Andy's Take!

ED Note: LLhoops welcomes Andy Herr. An ex-Warwick player, Andy gives LLhoops a new veiwpoint. Enjoy! @andybrackets

Past Reports

Dec 9-10

Dec12-18

Dec 19-24

Dec 25-Jan 7

Jan 9-15

Jan 16-22

Week of Jan 23-28

Manheim Central Uses Late Second Quarter Barrage To Take Down Kennard-Dale 63-47

Just a few weeks ago, the Manheim Central Baron Basketball program was riding high with an undefeated record heading into a road test against Garden Spot. After the Barons trip to New Holland, the possibility of perhaps running the table, albeit an extremely tall task given the depth of talent still on the Barons’ schedule, especially in Section 2, would have to be put to the side as Cam Sensenig’s bucket in the lane in the waning seconds gave Central their only loss of the season coming into this week. Since the GS game, the Barons picked up right where they left off winning 3 in a row against Section 2 foes, and 5 in a row overall heading into Monday night’s game with Kennard-Dale.

The Barons’ opponent at the beginning of the week was more than comfortable with their surroundings as the Rams took part in the YAIAA-LL Section 2 Showcase at Manheim a few weeks ago, a game in which in KD fell short of Lampeter-Strasburg 58-50. Additionally, Monday night’s contest would be Kennard-Dale’s 6th game against L-L competition this year, an eye-popping number when you consider that the Rams are located literally just north of the Maryland state line. In those 5 previous contests, the Rams came away with a 1-4 record but for a time early on Monday night, it looked like KD would make it a grand finale by knocking off the home-standing Barons, but a critical close to the first half helped Central stave off KD’s upset bid 63-47.

Kennard-Dale jumped out to the early 5-0 after a bucket from Garrett Lowe and a triple by Adam Freese two minutes into the ballgame. The Barons would rally back to tie things up at 5 apiece after Trevor Hosler’s 3ball two minutes later. The game of runs continued as KD reeled off a 6-0 jaunt to take the lead at 11-5, with junior forward Donnell Williams chipping in the last four of the Ram attack. The Barons would again bounce right back and not let Kennard-Dale get too far in front as Central used hoops by Kody Kegarise and Taylor Funk to get within two at 11-9 before Kegarise knocked down two from the stripe to make it 11-11 as the first quarter ended.

The Barons would carry their late first quarter run over to the second quarter as MC took the lead 13-11 to begin Q2 before Adam Freese put a stop to the salvo with a trifecta to give Kennard Dale the lead 14-13. Central then turned turnovers into points as two Baron takeaways amounted to two Taylor Funk buckets as Manheim Central raced back in front 20-16. MC would later retain the momentum as they went on to score the last seven points of the half with a steal and finish by Trevor Hosler and a Taylor Funk theft and bucket off the ensuing inbound helped usher Central into the halftime break in command leading 27-16. The Barons turned up the defensive intensity to create steals and deflections which led to points down at the offensive end as Manheim Central closed the first half with a dynamite 14-2 run to take control.

To their credit, Kennard-Dale did not go quietly back to Fawn Grove as the Rams came out of the intermission with a run of their own to claw back in it with Adam Freese following a shot to get KD within single digits before a Donnell Williams lay in made it a six point contest as KD had shrunk Central’s impressive lead down to 27-21. The margin would stay at six three minutes into the quarter when Freese splashed home one of his four treys on the night to make it 30-24 Barons.

Big players step up in big time moments and was exactly what Taylor Funk did for his squad as the future St Joe’s Hawk tallied the next two field goals for MC before a Roman Wagner hoop off a beautifully executed inbounds play suddenly swelled Central’s lead to 36-24. Funk then got his teammates involved as he flipped a sweet dish inside to Trevor Hosler for the easy deuce before a Connor Hostetter 3ball helped Manheim Central end the third quarter in possession of the 43-29 lead.

Kennard-Dale tried to rally the troops for the stretch run as Adam Freese was a man on a mission to start the fourth quarter as the junior southpaw was all net from deep to make the Manheim Central lead 15 at 50-35. Freese then translated that into effort defensively as he swatted the ensuing Baron shot attempt into the bleachers. Freese would later be on the scene the next time down the floor as his lay in to add to a team-high 18 on the evening, made it a 13 point Baron cushion at 50-37.

