ED Note: LLhoops welcomes Andy Herr. An ex-Warwick player, Andy gives LLhoops a new veiwpoint. Enjoy! @andybrackets
Week of Dec 19-24
Tide Rises to Knock Annville-Cleona Off Unbeaten Perch 65-54
This past Monday night was easily the most exciting that has been played in LL basketball so far this season. Although Section 1 might have stolen the storylines at the end of the night with notable games such as Lebanon’s road win at McCaskey and Warwick’s stunner over Cedar Crest, Section 3 arguably had the tastiest matchups heading into the night. One of those included the matchup taking place in Annville between two upstart teams that had dazzled their way to impressive campaigns out of the gate. Columbia, who’s only blemish came at the hands of Lancaster Mennonite by 7 points on the road, met undefeated Annville-Cleona, fresh off a 26 point home victory against Tulpehocken, coupled with an exciting win over rival Northern Lebanon late last week, to set the stage for two teams eager to continue making waves in Section 3 to start the season.
Jaden Neal opened the scoring with a jumper for Columbia before Don Friday would answer with a floater of his own to get it going for A-C. Unfortunately for the Dutchmen, Friday’s basket would be their last for quite some time as a Meleik Crenshaw stick back saw the score move to 7-2 in Columbia’s favor with half of the opening quarter already expired. Dashaun Archer would prove to be the one to stop the A-C dry spell as the sophomore hit the 3 to answer the Crenshaw hoop. After another Jaden Neal bucket, Crenshaw helped increase Columbia’s lead as the opening quarter ran down. First, the junior PG earned himself a steal on the defensive end and immediately took it coast to coast for the finish and later added another bucket inside to rattle off 4 straight points of his own to help the Crimson Tide race out to the 13-8 lead.
After both teams turned it over on their opening possessions to start the second quarter, A-C big man Isaac Burris made a nice post move inside to make it a one possession ballgame at 13-10. After a Noah Myers bucket inside for A-C would answer an offensive rebound and put back by Meleik Crenshaw, the Dutchmen entered into another scoring drought which allowed Columbia to expand their lead. Ryan Mathews answered the bell for Annville as his trey in the corner against the Columbia zone made it 21-15 Tide with 2:55 left in the half as the Mathews bucket helped ignite the Dutch offense heading into the break. Cole Waldhausen dished it to Noah Myers inside as Myers finished through contact and added the freebie at the line to make it 23-18 Columbia after the Mathews triple. A-C slapped on their version of a zone at the other end and it forced Columbia to be patient when handling the rock. Their diligence paid off when Crenshaw hit Tyler Harman for the spot up J, but Myers would continue to be the hot-hand for A-C as he nailed a triple before the horn to send the teams into half with Columbia on top 26-21.
Once the second half got underway, Columbia was able to increase their lead from 5 to 10 points thanks to Jaden Neal who went on his own 5-0 to start the half for Columbia, with the first basket coming from behind the arc. The 3 ball was still alive and well for the Tide as the quarter moved on when Elijah Swanigan hit one from bonus distance as well which gave the Tide some breathing room to start the second half. Columbia saw their lead swell to a 38-23 margin before back to back three point plays by A-C’s Donald Friday made it 38-29 Tide with half of the third quarter gone by. The quarter would end with an exchange of 3 point buckets as Elijah Swanigan knocked one home for the Tide and Cole Waldhausen followed suit for A-C, but the scorestill in Columbia’s favor 45-39.
With the game on the line, nerves
might have played a factor as the opening three possessions of the
quarter resulted in three turnovers. Meleik Crenshaw was able to
get going to lead the charge for Columbia going down the stretch.
He accounted for 4 straight Tide points before a Tyler Harman triple
made it 52-41 Tide with just two minutes gone by. Crenshaw would
go on to add another bucket to finish his night as the game’s
high scorer with 21, as Elijah Swanigan would later add a bucket
plus the foul to make it a 58-43 Tide lead in the fourth with Columbia
in the midst of a 13-4 run. Untimely turnovers helped spell doom
for any possible A-C comeback efforts, and although Don Friday and
Cole Waldhausen were still attacking the rim and converting on opportunities
at the charity stripe, it was too little too late as Columbia was
able to travel home with the victory 65-54.
