.

IMG_0107“They’re (the Little Dutchmen) Double-A,” George added. “Obviously they’ve got tools. They’ve got a heck of a point guard. You’ve got a couple of 6-4, 6-6 guys who are athletic. It’s not a bad, young crew.”

A Bicher drive and a Bicher three-pointer amounted to an 18-14 Viking lead in the middle of the second stanza. But the Little Dutchmen responded with an 11-3 run over the final three minutes of the first half – thanks to three apiece from Myers, DyReyes-Kapp and Ryan Matthews and two from Light – to take a 25-21 margin to the locker room.

“We’ll have to see how our numbers play out,” said Bradford of districts. “I have seniors who were sophomores when I got here. I can look at them now and see how far they came. But they probably taught me more than I taught them.

IMG_0275“To get there (districts) and leave that little bit of legacy behind, to be rewarded for that, that would be nice,” continued Bradford. “But no one’s going to give it to us. You want to be able to look at the seniors and have them set the tone for the rest of the guys. I think a lot of our young guys see that. We had a lot of contributions tonight.”

“We have a really good young crew,” said George. “They’re going to play hard. They’re going to keep after it. I’m not worried about us tanking. As much as maybe not winning, they’re enjoying the ride.”

And the Little Dutchmen played this one with heavy hearts. Before the contest they learned of the sudden passing of 59-year-old Annville-Cleona school district superintendent Stephen Houser.

“This is a guy who meant a lot to this school and community,” said Bradford of Houser. “I wouldn’t have this job if it wasn’t for him. He’s a guy who gave me an opportunity. We just put Annville-Cleona out there for today. We felt like we were accomplishing something. They (his players) recognized it was a guy who would lay it on the line for us. It was a day the community lost someone who cared.”

IMG_0286To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to www.http://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/gallery-ten/.










IMG_02032015-16 Annville-Cleona Boys’ Basketball Results

Northern Lebanon
12:30 PM L 39-44
Oley Valley
7:30 PM W 41-28
12/11 *
7:30 PM L 31-57
12/14 *
7:30 PM L 29-45
12/16 *
7:30 PM W 58-53
12/18 *
@Lebanon Catholic
7:30 PM W 49-44
12/22 *
@Pequea Valley
1:00 PM L 37-45
12/23 *
7:30 PM L 46-62
12/29 #
@Northern York
6:00 PM L 47-49
6:00 PM W 42-35
4:30 PM L 42-71
01/05 *
Lancaster Mennonite
7:30 PM L 57-68
01/08 *
@Lancaster Catholic
7:30 PM L 32-48
Northern Lebanon
7:30 PM W 59-42
7:30 AM Elco High School
7:30 PM Elco High School
Manheim Central
7:30 PM Annville-Cleona High School
01/19 *
Lebanon Catholic
6:00 PM Annville-Cleona High School
01/22 *
Pequea Valley
7:30 PM Annville-Cleona High School
01/25 *
7:30 PM Columbia High School
01/28 *
@Lancaster Mennonite
7:30 PM Lancaster Mennonite High School
02/02 *
Lancaster Catholic
7:30 PM Annville-Cleona High School





IMG_01382015-16 Northern Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Results

12:30 PM W 44-39
7:30 PM W 44-25
12/11 *
Pequea Valley
7:30 PM W 68-45
12/14 *
@Lebanon Catholic
7:30 PM W 52-49
12/16 *
Lancaster Mennonite
7:30 PM L 49-75
12/18 *
7:30 PM L 36-65
12/21 *
7:30 PM L 53-57
12/23 *
7:30 PM L 43-71
12/29 #
Daniel Boone
7:30 PM W 65-39
12/30 #
Penn Manor
7:30 PM L 51-59
01/05 *
7:30 PM L 57-83
01/08 *
@Manheim Central
7:30 PM L 53-61
7:30 PM L 42-59
Lancaster Catholic
7:30 PM Northern Lebanon High School
7:30 PM Columbia High School
7:30 PM Hamburg High School
01/19 *
7:30 PM Northern Lebanon High School
01/22 *
7:30 PM Cocalico High School
01/25 *
7:30 PM Northern Lebanon High School
01/28 *
7:30 PM Elco High School
02/02 *
Manheim Central
7:30 PM Northern Lebanon High School


