Andy's Take!

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




Dec. 12th, 2016


Garden Spot Runs Out To Impressive Opening Win Over Owen J Roberts


The 2016-2017 season brings with it some new changes to Lancaster Lebanon League basketball. Obviously everyone is aware of the PIAAÕs new shift to six classifications, but the LL is trying on its own format changes, or revisiting an old format if you will by going back to 3 Sections. At the dawn of this new season, the Garden Spot Spartans find themselves staying put in Section 2 looking for big things this year in New Holland by leaning on a large portion of experience returning in the backcourt. On Friday night, the Spartans opened their season in anything but foreign territory as they made the trip eastward to Elverson to compete in the Twin Valley Tip-Off Tournament once again, squaring off with Owen J Roberts to raise the curtain on their season.


From the outset, it was apparent that Spot was eager to make a first impression that could not be duplicated by their opposition. The GS defensive effort could not be called anything less than intense, particularly in the opening minutes as GS big man Kyle Gordon was active on the defensive end blocking shots and making it tough for OJR to make a good living inside. The aforementioned experience that Garden Spot boasts from the guard position was on display later when Brenden Bradley splashed in two consecutive 3 balls, forcing Owen J Roberts to call the gameÕs first timeout. Senior captain Bobby Walker ultimately was able to get OJR on the board with a 3 ball of his own to try and get the Wildcats going.


If there was a theme to the gameÕs first eight minutes, it was GS turning defense into offense. Never was on that display more than when the Spartans got out and ran in transition with a fast break layups from sophomore Keontae Nunn to senior Joe Craver to make it 11-4 Spartans, followed up by Jacob Arndt dishing it to Kellito Westmoreland to help GS finish the first quarter with the commanding 18-6 lead.


Garden Spot kept their foot on the gas as the second quarter began with their transition game looking like it was midseason form as they raced out to a quick 6-2 lead to make it 24-8 Spot before another OJR timeout. The Wildcats would respond with Justin Bailey finishing under the rim for two buckets in a row to bring OJR closer. SpotÕs Jacob Arndt had the answer however as he cashed in a trey in the corner off a perfectly executed out of bounds play. Bobby Walker would finish the game as Owen J RobertsÕ leading scorer and he was able to get 2 of his team-high 11 at the line after he was fouled in the act on the 3 to make it 27-13 with half the quarter gone by. When the quarter finished, it was Garden Spot with the 31-16 lead.


The third quarter looked like much of the same as Brenden Bradley was fouled and got the hoop plus the harm to help the Spartans race out to a 7-0 run to start the half. On the night, Bradley finished with a game-high 18 points. Bobby Walker was ultimately able to stop the GS onslaught by raining in a 3 with 5:30 left in the quarter, before hitting another one from deep to make it a 38-24 contest in favor of GS. The 3 was alive and well on the other end as well when Kellito Westmoreland added one of his own the next trip down to answer Walker. The end of the third ended with two highlights in favor of Garden Spot first by way of Keontae Nunn showing off his handles before hitting thestepback J which got a rise out of the partisan Spartan crowd inside Twin Valley Middle School. The second came when Kyle Gordon, who was more than a handful for Owen J Roberts defensively, got in the act on the offensive end as well when the 6Õ8 senior rose up finished with a two-handed flush to send GS into the final quarter with the 50-34 advantage.


The Spartans were able to breeze home in the final quarter with Joe Craver knocking down another Spartan trey, before crowd-favorite Aaron Diller checked into the game and hit a free throw that sent everyone in a frenzy, followed shortly thereafter by Jonathan Morales collecting a missed shot and putting it back up and in to help give Garden Spot the emphatic 65-41 win to open their season.