The 2016-17 basketball season is still relatively young, but it is still harder to find a team who has had a more interesting start to their season than McCaskey. After their anticipated season-opener against Coatesville was rescheduled, the Tornado sat on the side and watched as the rest of the league continued with their seasons Monday-Thursday last week. McCaskey was finally able to see a team different than their own last Friday night when they traveled northward to Cedar Crest to add to the latest chapter of this decade’s premier LL rivalry. After a back and forth affair, Cedar Crest was ultimately able to come away with a thrilling 72-66 triumph. 24 hours later, the Red Tornado were on the outskirts of Philadelphia playing in their annual matchup against powerhouse Chester. At the end of that night, the Clippers were able to sail past McCaskey 82-47. As if the road couldn’t get any rougher to start, McCaskey came home to face one of the other preseason Section 1 favorites in Lebanon, with just a Sunday day of rest in between. After being idle for one full week, it was certainly baptism by fire for this Red Tornado squad by playing 3 games in 4 days coming out of that stretch with a 0-3 mark. After a Tuesday respite this past week, McCaskey took the show on the road again, this for a much shorter trip to Millersville to match up with Penn Manor.
McCaskey was able to jump on their hosts early with buckets by senior guard Jathan Gonzalez and a steal and free throw finish by junior guard Ray Godwin. McCaskey then turned up the intensity defensively by holding the Comets scoreless for nearly half of the first quarter until Alex Krahulik’s move inside got PM on the board with 4:15 to go in the first. The effort continued on the defensive end as the quarter progressed as McCaskey held Penn Manor to one and done opportunities while building upon their lead. Gonzalez would add another hoop in the first and after a pair of Greg Nunez free throws from the stripe, McCaskey had laid claim to a 12-4 lead to open the contest before Penn Manor would tally two more points to close the first quarter scoring.
Penn Manor senior guard Mike Hreben tried to get a Comet march going with a lay in to start the quarter, but Jathan Gonzalez came right down the floor and knocked home the jumper to immediately answer. Gonzalez would later get another bucket to go down to make it 19-10 McCaskey, forcing PM to burn a timeout. Drew Greenawalt and Krahulik would counter with baskets of their own to contribute to the Penn Manor effort, but a tip in by McCaskey’s 6’7 center William Joseph and a Ricky Cruz to Jathan Gonzalez fast break bucket would close the opening half with McCaskey on top 25-14.
Colin Morrison was able to get Penn Manor on the board early to start the second half, but the third quarter was largely dominated by the team dressed in red. After Ricky Cruz was fouled in the act from 3, Greg Nunez got position inside and laid it in to now make the score 31-16 McCaskey with 5:09 to go inthe third which led to a Penn Manor timeout to try and regroup. After a nice pass inside from Nunez to Cruz made it 33-16 Red Tornado, Penn Manor called yet another timeout. Mike Hrebenwas ultimately able to end the lengthy PM scoring drought with his bucket inside for the 3rd & 4th Comet points of the quarter with 3 minutes still left to play. That would be the last time Penn Manor would score in the quarter however as McCaskey continued to add to their lead. After a Ray Godwin steal and finish, Jathan Gonzalez was money from the corner knocking it down from behind the arc to make it 40-18 Tornado. When the dust settled on the third quarter, McCaskey had used a monstrous 17-4 scoring output to catapult past Penn Manor with the score showing 42-18.
