Tulpehocken Turns Up The Dial As Trojans Run Past Annville-Cleona, Into Championship Round Of Northern Lebanon Holiday Tournament
Written by: Andy Herr on Wednesday, December 29th, 2021
Sometimes, all you really need is a change of pace. In a lot of ways, it’s ironic to think that way given that the long and arduous high school basketball season typically lends itself to nothing but a consistent monotony of games and tip times being relegated to the same familiar pattern week after week. Truth be told though, perhaps a break inside the rhythm of the season can be exactly what the doctor ordered. At least that is what the Annville-Cleona Dutchmen were hoping for come Tuesday night.
Although the season is no more than three weeks old thus far, it’s admittedly been a somewhat difficult trek for A-C up until this point. In fact, heading into this week, the Dutchmen had only been able to tally one win so far this season, a gritty 39-33 defeat of Northern Lehigh in the consolation round of the Hamburg Tip-Off Tournament back on December 11th. But even with the with final triumphs being in short supply thus far, that was perhaps why a change in structure and scenery could do the Dutchmen good when they loaded up the bus and trekked to nearby Northern Lebanon to take part in the Vikings’ holiday tourney where they met up with a dangerous Tulpehocken bunch in the opening round. After all, a little bit of extra flavor and spice never hurt anybody, right?
Unfortunately though, at least from the Dutchmen’s collective perspective, this too would end up being an evening which they would end up with the smaller number up on the final scoreboard.
Simply put, Tuplehocken came out scorching-hot to begin the contest behind a punishing brand of attacking, in-your-face, pressure defense. In fact, no sooner than after a pair of second-chance put-backs scored by way of Tuply junior forward, David Bednarczyk, from point-blank range got the Trojans off on the right foot out of the chute, a 3-ball rained down by senior guard, Chad Henning, prompted Annville-Cleona to call a timeout and regroup with already staring up at an early 7-0 hole before anyone really had a chance to break a sweat. From there however, the Tulpehocken lead eventually grew to a 13-0 advantage following a nice up and under move at the cup thanks to the handiwork of Trojan senior, Bryce Mellen, before A-C was finally able to crack into the scoring column with a corner trey sunk by senior big man, Isaac Good, for the much-needed bucket to help quell the rising tide.
From that point on throughout the remainder of the opening frame however, Annville-Cleona would be able to author up a nice rebuttal in the face of the current Tulpy onslaught. More specifically, the Dutchmen saw themselves creep back inside single digits following another A-C trifecta, this one courtesy of senior wing, Da’Modric Green, making it a 17-8 contest with 2:30 left to play in the opening stanza. That said however, the A-C deficit would pump itself back up to eleven following another bucket inside from Bednarczyk, making it a 21-10 Tulpehocken lead once the opening eight minutes eventually did expire. On the night, Bednarczyk would steal the show with his nice mixture of inside/out play, a feat best evidenced by his game-high scoring output behind a rock-solid 23-point performance.
Inside the second quarter, Tulpehocken only continued to pick up where they had left off.
Case in point, a tough bucket inside cashed in by way of Trojans’ senior big man, Bradyn Erb, making it a 27-12 affair in favor of the group from Bernville with 5:40 left to go before intermission. And while A-C’s Simon Domencic would come right back by firing in a triple on the Dutchmen’s ensuing offensive possession, three straight buckets tallied by Bednarczyk shortly thereafter allowed Tulpehocken to double-up their opposition at 33-16.
To their credit once again though, Annville-Cleona would continue to keep scratching and clawing their way back to within shouting distance as the second quarter trudged further along.
Speaking of scratching and clawing, perhaps there was no better example of that very effort for A-C throughout the entire night than the work put forth by Da’Modric Green, such as the case with his tough bucket in the paint later in the second stanza which trimmed the Tulpy lead down to 36-22 with one-minute remaining in the opening half of play. And once the first half ultimately did tick away, the 14-point gap would remain in place once both teams retired to their respective dressing rooms with Tulpehocken holding the 38-24 advantage.
New half, same ole’ Tulpy.
While it seemed as if A-C finally been able to find some footing and negotiate past the stifling, trapping style of Tulpehocken’s defense as the game continued to take shape and round into form, the Trojans were on the scene to quickly dump cold water on any sort of Dutchmen momentum, particularly in the second half. In fact, following a gorgeous fast break that ended with a Nolan Sweitzer to Chad Henning layup in transition, the Trojans’ lead had suddenly bubbled-up to a 48-28 gap with 3:30 left to play in the third. Then, with literally just seconds remaining to be played in the third frame, a trifecta sunk by Simon Domencic just mere moments before the third quarter buzzer, made it a 50-31 Tulpehocken lead with the final eight minutes getting set to commence. Speaking of A-C’s senior guard, he would prove himself to be the straw which would stir the Dutchmen’s drink all night long as evidenced by his team-high 13-point outing to help pace the A-C effort.
Almost right from the onset of the fourth quarter though, A-C junior guard, Ricardo Cruz, took the baton and ran with it. In fact, after bombing in a pair of triples to help start the fourth quarter proceedings, Cruz himself had single-handedly helped slice the Tulpehocken lead down to a 16-point difference with momentum clearly riding on the Annville-Cleona bench with four minutes and change remaining to be played for perhaps one last hurrah at making a go of overtaking the Tulpehocken lead.
However, the Trojans would simply refuse to yield any further ground to Annville-Cleona for the remainder of the night.
In fact, following a smooth pullup in the lane by way of David Bednarczyk yet again which made it a 62-42 affair with time winding down, a late 5-0 spurt -all of which came from the handiwork of Bryce Mellen- in the waning minutes helped put the finishing touches on an overall dominant display by Tulpehocken that culminated in a 69-47 final triumph in which the Trojans never trailed from opening tip-off to final gun.
NEXT UP: Following their defeat at the hands of Tulpehocken, A-C will travel right back to Northern Lebanon on Wednesday afternoon to partake in the consolation round where they will meet a worthy Mid-Penn foe, Red Land, to settle the score for third place honors in Fredericksburg. Then, to start the new calendar year, it’s right back to the grind for the Dutchmen considering Annville-Cleona will find themselves on the road for four consecutive games against the likes of ELCO, Lancaster Mennonite, East Pennsboro and Lancaster Country Day respectively, before receiving a respite -although hardly considered that- given that are scheduled to return home back on January 14th against Antietam, last year’s District 3-2A runner-up, and a program that perennially is always tough-as-nails.
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