The deficit would prove to be too large to come back from and Funk’s assist to Connor Hostetter for 3 later on did not help matters for the Rams as the junior’s triple pushed the Baron lead back up to 16 at 53-37 with 3:05 left to play. Jordan Day would chip in a triple from the corner later on for KD, but Trevor Hosler getting behind the defense off of the press break would promptly answer for MC, while Connor Hostetter followed suit on a nearly identical play as Manheim Central coasted home to the 16 point victory.

Lebanon Makes Quick Work Of Warwick In 69-41 Road Victory

When trying to project teams that are capable of winning the LL basketball tournament taking place in a few weeks, there a few names that are at the forefront of the discussion. One of those teams unequivocally has to be the Lebanon Cedars. In their first season up in the ranks of Section 1, the Cedars have looked right at home and behaving like a juggernaut taking down every LL opponent in their path during the regular season, with an exception being an opening weekend hiccup to Cedar Crest. Since that game and a setback to Governor Mifflin that followed to knock them back to 1-2, Lebanon has found the cure and has been on fire ever since en route to a 13-3 overall record which they brought with them into a tricky road test at Warwick in midweek. Although Warwick’s home gym may look large and inviting, it has acted like a snake pit in recent years as the Warriors have tallied a handful of enormous upset bids at home over the last several years with hopes of adding another stunner to their home court resume when Lebanon came calling.

With a key to the game limiting Lebanon’s high-flying offense, Warwick opened up in a zone and seemed to work wonders as the Warriors effectively put the brakes on the Cedar attack in the first initial minutes. Playing a zone can be dangerous with sharpshooters lurking on the perimeter and Camryn Shaak proved to be the zone-buster in the first quarter as his trey with 4:30 to go in the quarter gave Lebanon their first field goal while essentially opening the floodgates from that point forward. Shaak would go on to add another from deep before he passed along his contagious outside shot to Luis Aquino-Rios as he knocked down one of his own to open up an 11-4 Cedar lead. Dante Vargas got in on the act shortly thereafter by dialing from distance as well before Aquino-Rios splashed another triple as Lebanon jolted out to a 19-4 advantage after the first eight minutes.

When the second quarter got underway, Ethan Price was there to get Warwick with 11 at 19-8 with6:15 to go in the half. The Cedar lead would then get trimmed to 9 after Tyler Trimarchi raced home for the fast break layup after an extremely deliberate offensive set for Lebanon against the Warwick zone that did not yield points.

As he did in the opening quarter of the game, Camryn Shaak was there to fan the flames on a possible Warwick upset as he 3 pointer pushed the lead back up to double digits to answer the Warwick bucket. Warwick would be able to get 1 point closer when the first half came to a close with Carter Forney’s steal and finish before the half horn made it 30-19 Cedars after 16 minutes.

The halftime break did nothing to cool off the Cedar’s hot shooting as another Luis Aquino-Rios triple extended the Lebanon lead to 15 at 36-21 with just 1:15 gone by in the quarter. Lebanon would then push their lead up to 20 with senior big man Khalique Washington going to work inside and being rewarded with several trips to the foul line. In all, Washington was able to knock down 4 freebies from the line to get Q3 underway wto put Lebanon in control at 41-21. The lead would remain at 20 shortly thereafter when Shaq Ortiz made a nice cut along the baseline and was rewarded with an easy deuce to make it 43-23. Warwick went on to close the quarter by reeling in Lebanon ever so slightly when Alex Lalovic converted one of his long range trifectas to make it 48-33 Lebanon after 3 quarters had expired.

Lebanon was clearly on a quest for more coming out of the fourth quarter as the Cedars began to impose their will on the offensive glass. Sebastian Sierra was the first beneficiary with his offensive board and put back before Shaq Ortiz followed suit with what could only be described as a man’s rebound underneath and stick back to give Lebanon the 52-33 lead on the big board with under seven minutes to play.

After showing their dominance inside, the Cedars went back outside the arc as a loose ball rolled out to arguably the most dangerous shooter in the league, Camryn Shaak, who did not disappoint as he knocked it down adding to his final game tally of 6 triples to push Lebanon’s lead out to 21 at 55-34. You would think by this point he would be all out of heroics for the night, but the 6’0 senior had one more highlight in him as he sprayed another trey while getting fouled in the act, and finishing at the line to complete the rare 4 point play.