After a Reed Morrison lay in got
the final quarter started for Penn Manor, Jathan Gonzalez still
was thorn in PM’s side as the senior finished a tough bucket
inside plus the foul, worthy of the flex, to add to his stellar
night finishing with a game high 19. Although Gonzalez put up the
high point total of the evening, it was a total team effort that
propelled McCaskey to this 37 point road victory. Junior Tallian
Lehr had a solid night and his offensive rebound and finish in the
fourth quarter was proof of that. Ramon Garcia had two buckets down
the stretch for McCaskey, both of which came after yet another McCaskey
bucket in transition from Godwin to Ricky Cruz which made the score
48-20 with 5:51 to go at the time. Riley Barnett was able to cash
in on his opportunity when he checked into the game for Penn Manor
with a lay in down the stretch, but it was McCaskey who after paying
their dues early on this year, would emphatically take this one
by storm 64-27 to perhaps get them on the right track as the season
Last Monday night, Solanco showed what they are capable of as they dismantled York Suburban in their home opener. As it turned out, that win would seem like a distant highlight as Solanco had gone on a three game losing skid since defeating Conestoga Valley after the York Suburban contest last week. Included in that streak was a 36 point setback to prohibitive Section 2 favorite, Manheim Central. Needless to say, the Mules were itching for a win, or an early Christmas present if you will, heading into the holiday break. With the bulk of the league schedule taking place on Monday and Wednesday nights this past week, Solanco had the opportunity to turn it around with thestage all to themselves, being the only game on the docket Thursday night as Kennard-Dale came calling.
From the opening tip, it was clear that this was exactly what the doctor had ordered. Literally. Just seconds into the game, Collin Kilgore got the ball off the opening tap and layed it in for hisSolanco squad and the floodgates had opened. Although Kennard-Dale did respond with a bucket on their opening possession, the Golden Mules went on an absolute tear to get separation from the visiting Rams in the form of a 16-0 run, 6 of which were contributed by D1-bound Dylan Hastings. The Rams were able to stop the Solanco salvo when lefty Adam Freese was able to knock down a triple with 50 seconds left in the quarter and then later hitting a second trey from NBA range before the buzzer to make it a 18-8 Solanco lead after the first quarter, with Freese being responsible for all 8 of the Rams’ points.
Even with the late back to back
buckets by Kennard-Dale with the first quarter winding down, the
Mules were able to pick up right where they left off once the second
frame began with Jon Rush hitting from the outside and Mike Worthington
later following a shot to have the scoreboard now read 25-8 in Solanco’s
favor, capping the 7-0 Golden Mule rally. Donnell Williams was able
to then get KD into double digits with his floater in the lane,
but Solanco was not done putting salt in the wound. Rush was later
able to drive the baseline with no one in the area code to stop
him until he was met with contact at the rim, but he was able to
finish and knock down the free throw home for the old-school three
Coming out the halftime break, Kennard-Dale tried their best to claw back in it, with Adam Freese carrying most of the load. The Rams’ junior guard who plays a style that appears eerily similar to that of James Harden, got it rolling with a strong take to the rack, plus the foul. Donnell Williams was in on the act as well as the junior forward who was strong on the glass all night, picked up an aforementioned offensive board and put it back in to make the score Solanco 43-24. Freese on the move again later on with another drive to the cup with momentum teetering over the KD bench. In times of question, leaders typically step forward which is exactly what Dylan Hastings did for Solanco by knocking down a 3 ball in the corner, plus the foul to stave off any potential Ram charge that may have been in the making. Freese wouldn’t let his team go quietly into the night however as the southpaw promptly sank two of his five treys in a row to help KD keep it within the realm of possibility. Once again however, Solanco would quell whatever storm Kennard-Dale was trying to brew up. This time it was Jon “McBuckets” Rush as dubbed by the Black Hole, with the trifecta for Solanco to close out the third stanza with Solanco leading 57-37.
Kennard-Dale would counter with
a run of their own to open up the fourth frame with Donnell Williams
picking up 3 of his 9 on the night with the traditional three point
play followed by Freese knocking down two freebies at the line to
add to his game high total of 33 to spark the 7-0 Ram surge.Another
Ram rally, another Solanco hammer to stop it. This time it was Dylan
Hastings yet again on the scene to drain the 3 to make it 60-44
and take the air out of the collective KD sails. With the task at
hand largely decided and in the books, there was still time for
some highlights as Aaron Constein got in the mix from behind the
arc and Dylan Hastings rose up and threw it down with two hands
for the jam to close the book on his 27 point night and the much-needed
Golden Mule win 66-51.