Cedar Crest Overcomes Sluggish Start, Takes Down McCaskey For Key Section 1 Victory

It wasn’t all that long ago that seeing Cedar Crest and McCaskey on the nightly basketball slate wouldn’t have garnered much attention. But those days are long gone. For years, the McCaskey Red Tornado dominated the Section 1 landscape taking down nearly all comers. But for the last handful of seasons, the Cedar Crest Falcons refused to abide by that narrative and have dared to challenge the throne. And not only have the Falcons risen up to challenge the mighty Red Tornado, the two programs have gone on to trade volleys with one another for Section and League supremacy. Needless to say, a Cedar Crest and McCaskey game that now appears on the schedule has become appointment viewing. And on Thursday evening, the Falcons just so happened to be headed southbound to renew acquaintances with their old friends in Lancaster city.

In terms of drawing up a perfect start, it was hard to imagine one better than what the Red Tornado illustrated in the game’s opening minutes. After a steal by Cedar Crest’s Dylan Miller promptly led to an assist to Jaiden Melendez just a few seconds into the contest, the Red Tornado came roaring back. Fueled by a Bryan Menendez triple that started the scoring, McCaskey ripped off a 14-0 onslaught that capped off by a reverse finish at the tin by senior forward Eddie Simmons, forcing Cedar Crest to call time down 14-2 with 2:51 left in the opening quarter.

Trying the figure out the best way to go about attacking McCaskey’s zone, Cedar Crest found relief from their scoring drought in the foul line as a pair of free throws from senior guard Blake Thomson got the Falcons within ten at 14-4 just 30 seconds after the timeout. But McCaskey was able to remain on their sizzling start as a trifecta rained down from senior guard Isiah Speller put the Red Tornado lead past the ten point mark at 17-6.

Despite starting off colder than the temperatures outside Shultz Transportation Gymnasium, the foundation had been laid for Cedar Crest’s comeback as a three point play by veteran senior forward Cole Laney got the Falcons back under that aforementioned ten point gap at 17-9 as the first quarter came to a close.

From there, Cedar Crest erased their early game struggles in almost the blink of an eye. After a 3 ball from Jaiden Melendez coupled with a floater in the lane by Blake Thomson, the Falcons found themselves back within three already at 17-14 with just 1:15 having gone off the second quarter clock.

Cedar Crest would eventually go on to take the lead as a jumper from junior guard Brody Dunlop gave the Falcons their first lead since the opening seconds of the contest at 19-17. Although McCaskey would rally to tie things up at 19 apiece, the Falcons found separation from their hosts after a pair of triples from Logan Horn and Dylan Miller respectively as Cedar Crest went into the halftime break leading 27-24.

For as much as the first two quarters could be seen as separate entities making up a back and forth affair, the third quarter in and of itself illuminated that theme in spades. Coming out of the break, the Tornado proceeded to go on a 6-0 run that was capped off with Isiah Speller floater in the lane returned the lead back to McCaskey’s favor at 28-27. But from there, a Jaiden Melendez triple, one of his four on the evening, gave the lead back to Cedar Crest at 30-28, only to see the trading of honors continue as a Makai Ortiz 3 ball put the Red Tornado back in front shortly thereafter at 33-32.

The downtown shooting display from McCaskey continued on as Isiah Speller splashed home one of his four triples on the evening to put McCaskey back on the upper hand of the seesaw at 36-35 with 3:35 left to be played in the third quarter. But from that point on, Cedar Crest was able to take the lead and run with it.

Cole Laney would be the one to put Cedar Crest over the edge as his triple, good for 3 of his 13 point effort, saw the energy translate on the defensive end as well as a Laney rejection down on other end eventually led to a pair of Blake Thomson freebies from the charity stripe to make it a 40-36 Falcon advantage before Cedar Crest would see the third quarter expire with the 42-37 lead in their favor.

Although the deficit was just five facing McCaskey when the final quarter got underway, the Falcons slowly but surely were able to pull away and with it, any hopes of a final McCaskey flurry as the fourth quarter marched on. After a tough hoop inside was registered by Cole Laney which made it a 48-39 ballgame, a Blake Thomson hoop plus the harm seemed to really take the wind out of the McCaskey sails as Thomson went on to make the free throw that would follow to put the Falcons on top 51-39 with 5:03 left to go.

Although McCaskey would respond with the next four points, the last of which came courtesy of a Brian McKenzie jumper, Cedar Crest would go on to close the game out from charity stripe as a plentiful handful of freebies from Logan Horn helped the Falcons cruise home down the stretch and remain unbeaten at 4-0 with hard-fought 61-46 victory at McCaskey.