StoltzfusÕ 42 Point Effort Helps Fend Off Tulpehocken Rally For Third Place In Tulpy Tournament


The Lancaster-Lebanon League has a storied basketball history with numerous players that have gone on to enjoy productive careers at the college level with a select few advancing to pro careers, including the NBA. Even with all the great names that have passed through the league, not many have enjoyed a 40 point performance in the high school ranks. Time to make room for another name on that exclusive list. On Saturday night at Tulpehocken, Pequea Valley senior guard Josh Stoltzfus exploded for a 42 point outburst getting it done in a variety of ways as Pequea Valley held off host Tulpehocken 69-61.


Defensive intensity was the name of the game in the opening minutes as both teams slapped on the press which created for a break-neck pace early on. Given all the chaos taking place with bodies hitting the deck on nearly every possession, fouls were prevalent. So much so in fact that PV had already sent Tulpy into the double-bonus with 1:02 still left in the first quarter. In total, 17 total fouls were called between the two teams in the opening eight minutes which made it hard for the game to get into an established rhythm with all the whistles blaring out.Tulpehocken was able to cash in on their opportunities at the line however as 4 of their first 6 came by way of the charity stripe. 


With all the starting and stopping, Josh Stoltzfus was able to get into a groove for his PV squad. Stoltzfus contributed 7 of his teamÕs first 12 points before ultimately ending the quarter with a nice cut that was rewarded with a bucket before the buzzer to give PV the 22-9 lead.


The second quarter looked like much of the same as Stoltzfus went to the line and knocked down two freebies giving him 17 of the PVÕs first 24. Following Angel MatiasÕ putback that made it 26-12 PV, PequeaÕs Albert Hanna rattled off 5 straight for the Braves, before a putback by TulpyÕs Trent Johnson made it 31-15 PV. Senior Justin Torres would go on to have the final say of the first half as he earned himself the steal and to the other endfor the finish to make it 39-24 Pequea Valley at the break.


It was evident from the opening stages of the third quarter that the halftime respite did nothing to slow down Josh Stoltzfus as he completed the traditional three-point play right out of gates, followed by Justin Torres snatching the loose ball off the scramble situation and getting the bucket plus the foul as Pequea Valley was clearly out-working their hosts to start the second half. Shortly thereafter however, Stoltzfus was forced to head to the bench with foul trouble mounting which was exactly what Tulpy needed to ignite their charge.


The Tulpehocken comeback began at the foul line and was aided by solid efforts by senior big man Trent Johnson ran the floor nicely and got two buckets in a row, with another hoop added inside later on to dwindle PVÕs lead to 50-39 with just two minutes left in the third. Senior guard Vance Gradwell got in the act as well as his trifecta made it 50-42 which created a deafening sound inside the Tulpehocken Old Gym heading into the fourth.


Trent Johnson picked up right where he left off to start the fourth quarter by playing inspired ball for his Trojan teammates. His shot plus the continuation made the score 52-46 PV with 6:30 left to play. Angel Matias added a sweet stepback trey as well to put Pequea Valley in a dangerous position nursing just a 54-49 cushion. 


After a Matias steal and finish coupled with a Vance Gradwell layup, Tulpehocken had nearly come all the way back with the score showing 54-53 PV.


A free throw contest would ensue heading down the stretch withPequeaÕs Albert Hanna going 2-2 on one trip to make it 57-53 PV, only to be answered by Angel Matias going 2-2 himself to now make it 57-55.


With Josh Stoltzfus now having reentered the ballgame with the game hanging in the balance, it was time for the senior to step up which he did as his layup which gave him his 34th & 35th points on the evening made it a 59-55 PV lead with 1:59 to go.After an unsuccessful trip down the floor for Tulpy, fellow Pequea Valley senior Grant Gaynor stepped up huge for his squad in crunch time by calming knocking down two free throws to extend the Brave lead. After a Trent Johnson bucket made it a 65-61 ballgame, Stoltzfus put the game on ice by being nearly automatic at the foul line as he chipped in another two to make it 67-61, but ultimately finishing off his stellar night with a lay in just before the horn to finish the scoring and put a bow on his 42 point night giving Pequea Valley the hard-fought 69-61 triumph.