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BY JEFF FALK

NEW HOLLAND – Good basketball teams are made up of good players who can run fast, jump high and shoot straight. That’s the conventional thinking.

Every time out, the Northern Lebanon girls fly in the face of that wisdom.

The Vikings are a good team because they execute the game plan, practice fundamentals and make their free throws. They also possess the abilities to channel the emotions of their leaders, to rise to the occasion and to play defense.

On Thursday night at Garden Spot High School, during the play-in round of the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs, Northern Lebanon did what they do, during a 43-32 triumph over Warwick. Mixing in some match-up zone with their trademark man-to-man defense and controlling the defensive boards, the Vikings opened a 29-7 lead through 24 minutes of action.

The victory propelled now 20-2 Northern Lebanon, the runner-up from Section Four, into the quarterfinal round of the L-L League playoffs, Saturday at 7 p.m. at Section Three champion Solanco. Warwick, the runner-up from Section Two, slipped to 12-10 overall .

“We sell something at Northern Lebanon. We sell the belief that we are special,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Ken Battistelli. “That we work harder. That we take it more seriously. When kids start believing in that, you become better than you are alone. You don’t generally see kids do what they’re not good at. They try to do things that they’re good at.

“They think it takes five organisms to be a good defensive team,” continued Battistelli. “They believe in the vision. But maybe what’s bigger than everything is that they love each other. They want to do well for each other. Because they like each other, they play harder. There’s no selfishness. It’s just more fun to win than anything else they do. They’re 20-2 because they work their butts off. If they didn’t work hard, one day – poof, it’s gone.”

The Vikings never trailed, after holding Warwick without a point for the entire opening quarter, and 46 seconds of the second period. On the other side of the ball, star Zara Zerman was netting nine points and Tabitha Hubbard was knocking down a three-pointer to build a 12-0 Viking lead.

“I thought we played a real good half of basketball,” said Battistelli. “They (his players) were moving their feet and doing a lot of right things. We played pretty strong defense. The focus was where it needed to be.

“I think we’re more prepared than most teams,” added Battistelli. “We treat every game like it’s the end of the world. I think that helped the gold start.”

When the Warriors finally did get on the scoreboard, they pulled to within 14-5 of Northern Lebanon’s lead. But on a lay-in from Rachel Papson and a three-pointer by Ashlyn Messinger, the Vikings closed the first half with a 19-5 advantage.

“When it’s right, I think it’s gorgeous,” said Battistelli of his side’s defense. “Because there’s nothing that emphasizes selflessness more than defense. You can’t be a team that’s good on defense without loving each other. It only takes one screwball to mess things up.”

On seven field goals and ten-for-13 free throwing, Zerman totaled 24 points. Northern Lebanon outscored Warwick 35-20 inside the arc.

“She’s a freak,” said Battistelli of Zerman. “She’s great. There’s not enough I can tell you about her performance.”

For the Vikings, the third quarter was pretty much a repeat of the first two.

Northern Lebanon did not allow a Warrior point for the first 6:15 of the second half, while it was stretching its lead to 27-5. Zerman tallied six more points and fellow senior Lindsay McFeaters scored on a driving lay-up.

“Do you know what I think happened? I think you can’t help but get happy,” said Battistelli of the Vikings’ fourth-quarter performance. “We’re not meant to be happy. When you aren’t focused 100 percent, that happens. You see why I’m intense. It’s that fine line. If you get happy and don’t violently control that first step (on defense), they’ll blow by you.”

The Warriors recorded 25 points in the final quarter – one of the highest totals that the Vikings had surrendered all season – and crept within 36-26 with two minutes to go. But the outcome was never really in doubt.

“I’m very, very concerned,” said Battistelli of Saturday’s match-up at Solanco. “We played them early in the season (a 35-19 NL win in Fredericksburg on Dec. 20). They’re very strong. If we’re not great, we’ll get exposed. Good will not be OK.”