Although any win in Section 1 is considered so precious, Thursday’s night battle at McCaskey took on extra significance considering the Falcons will tip the ball off again on Friday afternoon opposite of the York Bearcats. Oh yeah by the way, on the very floor of the Philadelphia 76ers. Without question, the type of circumstance that could make even the most veteran of head coaches antsy. “This was one of the games that scared me,” Cedar Crest head coach Tommy Smith admitted afterwards. “I knew the kids were so excited about what they have tomorrow, but we had good focus coming in. The first quarter didn’t go our way, but shots just didn’t fall.” And despite what could have turned out to be a point of no return given a deep hole to McCaskey on their home floor, Cedar Crest did not flinch. Even with aspirations of playing on the same floor graced by NBA Hall of Famers in just a matter of hours. Playing with that level of focus, Smith and the Falcons are sure to be pleased with the results not only in the short term, but the long term as well. “Knowing what’s ahead of them tomorrow and the way handled themselves tonight I was very proud of them.”

NEXT UP: As mentioned Cedar Crest will take a quick detour out of LL League play for the trip down to Philadelphia to take on York at the Wells Fargo Center. A once in a lifetime opportunity that Coach Smith is excited to share with his Falcon squad. “It’s something special for these kids,” Smith went on to add now that the moment had finally arrived. “Ever since I found out, I’ve been excited about it, and just so excited for these kids. Give them credit. They haven’t looked ahead too much. What an incredible opportunity these guys have tomorrow.”

McCaskey will now take Friday night off since the Cedar Crest game was moved up for logistical purposes, but the Tornado will return to action for a Saturday afternoon road scrap with fellow powerhouse Harrisburg. Once next week begins, the Tornado will be looking at dates with Lebanon, Penn Manor, and Conestoga Valley inside Section 1 respectively before the holiday break.

Wildcats Feast On Bears Turnovers As Dallastown Scores Early Season Road Win At E-Town

If last season were to be summed up in one phrase for E-Town Basketball after posting a 5-21 overall record, the term would be “learning experience.” Although the record in 2016- 17 was not what everyone was hoping to have in Bear Country, all was certainly not lost last year in Elizabethtown. With a young core of players having gone through the wars of the nightly two month grind that is LL Boys Basketball and with much of the same supporting cast returning from last year’s scrappy ballclub, the hope this season is that the band is able to reunite and produce the same type of hits that have made this one of the most successful basketball programs in the league for the better part of the last decade. Although the final verdict will have yet to be read for some time, the early returns are in and it appears that this group of Bears have proven to be astute students in terms of what they took away from last year’s lessons as the Bears were able to post an impressive 7-1 record in the Spooky Nook Summer League (yes, the sometimes blasphemous term “summer league”) and split a pair of games in last weekend’s Manheim Township Tip Off Tournament, with the Bears scoring 82 points in their victory over Red Land. All of those experiences helped lead into Wednesday night’s home opener against the Dallastown Wildcats.

In the early stages, it appeared that E-Town had picked up right where they left on Saturday as the Bears blitzed their guests almost immediately as junior standout Larry Locker drove baseline and attacked the basket to break the scoring seal just 15 seconds into the contest before the E-Town lead would swell to an 8-0 advantage after an Amos Kollie steal and finish, forcing Dallastown to burn an early timeout to stave off E-Town’s hot start. Although Nike McGlynn was ultimately able to put Dallastown on the board with a follow for the Wildcats’ first points of the evening with 4:20 left in the opening quarter, the Bear advantage only continued to grow as a Larry Locker trifecta put E-Town up by a dozen at 16-4 just one minute later.

And although E-Town would see their dissipate somewhat following a Braden Caldwell jumper from the top of the key which made it a 16-8 ballgame for Dallastown, the hometown Bears were able to push it back up to a ten point advantage when the first quarter clock expired as Locker found himself on the receiving end off two wonderful assists from his teammates for back to back buckets to make it a 20-10 Bear lead after the first eight minutes.

For as much as E-Town dominated the first stanza, Dallastown was able to reverse the narrative in the second quarter. And then some.

Dallastown’s fiery second quarter start was ignited by Will Barton as the Wildcats’ senior guard rattled off six straight points in the blink of an eye to cut E-Town’s once sizeable lead down to just three at 22-19 with 6:40 left in the half.

Inspired by their work on the defensive end, the Wildcats continued to press on. Literally. Dallastown was able to translate their pesky defense into steals and scores throughout the entirety of the second frame. Using that same formula, the Wildcats were able to officially come all the way back following a Max Teyral lay in which gave Dallastown their first lead of the night at 23-22.