IMG_0215Lancaster-Lebanon League

Section Three Standings

Lampeter-Strasburg 7-1 12-1
Elco 6-2 13-2
Cocalico 6-2 11-3
Manheim Central 5-3 8-4
Donegal 3-5 5-9
Northern Lebanon 2-6 5-9










IMG_0226Section Four Standings

Lancaster Mennonite 6-2 7-7
Lancaster Catholic 6-2 7-7
Pequea Valley 3-5 5-9
Columbia 2-6 5-8
Annville-Cleona 2-6 5-10
Lebanon Catholic 0-8 2-12











IMG_0283PIAA District Three

 Class AAA Power Rankings

AAA School  W  L  T  Rating
1 Milton Hershey 10- 0- 0  0.811748
2 Bishop McDevitt 9- 3- 0  0.789151
3 Lampeter Strasburg 11- 1- 0  0.753498
4 Eastern Lebanon County 12- 2- 0  0.724784
5 Eastern York 9- 3- 0  0.701382
6 Cocalico 10- 3- 0  0.696235
7 Gettysburg 9- 4- 0  0.682011
8 Palmyra 11- 3- 0  0.675272
9 West York 6- 5- 0  0.652021
10 Middletown 9- 4- 0  0.646919
11 Steelton Highspire 6- 5- 0  0.637771
12 Manheim Central 8- 4- 0  0.630729
13 James Buchanan 9- 4- 0  0.629947
14 Dover 7- 5- 0  0.625515
15 Wyomissing 8- 4- 0  0.605851
16 East Pennsboro 7- 6- 0  0.592065
17 Berks Catholic 6- 6- 0  0.574454
18 Twin Valley 8- 6- 0  0.570905
19 Schuylkill Valley 8- 5- 0  0.563943
20 Conrad Weiser 5- 5- 0  0.554667
21 Lancaster Catholic 7- 6- 0  0.547904
22 Susquehannock 3- 7- 0  0.521272
23 York Suburban 5- 9- 0  0.516011
24 Susquehanna Township 3- 8- 0  0.507335
25 Big Spring 6- 7- 0  0.502728
26 Northern Lebanon 5- 8- 0  0.471303
27 Boiling Springs 4- 8- 0  0.470256
28 Donegal 4- 9- 0  0.456480
29 Pequea Valley 5- 8- 0  0.453251
30 Littlestown 5- 8- 0  0.432717
31 Kennard Dale 3- 8- 0  0.431459
32 Oley Valley 5- 7- 0  0.429994
33 West Perry 4- 10- 0  0.421338
34 Fleetwood 3- 9- 0  0.360422
35 Hamburg 2- 7- 0  0.326540
36 Bermudian Springs 2- 11- 0  0.284064












IMG_0155District Three

 Class AA Power Rankings

AA School  W  L  T  Rating
1 Camp Hill 9- 3- 0  0.682337
2 Trinity 7- 4- 0  0.630431
3 York Catholic 9- 3- 0  0.621278
4 Hanover 10- 3- 0  0.575734
5 Upper Dauphin 10- 3- 0  0.573505
6 Lancaster Mennonite 7- 6- 0  0.571538
7 Delone Catholic 5- 8- 0  0.451821
8 Biglerville 8- 7- 0  0.446788
9 Columbia 5- 8- 0  0.433562
10 Newport 6- 7- 0  0.420938
11 Antietam 6- 8- 0  0.406527
12 Annville Cleona 4- 10- 0  0.398210
13 Kutztown 4- 6- 0  0.376756
14 Brandywine Heights 3- 8- 0  0.341228
15 Tulpehocken 2- 10- 0  0.321662
16 Fairfield 2- 10- 0  0.290256
17 Susquenita 1- 11- 0  0.221163











































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