With the game winding down and the starters getting prepared to sit for the rest of the night, Shaw Ortiz wanted to make his presence felt one last time which he was able to do by going on a tear to finish strong with a couple buckets to put Lebanon up 64-36. With still plenty of good minutes to go around, both Lebanon and Warwick found highlights from their bench to close this one out.
Sophomore Ryan Shirk checked into the game and responded by hitting a pair of triples, which tied him with Ethan Price for game-high honors for Warwick from downtown. Phil Hillesheim would later have a nice drive baseline for his Lebanon crew before Dylan Zoccolo got in the scorer’s book for Warwick with a nice lay in off of transition.

Lebanon’s early lead would prove to be the difference on this night however as the Cedars made it a dominating 69-44 trip to Lititz making it a perfect 10-0 in Section 1 play. Given how impressive the Cedars have been to this point, it certainly appears likely that Lebanon will have the opportunity to make one more trip down 501 this year, that being to Manheim Township and a trip to the league finals.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Middletown Makes It Two Straight Successful Trips To Lebanon County As Blue Raiders Take Down ELCO 81-61 With Strong Second Half-


Last week Middletown ventured outside of the familiar surroundings of the Mid Penn and paid a visit to Northern Lebanon adding yet another solid win to their resume when the night was done. This past week, Middletown tried to double their pleasure against Lebanon County teams in as many weeks as they took their #2 District ranking in 4A into Myerstown to tangle with an Elco team more than capable of rising up and pulling off the upset.

Middletown was able to race out to the early 11-6 lead and later increased their lead to 16-8 following a triple by Ryan Hughes in the early going. The Blue Raiders then increased their lead to 10 when Tre Leach followed a missed shot for the stick back before Nate Beamer scored off the old school three point play to get Elco back within single digits at 18-11. Senior forward Ryan Eshleman would keep the Blue Raider lead at single digits to close the first quarter as his bucket just before the buzzer made it 21-13 Middletown after one.

The second quarter would belong to Nate Beamer and the senior guard got it rolling early. His personal 5-0 run which got the second quarter underway, simultaneously trimmed the Middletown lead to 21-18 just 45 seconds in. A Blake Weary triple would later follow to get Elco within 2 at 23-21. After a Devin Stoops bucket courtesy of Kyle Knight’s assist tied things up at 25, Beamer ran off the next Elco 5 Raider points to put the home team in front 30-27.

Devin Stoops would then add to the Elco momentum with a drive to the bucket to make it a 5 point Elco lead at 32-27 before Middletown would race back with a 6-0 run to retake the lead at 35-34 with 1:30left in the half. In this back and forth first half affair, it seemed only fitting that the squads both head into halftime tied up which is exactly what happened after Stoops’ traditional three point play knotted things up at 39 apiece with the possibility of an upset certainly in the air.

As is often the case in tight ballgames the first few minutes of the half are likely to be a determining factor in whichever direction the outcome falls. If that were a test issued on Wednesday night, Middletown would have received 100% plus extra credit as the Blue Raiders stormed out of the intermission with a 12-0 blast in the first 3 minutes to gain the upper hand on their hosts.

Nate Beamer would be the first to get Elco on the board in the third when he chipped in 2-2 free throws with 4:46 to go in the third with Ryan Eshleman scoring the first field goal of the quarter for the Raiders with 3:43 to play. To their credit, Elco would get to within 11 of Middletown after Mason Bossert found Kyle Knight for the Raider hoop before yet another Nate Beamer take got within Elco single digits at 58-49 after Middletown led by as many as 15 in the third quarter. Sensing Elco starting to close in, Middletown responded nicely to get it back to double digits at 63-49 with three quarters in the books.

Jeff Lorah was able to start the fourth quarter with a floater for Elco to get the Raiders within 13 at 66-53 with 6:17 to go, but Luke Mrakovich hit two big time back to back buckets for Middletown to extend the Blue Raider lead to 71-53. Mrakovich was able to finish with high scoring honors for Middletown by dropping 20 with Ryan Hughes chipping in 18 and Tre Leach offering 16 respectively to the Blue Raider effort.

Nate Beamer would later counter with a 5-0 run all on his own en route to an awesome 28 point performance on the night for Elco, but the early success that Middletown enjoyed in the early portions of the third quarter proved to be the difference on this night as Braedon Thomas put the exclamation mark on the 20 point Blue Raider road win with a bucket inside to make it a happy bus ride back to Middletown after picking up the 81-61 victory.