Although E-Town would eventually go back in front following a pair of Ryan Parise freebies at the line following a technical foul whistled against Dallastown, the Wildcats stayed on the attack and were rewarded for their efforts. After a Kyle Richardson bucket made it a 27-24 Wildcat lead, D-Town only saw their lead grow from there as an offensive board and putback by senior guard Max Teyral made it a 33-26 lead in favor of the visitors from York County.

In a quarter that was written by the Dallastown defense, it seemed only fitting that their signature highlight of the half was senior center Justin Atwood coming out of a different stratosphere to negate an E-Town shot and block it so hard against the backboard that it could have likely bounced its way back to Dallastown undeterred. Nevertheless, a steal and coast to coast finish by Teyral helped officially put a bow on the first half with Dallastown heading into the intermission leading 39-27. A quarter that Dallastown was able to win 27-7.

Coming out of the break, E-Town’s Dylan Sweger took matters into his own hands. The 6’2” junior responded to Dallastown’s challenge by splashing in two triples to start the second half. But Dallastown continued to keep E-Town at an arm’s length for much of the third frame.

Sophomore starting guard Ryan Parise was able to get the Bears back within single digits following a drive to the rack plus the foul, but the Dallastown lead went back up to ten shortly thereafter following a turnaround jumper from Justin Atwood.

Playing within that window, the Dallastown lead grew to as many as a dozen and shrunk to as few as eight following a pair of free throws by E-Town’s Cade Robinson. But at the end of the quarter however, it was a ten point lead that Dallastown would carry with them into the final quarter following a magnificent dish from Kyle Richardson to Kobe Green inside just before the horn to make it a 56-46 Wildcat lead.

Once the fourth quarter got underway, it appeared that E-Town had regained their footing that they enjoyed in the first quarter of action, inspiring visions of a possible comeback. After a pair of Larry Locker buckets, good for 4 of his game high 22 point outburst, the Bears had trimmed Dallastown’s lead down to just seven at 59-52 with 5:38 still left to play.

The wind would go out of the E-Town sails at least temporarily however following the implementation of a full court extended zone defense from Dallastown which did its job forcing an E-Town turnover, ultimately have it culminate in a Will Barton two-handed flush to make it a 61-52 D-Town cushion with 4:33 left to play.

Unphased, E-Town kept clawing away at the Dallastown lead and after a pair of Parise freebies, E-Town found themselves down just five at 61-56 with an eternity yet to play, but in all reality just 4:10. Dallastown would continue to have an answer for whatever E-Town threw at them as a bucket and foul from Will Barton gave him 2 of his team high 14 points, but more importantly, an increase to Dallastown’s lead at 64-56 with 3:41 left to go.

From there, Dallastown was able to work their delay game like a charm, chewing up precious time all while keeping the ball away from E-Town, and any hopes of a comeback on this night. Couple that with empty trips from E-Town once the Bears did get their mitts on it, and Dallastown went on to close the game out at the foul line and walk away into the snowy night with a 71-62 road win over Elizabethtown.

NEXT UP: With their victory on Wednesday night, the Dallastown Wildcats picked up some key mojo heading into a highly anticipated game with one of the best in all of District 3 regardless of classification, the high-flying Northeastern Bobcats on Friday.

Although it was a disappointing loss for E-Town, especially the way in which the game began, the blessing (and the curse sometimes) of basketball is that the next game is never too far off in the distance. For the Bears, the distance comes into full view on Friday night as the Bears will head east to tangle with one of the preseason favorites in Section 2, the Ephrata Mounts.

Cocalico Grinds Out Blue Collar Victory Over Unbeaten Exeter

Although this year’s high school basketball season is still in its infancy, it’s safe to say that the Cocalico Eagles did not get off to the type of start they were hoping for thus far. Although the Eagles entered their home opener on Tuesday still winless, a closer look at Cocalico’s early season slate helps to tell the story of the gauntlet that was the Hershey Tip Off Tournament right out of the starting blocks. Although the Eagles came up short in both contests, losses to Hershey and Allentown Allen are certainly nothing to sneeze at. If Allen sounds like a familiar name, it should. Remember for a moment that the Canaries were knocked off in the opening round of states last year. A victory that helped propel the Black Knights to their memorable run through the state tournament. But with lessons learned from the opening week of the season with an added bolt of energy from playing on their home floor, Cocalico welcomed the Exeter Eagles down from Berks County for a midweek tussle. An Exeter squad that has already earned the right to be called a champion this young season as the Eagles laid claim to their own tip off tournament this past weekend.