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

2019-20 Northern Lebanon Girls’ Basketball Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
12/06
6:45 pm
Ephrata
Northern Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon Tip-Off Tournament
43
48

Nonleague
12/07
7:00 pm
Palmyra
Northern Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon Tip-Off Tournament
29
41

Nonleague
12/10
7:30 pm
West Perry
at Northern Lebanon
19
35

Nonleague
12/13
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lampeter-Strasburg
38
26

League
12/16
7:30 pm
Cocalico
at Northern Lebanon
31
37

League
12/18
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Garden Spot
48
17

League
12/20
7:30 pm
Solanco
at Northern Lebanon
19
35

League
12/27
6:00 pm
New Oxford
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon Holiday Tournament
27
45

Nonleague
12/28
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
McCaskey
at Lebanon Holiday Tournament
44
41

Nonleague
1/03
7:30 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
50
47

League
1/04
2:30 pm
East Pennsboro
Northern Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon Middle School
22
44

Nonleague
1/08
6:30 pm
Middletown
at Northern Lebanon
15
38

Nonleague
1/10
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
53
45

League
1/14
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Octorara
54
17

League
1/17
7:30 pm
Donegal
at Northern Lebanon
39
65

League
1/18
2:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Tulpehocken
Postponed
Nonleague
1/21
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic
35
42

League
1/23
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Manheim Central
47
35

League
1/25
4:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
47
12

Nonleague
1/28
7:30 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
35
37

League
1/31
7:30 pm
Octorara
at Northern Lebanon
30
59

League
2/04
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Donegal
60
46

League
2/06
7:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
Warwick
at Garden Spot

Playoff

PIAA District Three

Class AAAA Power Rankings

AAAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1Lancaster Catholic19-3-0 0.769688 0.878099 0.637185 21.3 303.3 3.0 172.7
2Northern Lebanon19-2-0 0.718342 0.917927 0.474406 21.3 214.6 1.9 237.7
3Bermudian Springs18-3-0 0.708281 0.853717 0.530527 17.8 253.3 3.1 224.2
4Eastern York16-6-0 0.694032 0.779736 0.589284 17.7 282.7 5.0 197.0
5Susquehanna Township17-5-0 0.693945 0.814894 0.546120 19.2 253.7 4.4 210.9
6Wyomissing17-5-0 0.642647 0.799539 0.450891 17.4 202.5 4.4 246.6
7Bishop McDevitt10-9-0 0.606278 0.588859 0.627568 11.1 258.2 7.8 153.2
8Fleetwood13-8-0 0.601579 0.676960 0.509447 14.3 225.2 6.8 216.8
9Kennard Dale12-10-0 0.598708 0.604545 0.591574 13.3 283.0 8.7 195.4
10Schuylkill Valley14-8-0 0.564890 0.671171 0.434991 14.9 195.6 7.3 254.0
11Eastern Lebanon County11-11-0 0.553386 0.550228 0.557245 12.1 263.8 9.9 209.6
12Big Spring9-11-0 0.504223 0.505076 0.503180 10.0 209.7 9.8 207.0
13Littlestown11-11-0 0.504069 0.497685 0.511871 10.8 242.6 10.9 231.3
14Boiling Springs10-11-0 0.485234 0.515663 0.448043 10.7 202.7 10.1 249.7
15James Buchanan9-13-0 0.461670 0.438389 0.490126 9.3 212.2 11.9 220.8
16West Perry7-14-0 0.403828 0.341289 0.480265 7.2 217.8 13.8 235.7
17Middletown Area5-16-0 0.391081 0.253071 0.559759 5.2 259.7 15.2 204.3
18Oley Valley8-14-0 0.386221 0.344186 0.437597 7.4 198.1 14.1 254.6
19Hamburg Area6-16-0 0.373007 0.295238 0.468058 6.2 216.5 14.8 246.1
20Octorara Area2-17-0 0.325424 0.123324 0.572434 2.3 235.9 16.4 176.2

Lancaster-Lebanon League

Final Section Four Standings

LeagueOverall
WLPCTWLPCTPFPA
Lancaster Catholic1301.0001930.8641330977
Northern Lebanon1120.8461920.905958640
Elco670.46211110.5001013933
Donegal490.3088140.36411091223
Octorara1120.0772190.0955961304

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