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Total Team Effort Pushes Lancaster Mennonite Past Lebanon Catholic 78-32

They call it the “Dog Days of Winter.” The days are short, the weather is cold, and more often than not, just plain miserable. Even with all its perceived shortcomings, the one nice aspect about this part of the winter months is that basketball season is certainly heating up heading into the final stretch of games. Inevitably, the end of the basketball season coincides with one word, brackets.

As far as the upcoming LL Basketball Tournament is concerned, the trendy pick that some may want to sharpen their pencils for when the L-L brackets are unveiled could be the Lancaster Mennonite Blazers and honestly, why not? The Blazers came into Friday night’s game with visiting Lebanon Catholic sporting an astounding 16-2 overall in addition to a perfect 10-0 record in league play. Eager to continue their dominance against Section 3 foes, Mennonite did little to disappoint as the Blazers jumped on the Beavers early to eventually lay claim to the 46 point victory.

As mentioned, Mennonite wasted little time getting into a rhythm, 10 seconds in to be precise, as Johnathon Gillespie went backdoor to give the LMH the early 2-0 advantage. Isaac Beers then took a steal and raced home with it for the lay in and later added a triple to his early night’s work to give LMH the 9-0 lead. The Blazer lead would later grow to 16-0 following a dunk by Javan Terry before Kyle Kauffman was able to get Lebanon Catholic on the board to make it 16-2 with half the quarter gone by.

Mennonite would then go on an additional run, this of the 5-0 variety following Terry’s hoop plus the harm to make it 21-2 Mennonite midway through the first quarter. Kyle Kauffman countered with a drive later on to make it 21-5 LMH, before he and Humberto Valerio were there to rattle off four straight points between them for the Beavers to help close the books the on the first quarter with Mennonite in command leading 25-9.

Kyle Kauffman proved to be a man on a mission all night for Lebanon Catholic as he later chipped in five more Beaver points in a row en route to his team-high 16 on the night to make it a 35-14 Mennonite lead with 5 minutes left to go in the half. Kauffman would then help get Lebanon Catholic past the 20 point mark a nice reverse lay in to make it 45-21 Blazers. Even with his scoring prowess, this was still a half controlled by Lancaster Mennonite and a sweet flip pass from Elijah Bynum to Cole Forte helped illustrate that as the Blazers owned the first 16 minutes leading 49-21.

Mennonite came out of the halftime break not skipping a beat as the Blazers exploded for a 7-0 run that was capped by a Timmy Stefanosky bucket. Ezra Buckwalter then got everyone got off their feet with excitement as the senior guard nailed it from deep to help add to the LMH advantage. Roman Ali would later made it a 40 point Blazer lead at 61-21 with his bucket inside as the 6’2 junior got into the scoring column for LMH.

Junior Nate Hatzfeld be the one to get his Lebanon Catholic squad on the board with the first Beaver field goal of the half with 2:10 left to play in the third. When the third quarter did finally expire, Mennonite owned the 64-23 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

When the fourth quarter began, Mennonite’s Seth Beers certainly made his presence felt as the freshman poured in a triple and followed it up an emphatic swat out of bounds which once again got the home crowd excited. The Blazer bench was not near done with their highlights for the evening as evidenced by senior Bryce Stewart’s drive to the cup and finish which arguably got the loudest roar of approval from the Blazer faithful all night as Mennonite went on to finish out the impressive 78-32 victory.

-Wanted to just give a quick shoutout to Lebanon Catholic here in this space. I challenge anyone to find a team with a tougher mental makeup than the Beavers. Night after night they show up and give it everything they have with limited numbers, a task that is certainly not for the faint of heart. Keep battling Beavers. We can’t wait to see the turnaround.

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Blue Streaks Stay Red Hot As Manheim Township Claims Third Road Win Of The Week By Knocking Off #1 Governor Mifflin 65-63

Not every week in high school basketball is created equal. Sometimes there are weeks where the schedule lays out in such a way where you just want to get through it and get on to the next batch of games that appear more appetizing. Often times however, it’s all about mental makeup and how you approach what appears to be a daunting task ahead.

Well, if this past week is any indication, the mantra of the Manheim Township Basketball Team this year could be “Fearless” as the Blue Streaks went on the road and stole the show on the homecourts of Hempfield and Cedar Crest, while still having one more game lurking on the horizon. The final test would come in the form of yet another boarding of the buses, this time up 222 to try and make it a phenomenal week of living away from Neffsville if they could get past the Governor Mifflin Mustangs, the team who just so happened to reside at the #1 line of the latest District 3 6A rankings.