Early on, it was apparent that this was a Cocalico outfit that was out to make amends for last weekend. The Eagles quickly jumped on top of their guests early on by running out to a 7-0 lead after a Connor Mack putback, his second bucket of the early going, as Exeter was forced to burn a timeout with 4:48 left in the opening quarter. Exeter was finally able to get on the board following the timeout as a Wes Murray lay in off the fast break gave the Eagles their first points of the ballgame. The junior forward for Exeter continued to have the hot hand over the few minutes as Murray went on to tally Exeter’s first six points of the ballgame, the last of which made it a 9-6 Cocalico lead with 2:20 to go in the opening frame.

From that point on however, the first quarter was dominated by the hometown Eagles. Inspired by a charge taken on the defensive end by senior forward Tyler Keppley, Cocalico saw their lead swell to 14-6, with three free throws from Nick Lucky being critical during that stretch. But the highlight of the quarter, and really the game for that matter, came in the last few seconds of the opening frame a ¾ court shot by sophomore guard Alex Javier found the bottom of the cup which brought Exeter within five at 14-9 once the first quarter expired.

The Cocalico lead was then cut down to four in the opening stages of the second stanza as freshman guard Anthony Wise was able to splash home a triple for Exeter with just 1:30 gone by with the score now reading 16-12. After a nice spin move in the paint by Cocalico big man Trey Griffin, Cocalico was able to get some breathing room on the scoreboard with the score now 18-12 in favor of the home team.

But Exeter was not about to let Cocalico run away and hide on this frigid night. Much in the same way that the Tyler Keppley charge taken in the first quarter seemed to inspire the Cocalico troops, a charge taken by Exeter’s junior center Anthony Zabala seemed to do the same for the visitors from Reiffton midway through the second quarter as well. Following the Zabala charge, Alex Javier went on to score five of the next seven Exeter points to make it a two point ballgame with Cocalico in front 23-21. Javier would continue on his remarkable first half performance as a jumper by the heady Exeter guard kept it at a two point margin when the opening half came to a close with Cocalico hanging on to the narrow 25-23 advantage.

Coming out of the break, Cocalico turned to their ace in the hole, Aidan Trynosky, as the sensational senior guard delivered with a trademark triple to get the second half scoring underway for Cocalico. From there, Cocalico’s lead only continued to grow as a ferocious battle inside won by Cocalico saw the possession ultimately end in a Connor Mack bucket which increased Cocalico’s lead to 34-27. The Eagle lead would then grow to double digits as a Nick Lucky trifecta made the scoreboard read 37-27 in favor of Cocalico with 4:30 left in the third, forcing Exeter to call a timeout.

As time would go on to show, the timeout called by Exeter did its job and promptly slowed down the Cocalico onslaught. After an Alex Javier 3 ball and a beautiful display of running the floor by Exeter big man Anthony Zabala, the Eagles of Exeter found themselves within seven at 39-32 with just over three minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Cocalico lead would end up being sliced down to as few as three later on as a nifty reverse finish at the tin by Exeter’s Joe Rohrbach made it a 39-36 contest in favor of Cocalico as the fourth quarter was set to begin.

After a somewhat slow start to get the fourth and final quarter underway, Cocalico’s Brad Heck was finally able to break the scoring seal as a turnaround jumper with a kiss off the glass put Cocalico back up by five with 5:30 left to go at 41-36. Once again however, Exeter was not about raise the white flag as two buckets back to back by the Eagles’ Riley Dobraniecki, his first points of the contest, trimmed Cocalico’s lead down to the slimmest of margins as 41-40 with four minutes left to go.

But Dobraniecki was not finished. Although the senior center brought Exeter back into the thick of it with a handful of buckets from the field, it was a free throw just after that that knotted things up at 41-41 with 3:07 left in the ballgame.

Now playing on a level playing field in terms of the scoreboard for the first time since the opening tip, Exeter was determined to play from the head pilot’s chair. And they were able to do just that shortly thereafter as a steal by Alex Javier ended in a trip to the foul line down on the other end as the sophomore guard proceeded to calmly knock down the pair, giving Exeter their first lead of the contest at 43-41 with just 1:49 left to go.

Luckily for the hometown patrons from Denver, their Eagle squad wasn’t through fighting on this night. With momentum clearly on Exeter’s side following the clutch free throws from Javier, Cocalico did not flinch as a Connor Mack jumper was not only good for 2 of his team high 12 points, it knotted the score back up at 43-43 with time ticking away.

With Exeter unable to manufacture anything on their ensuing possession, Cocalico had the ball back in their hands with the chance for a walkoff victory. Although it wasn’t necessarily a picture-perfect walkoff, it proved to be dramatic nonetheless as Nick Lucky drove to the cup with great determination, getting fouled in the act where the senior guard saw the first freebie crawl through the net before a timeout was called with one more remaining coming out of the break. Although Lucky’s second free throw would not have the same similar fate as the first, Connor Mack was there to save the day for Cocalico as the junior guard ran down the loose ball, securing the offensive rebound, where he would receive his turn to go to the line after getting fouled by the pursuing Exeter troops. And although this free throw would not find the bottom of the cup either, a deflection by freshman Carter Nuneville saw the ball find its way back into the hands of senior Nick Lucky. This trip to the charity stripe would prove to be more successful than the previous excursions for Cocalico as Lucky was able to knock down the pair, giving the homestanding Eagles the 46-43 cushion with .4 seconds remaining.

Exeter would have one last gasp, however the long baseball pass down the floor would be tipped away, giving Cocalico their first victory of the season 46-43 over Exeter.

Although any victory is appreciated during the rigors of the nightly grind of high school hoops, few come much sweeter than the first one of the season. Particularly after a tough pair of games to start off the season. And despite Cocalico’s 0-2 start, it’s clear that Cocalico head coach Seth Sigman enjoys this year’s team and what they can bring to the table. “We’re scrappy, which I love, and we play hard,” Sigman offered after the game. “Our scoring was spread out tonight which is a good thing for us too. Nick (Lucky) and Connor (Mack) scored for us and we got some timely baskets from other guys too,” the head man went on to add before stating matter of factly, “That is a big step we have to take this year in order to be where we want to be come February.”

NEXT UP: Cocalico will try to turn one win into two on Wednesday night as the Eagles make the trek up 222 to pay a visit to the Wilson Bulldogs before opening up Section 2 play against Garden Spot on Friday night back home in the Eagles Nest.

Exeter will have off for the rest of the week before the Eagles get their next chance to regroup against their fourth Lancaster Lebanon League team in as many games as the Eagles will play host to Warwick in a Saturday afternoon matinee.

Late Game Heroics Lift Ephrata Past Penn Manor In Early Season Classic

For some, Monday night across the LLhoops landscape marked the beginning of a brand new season. Not so for Ephrata and Penn Manor. This past weekend, both the Comets and Mounts played in traditional early season tip off tournaments at Exeter and Lancaster Catholic respectively, with both squads coming away with 1-1 marks after the opening weekend of the season. With some early season momentum ripe for the taking at Ephrata Middle School on Monday night, both teams squared off in what would turn out to be an early season intersectional thriller.

The early going seemed like one of a heavyweight title fight with both teams taking their time to feel the opposition out. Case in point, Penn Manor did not have much activity below the foul line or even attempt their first shot until 40 seconds had run off the clock on their opening possession. Likewise, Ephrata also shared the sugar offensively with the Mounts working the ball around, looking for the best available shot. They finally found their answer to the Comet defensive riddle in Dilyn Becker as the senior guard scored the first bucket of the ballgame with 5:25 showing on the first quarter clock. The Mountaineer lead then ballooned to 5-0 when junior Zach McGillan wandered to his favorite spot on the floor, the corner, for yet another trifecta in his terrific Ephrata career for 3 of his game 17 points.

Undeterred, Penn Manor also found the touch from behind the arc as well for their first points of the ballgame when fellow junior Ty Erisman knocked down the 3 ball for the Comets to get them on the board. For the next few minutes however, the Mounts would go on a bit of a run to distance themselves from the visitors from Millersville as another McGillan 3 ball made it a 10-3 ballgame in favor of the Mounts, forcing Penn Manor to burn a timeout with 2:20 left in the opening quarter.

With the game hanging in such a critical balance that early, an answer from Penn Manor was needed. ASAP. They were able to find their rebuttal to Ephrata’s early-game success in the form of Kevin Roldan as the pesky junior guard finished off two easy lay-ins which cut into Ephrata’s lead before the first quarter buzzer finally sounded with Ephrata maintaining the narrow 1 point lead at 10-9.

The late momentum that Penn Manor was able to scoop up in the waning minutes of the first quarter carried over into the early stages of the second stanza as well as a bucket inside by Comet big man Josiah Edwards gave Penn Manor their first lead of the ballgame. But not before Ephrata’s Xavian Rodriguez was able to steal momentum right back with an old-fashioned three point play in the paint to put the Mounts back in front. Shortly thereafter, another tough battle inside won by Rodriguez culminated in yet another three point play that put the Mounts up by five at 16-11 with 5:40 left in the opening half. From there, the Ephrata lead doubled in size as an offensive board snatched down by the Mounts eventually saw the ball get into the hands of Sam Cable as the Ephrata senior was able to knock down the triple to put Ephrata in front by ten at 22-11 with 3:55 left in the half, forcing yet another Comet timeout to stop the Mount snowball from rolling downhill.

But unfortunately for the Comets, that would not turn out to be the case as a late Zach McGillan triple, his third of the half, put the exclamation mark on a dominating second quarter authored by the Mounts, as Ephrata held the Comets to just 4 second quarter points, leading 26-13 at the break.