Governor Mifflin wasted little time scoring Saturday night as the Mustangs turned Township over on the game’s first possession with Bubba Peters streaking down the court for the easy deuce to put Mifflin on top very early. As fate would have it, that would turn out to be Mifflin’s last lead of the entire game.

The Streaks responded with a gritty effort that was highlighted with Tyler Crespo nailing two treys back to back to kick off the scoring for the Streaks as the sophomore helped account for 19 total points on the night. Crespo would later knock down his third triple of the quarter to make it 13-6 Streaks, with all 6 Mustang points coming from Bubba Peters. Mifflin would close to gap to 5 with 2 minutes left in quarter courtesy of a 3 from Isiah Tisdale, but Township would answer back by going on a 6-3 run to close the quarter leading 21-13 with senior Michael Brockaway contributing the fifth and sixth points of the MT blitz.

With the first quarter not having gone their way, the Mustangs came out with a jolt of energy to start the second as they climbed back to get within two of MT at 21-19 on Ben Walmer’s bucket off of a Township turnover with just over two minutes gone by. The Township lead would later dwindle down to just one after Rece Hartman’s three point play for Mifflin made it 26-25 Township with 3 minutes left in the half. Township would then outscore GM 6-2 to close the half with a beautiful hi-lo senior connection from Brian Hines to Nick Vicidomini and a bucket from sophomore Brendan Mellot contributing four of the Streaks final six.

Township was able to keep Mifflin at arm’s length for much of the third quarter as evidenced by their lead standing at five after a nice spin from Brian Hines inside gave the Streaks the 40-35 advantage with3:20 to go in the third. Sophomore sensation Tyler Crespo was then able to expand the MT lead to a more comfortable cushion at 46-35 off of two back-breaking triples down the stretch to set Township up nicely heading into the final stanza.

After Dylan Patton was able to hit from deep to start the final quarter Mifflin, Nick Vicidomini was there to keep the lead at double digits for the Streaks when his three point play kept it at 10 at 49-39. The three point shot proved to be the tool Mifflin pulled out of the toolbox to chisel into the Township lead the next few trips down the floor as Mifflin senior guard Bubba Peters, who did not want to be denied on his senior night, pumped in two back to back triples for the Mustangs and later followed it up with a drive to shrink the Township lead down to six, and later to three at 57-54 with 3:11 left to add his game-high total of 31 points.

With the game in a dangerous spot, Township called on Brian Hines who accepted the charges with a take to the rack to push the Streak lead back up to five at 59-54. Sporting the #1 seed in District 3’s highest class, there was no way Mifflin was going to go away without a fight and fight back they would with Jeovanni Mojica going 2-2 from the stripe to bring the MT lead back down to 3 at 59-56 with 1:54 to go. After an ensuing trip for Township did amount to points, Mifflin got the ball with the chance to tie. The Mustangs went for the tie and nearly got it, but their 3 point attempt went in and out. After a foul following the rebound, Tyler Crespo’s two freebies from the line made it a two possession Streak lead at 61-56. Mifflin still refused to go away as Peters kept leading the charge for Governor Mifflin as his take to the tin made it 62-60 with now just 38.7 left to go. After Nick Vicidomini calmly sank his two free throws after the ensuing inbounds, the scoreboard now read Township 64, Mifflin 60 with 36.2 remaining.

Even while up by four very late, Bubba Peters told Township they weren’t out of the woods just yet as he rang home yet another trifecta to make it 64-63 MT with more Blue Streak foul shots upcoming. Tommy Mann was there to go 1-2 with the game on the line for MT which proved to enough as Mifflin’s last possession failed to yield any points as Township was able to nab their third remarkable road victory of the week defeating Governor Mifflin on their home floor 65-63 and undoubtedly giving them a fully loaded battery of energy heading into the final few games of the season in hopes of securing both LL and District playoff spots. Hats off to the Streaks. Well deserved

This Week’s Starting Five
· Kyle Kauffman (Lebanon Catholic)
· Nate Beamer (Elco)
· Nick Vicidomini (Manheim Township)
· Camryn Shaak (Lebanon)
· Tyler Crespo (Manheim Township)