Whatever was said to his troops by Penn Manor head coach Larry Bellow in the intermission seemed to be exactly what the doctor had ordered as the Comets came out of the locker room on a torrid start. After a 3 ball by Ty Erisman got the second half scoring underway, another 3 ball, this one splashed down by Reed Morrison, cut the Ephrata halftime advantage down to just five at 26-21 with 4:37 left in the third, forcing Ephrata this time to call a timeout and regroup.

Although a Dilyn Becker drive to the tin would quell Penn Manor’s scintillating second half start to some degree, another Comet triple, this one from senior forward Colin Morrison, kept Penn Manor in the thick of it at 31-26 with 3:15 showing on the third quarter clock. From there, Penn Manor continued to ride their hot shooting from behind the arc as another trifecta, this one from Luis Tamayo, cut Ephrata’s once impressive lead down to just a bucket at 31-29.

Although Ephrata wasn’t about to simply relinquish their lead without a fight, as evidenced by Xavian Rodriguez’s emphatic swat on a would-be layup to put the Comets in front, Penn Manor continued to remain on the attack and was rewarded for doing so as a late quarter drive to the rack by Kevin Roldan for 2 of his team high 12 points, put the Comets back in front 32-31 as the third quarter expired.

Now with the shoe being on the other foot, it was Ephrata who was forced to find an answer for Penn Manor’s surge of momentum. Fortunately for the Yellow and Purple, they have a reliable answerbank in Dilyn Becker to call on in times of need. And it just so happened that an early Becker turnaround jumper to start the quarter put the Mounts back in front in this seesaw affair. The back and forth battle raged on as a Josiah Edwards bucket plus the harm put the Comets back in front 34-33 with 5:21 left to play. But as is the case with most any team with lofty preseason expectations, Ephrata has more than one weapon that can do damage. Never was that more apparent than when Zach McGillan tallied a bucket of his own to put the Mounts back in front 35-34.

Bucket for bucket. That was the theme as the fourth quarter continued on. Penn Manor would have their turn to answer McGillan’s basket with an excellent offensive possession that saw the Comets get Ephrata unbalanced off superb ball rotation before the extra pass found its way to Ty Erisman who let it fly from behind the arc and promptly rained down a triple to put Penn Manor back in front 37-35. Ironically, the next basket of the contest would get away from the alternating theme that had ensued over the previous few minutes as a Kevin Roldan steal and layup put the Comets up by four at 41-37 with 2:23 to play.

Ephrata was able to inch closer following the late Comet barrage with a McGillan hoop, which was immediately followed by a timely steal by Dilyn Becker on the Ephrata end as the Mount possession ended with Sam Cable being fouled and converting 1-2 from the stripe to bring the Mounts within a point at 41-40.

With the game on the line, Penn Manor was the first to answer the bell as a free throw from Ty Erisman allowed Penn Manor to get some additional breathing room before a Luis Tamayo bucket gave them even more with the Comets now in front 44-40.

Just as he had all game though, Xavian Rodriguez’s hustle plays, the ones that won’t appear on many flashy highlight mixes, proved to be the difference in the ballgame as time after time his plays stemmed the tide away from the Comets just when the Mounts needed it most. And once again, another Rodriguez-won battle under the rim resulted in a hoop plus the harm, for a change of momentum that put Ephrata within a point at 44-43.

With Penn Manor being unable to manufacture anything in their ensuing offensive set, Ephrata saw themselves with the ball and time running out. And once again, Dilyn Becker had the ultimate answer as the Mounts’ senior guard rose up off the dribble and knocked down a coldblooded triple from the elbow-extended to put Ephrata back in the lead 46-44, making the cozy gymnasium roar like a 747 jet engine.

pict by@JoBethWeaver12

As was the case for most of the fourth quarter, Penn Manor was hoping that the theme of alternating baskets would come true just one more time. This one meaning that the Comets would be able to ride back to Millersville with a hard-fought victory. Unfortunately for the Comets however, that would not come to pass as Penn Manor’s last shot of the ballgame cruelly bounced off the front rim for the Comet faithful, giving Ephrata a dramatic early-season defining triumph over a gritty Section 1 ballclub in Penn Manor, 46-44.

NEXT UP: Ephrata will continue with the Section 1 flavor on the schedule this week as the Mounts will take on longtime rival Warwick before finishing up the week with up and comer E-Town back at Ephrata.

Penn Manor will look to regroup this week as the Comets make their home debut on Wednesday night as the Comets play host to Kennard-Dale, and one of the best players in the York-Adams League, southpaw guard Adam Freese. Penn Manor will close out this week’s action by also squaring off with Warwick with the game between the Warriors and Comets set for Thursday night in Millersville.

Dell’s column Dec. 10

Column – Dec. 10th

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Tip off…Dec. 8th and 9th

Most teams got started this weekend. Big tourney wins by Donegal, Crest, TWP, Lancaster Cath., Spot and AC. Congrats to getting off to fantastic starts. Splits include Penn Manor, CV, LMHS, Northern Lebanon, Lebanon, Columbia, PV, Ephrata, and Etown.   Warwick championship game at Octorara was ppd due to weather as was Leb. Catholic’s first game. Make-up dates for these games TBD.

LLhoops was at Lancaster Catholic this weekend – subbing for the veteran scorekeeper Joe Herman on the score-book for Penn Manor. Let’s just say it’s a good thing that we use pencils on the score-book. Lots of scratch but the good thing is when calling in scores to LNP they using typed words. Lancaster Catholic’s admin. (Rich Hinnenkamp @LCHS1022) was great to work with, the crowd was awesome (@CrusaderCrazy), seeing old friends (Tony Arcudi (sp?) and our go-to guy for Lanc. Cath. scores – Micheal Rudy @Rudedogg23) and the teams played hard. I learned a new PIAA rule this weekend (the refs can give a warning to a coach for….???), and we saw it implemented as Penn Manor’s JV Coach Bill Southward (ex head coach of Lancaster Cath.) got a warning this weekend. In typical Bill-speak, “I’ve never been warned before” = priceless! I spent 10 minutes trying to find a math-adding mistake when dealing with the newspaper. Two sets of numbers added up but a third did not—quarters and players totals were right on…the foul totals were off. (Confession – appropriate as doing a Lancaster Catholic game- this score-keeper taught math for 36 years, did not use a calculator, and thinking too much common core and not enough adding in recent years!)

Lanc. Cath. … the Crusaders are coming off an historical year 2016-17 as they won Section 4,the LL, and District 3 titles. They practically lost their entire team…and as history reveals to us – the Crusaders reload. Joe Klazas has led Lancaster Cath for the last 12 years. He earned his 242nd win this weekend. LC beat down Spring Grove in the first game using a 19-1 run the second quarter to put the game away. LC pushed Spring Grove to the baseline and let its big back-line swat shots and contest anything inside. The back-line of Dwayne Caine (6’4” jn), RJ Van Tash (6’2” sn) and David Kamwanga (6’6” soph) would dominate both games over the weekend (69-31 over Spring Grove and 58-48 over Central York) Central York features a perimeter oriented , 3 ball shooting team. The Panthers got down early 19-6 after one and made a very late push but basically the Crusaders rode the emotional wave of the first quarter to claim the championship.

High scorers for the weekend:

vs Spring Grove Johnny Besecker (5’11” jn) 12, Dwayne Cain 11, RJ Van Tash 10

vs C. York David Kamwanga (6’6” soph) 14, Van Tash 14, Miles McCaskey( 5’10” sn )10

Pict by Alison Caine @AYoungCaine

Penn Manor split this weekend. Central York used a three point barrage in the first half (8 of them) and pretty much coasted to the win: 59-35.

The Comets earned a W in second game as PM held Spring Grove to 2 points in the 4th quarter turning a 33-32 deficit into a 42-35 win. Penn Manor pounded the off. glass to keep the game close. Alex Arias, 5’6” jn, provided a huge spark (7 pts all in the second half) as point guard Kevin Roldan, 5’9” jn, was in foul trouble. Spring Grove had a good look at a 3 ball late, but it was short. The Comets finished it out on the line. PM had no players hit double figures.

All with 7 points :

Ty Erisman, 6’ jn, Colin Morrison, 6’4” sn, , Alex Arias, Kevin Roldan


  • Standings need to be sorted. We might or might not keep it that way.
  • Berks Beat coming soon.
  • Podcast? You like or not? We’ll put up survey on twitter soon.
  • Re-design—takes some time and adjustments on viewers and authors.
  • Andy Herr—starting his All LL hoops tour with wrap on Spot.
  • Scores: our followers help us so much getting the scores up quickly.
  • Links—needs to be added. I find myself looking for info from LNP and other places.
  • Double team? Andy and Bruce Badgley (Berks Beat) will be doing some work   together this year- some periscope and tweeting from the same game- capped off by Andy’s weekly wrap of the game.
  • Picts—we hope to have some game shots in the future
  • Comments sections- must be approved by LLhoops staff. Keep it clean and we’ll probably allow 🙂
  • periscope…excuse us if not real good- yet. Will try to do a clip or 2 each game we cover.
  • Rosters–check out the team pages. We have most. Need some tweaking.

Looking ahead ..

Some key match-ups this week. All games are big for the schools involved but here are a few that caught our eye. Follow @llhoops this week as we will tweet out which games our staff is attending.

Monday: Crest @ M Central, Chester @ McCaskey

Tuesday: Columbia @ Donegal, Lanc Cath @ LS

Wed: TWP @ CD

Thurs: LL openers for Warwick @ PM and Crest @ McCaskey

Friday: ALL LL play except for Crest vs York at Philly

Sat: McCaskey @ Harrisburg


Predictions…ok I’m cheating as we have had a weekend to evaluate. Bring on the Bulletin boards (do teams still have B Boards or blogs, twitter sites, huddle and instant gram protected sites? )!

Section 1…The big boys will be beating on each other all season long. Front-runners include Hempfield, TWP, Crest. Sleepers will be McCaskey and Lebanon.

Bulletin Board material: Crest, Hempfield, TWP,  Lebanon, McCaskey..

Section 2…A lot of talent coming back in this section..plus a lot lost.

Bulletin Board material: LS, Spot, Ephrata…sleepers Etown, Donegal

Section 3LL History leads us to believe LMHS and Lancaster Cath. will battle for the title…Not a bad conclusion.

Bulletin Board material: Lanc. Cath, Columbia, LMHS…sleepers AC, NL, ELCO.


Looking way ahead

Thanks to Warwick AD, Ryan Landis, for providing us with the 2018-19 section breakdown.

Here it is…


Basically, the LL is getting ready for possible expansion of smaller class teams into the LL. The playoffs are to be determined. So… we will see the return of crossover games in Sec 1 and 2, Sec 3 and 4, and no crossovers for section 5. The re-alignment should help with power points for district placement. For example, Lancaster Cath. would now be playing higher power point teams and not playing 1A teams such as Lebanon Cath. The smaller teams would be playing a much more level playing field. The big boy schools (Section 1 and 2) are mostly 6A classification so would not be hurt too much by cross-over games. We believe there will be more movement in the LL in the future as far as adding teams.

LL play…

Opens for some Thursday..most teams will be opening Friday.


Thought of the week:

“You can’t undo the past… all you can do is face what’s ahead. It’s up to you to change. No one else” Jay Williams, ESPN @RealJayWilliams


LL trivia: Coach Joe Klazas has over 200 wins in the LL. Besides Coach Powell, McCaskey (over 400), what coach has the most LL victories with his CURRENT team?


Check out some High School hoops games this week!

You can contact us at webmaster@llhoops.com

~Dell Jackson







Section 1 Scores/Schedule Dec 8/9

Week 1—all non-league games


Friday: Dec 8

Cedar Crest 68  ELCO 44 @ Lebanon Tip

CV   48 Exeter  57@ Exeter Tip

Hempfield  62 vs Mechanicsburg 42 @ Carlisle Tip

Lebanon 59  Red Lion 51 @ Lebanon Tip

TWP 76 Etown 66 @ TWP Tip

Penn Manor  37  Central York   59 @ Lancaster Cath Tip

Warwick 76  Octorara  64@ Octorara Tip


Saturday: Dec 9

Cedar Crest 49 Lebanon 46  @ Lebanon Tip

CV 63 C Weiser  54 @ Exeter Tip

Hempfield 62 Carlisle  46@ Carlisle Tip

TWP  48 Holy ghost  36 @ TWP Tip

Penn Manor 42 Spring Grove 35 @ Lancaster Cath Tip

Warwick vs Oxford @ Octorara Tip ppd

Sec. 3: Scores/Schedule Dec 8/9

Week 1 –  All non-league games

Friday: Dec 8

AC 42 N. Lehigh 35 @ Hamburg Tip

Columbia 46 York Country Day  51 @ Hanover Tip

ELCO 44 C Crest  68 @ Lebanon Tip

Lancaster Cath. 69 vs Spring Grove 31 @ Lancaster Cath Tip

LMHS  66  Shippensburg 60@ Gettysburg Tip

PV 51 Tulpy  44@ Tulpehocken Tip

N Lebanon  49  Palmyra 37 @ Donegal Tip


Saturday: Dec 9

AC 63 Brandywine HTS 44 @ Hamburg Tip

Columbia 63 Newport  39 @ Hanover Tip

ELCO 43 Red Lion 52 @ Lebanon Tip

Lancaster Cath. 58  Central York 48 @Lancaster Cath Tip

LMHS 50 New Oxford 61 @ Gettysburg Tip

PV 46 W Perry 56 @ Tulpehocken Tip

N Lebanon 52  Donegal  55 @ Donegal Tip


Lebanon Cath. vs Veritas  ppd