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


Dec 19-24

Dec 25-Jan 7

Jan 9-15

Week of Jan 16-22

Falcons Left Standing After Cedar Crest And McCaskey Stage Another Epic Bout

It was not all that long ago that fans might have taken a peek at the nightly slate of games on the L-L docket, saw the Cedar Crest and McCaskey matching up, and disregarded it as nothing more than your run of the mill Section 1 contest. If you haven’t already done so, throw that logic away immediately. Make no mistake about it, this matchup has become appointment viewing with everyone inside and outside of these programs having the game dates circled when the schedules are released as both the Falcons and Red Tornado having battled it out for Section 1 and League-wide supremacy over the last handful of years. On Tuesday night in Lancaster city, the two schools that are 25 miles apart proved that the distance that truly separates them is still razor-thin as Cedar Crest authored the latest chapter in the L-L’s hottest new rivalry escaping with a one point victory, sweeping McCaskey this season in the process.

From the outset, it became obvious that this game would only be played in 1st gear as both teams raced up and down the floor answering each other’s buckets. After an initial exchange of leads within the first minute of the contest, Blake Thomson’s follow and finish knotted the score up at 5-5 with 5:15 in quarter 1. Cedar Crest would later regain the lead when Dylan Miller rose up and splashed home his second trey of the opening quarter for the Falcons. The tennis match on hardwood theme continued as McCaskey stormed back via a 6-2 run from that point on to take the 11-10 advantage back, highlighted by fantastic execution on the fast break with Isiah Speller dishing it off to teammate Jathan Gonzalez for the Tornado hoop. Once again, Cedar Crest remained undaunted as hoops from Thomson and Jaiden Melendez continued the see-saw affair. When the dust settled on a first quarter that was played at a break-neck speed, it was Cedar Crest in front 14-13.

After a quick McCaskey hoop got the second quarter underway, Cole Laney got Cedar Crest back in front 17-15 courtesy of a trifecta 45 seconds in. The long range shooting still provided dividends for Crest later on as Jaiden Melendez got in on the act to now make the score 20-19 Falcons with 5:10 showing on the first half clock. The 3 point shooting in the gym must have been contagious at this point as Ricky Cruz rang it up from deep to give McCaskey the brief 22-20 advantage before Tate Seyfert had the answer from, you guessed it, 3 point land against the McCaskey zone. With the half coming to a close, McCaskey’s Ricky Cruz got into a rhythm as the senior guard tallied two buckets with one minute left to go to send the Tornado into the locker room with the 31-28 lead.

As was the case with the first half of action, the second half of Tuesday night’s tilt was played within a five point window. The window would shrink to one as Blake Thomson scored for Cedar Crest 1:15 into the quarter, but Jathan Gonzalez had the McCaskey response with a bucket from behind the arc to push the lead back up to 4.
Cedar Crest would regain the lead halfway through the third, however Isiah Speller’s trifecta gave the lead back to the Red Tornado at 39-38. From there, McCaskey would go on a 7-2 run with William Joseph contributing 5 to the effort by way of the traditional three-point play before knocking down two at the stripe to give McCaskey the 46-42 edge. Cole Laney would help the Falcons claw back into it by posting of a 5 point scoring run of his own with a bucket underneath, before he too completed the traditional three point play to close the curtains on the third quarter with McCaskey still in front 50-47.

The Tornado would grow to 4 in the opening stages of the final quarter after a Ray Godwin drive to the tin, but Cedar Crest rallied the troops first with Cole Laney scoring from the field before sophomore Logan Horn toed the line and converted both of his attempts to knot it up at 54-54 with 5:14 to go. The Falcons would then go on to take the lead thanks to Blake Thomson finishing off the nice reverse move, but Isiah Speller making it all square at 56 apiece with a 2-2 effort from the foul line.
It was then McCaskey’s turn to go out in front after an RJ Godwin follow, but Crest would take the lead right back after Tate Seyfert got the bucket plus the foul to make it 59-58 Falcons with 3:23 left to play. On the night. Seyfert had high scoring honors for the Falcons finishing with a team-high 16.

The lead on the scoreboard then became a game of hot potato as the Tornado and Falcons took their turns playing in front with the game on the line. William Joseph gave the lead back to McCaskey by calming executing from the stripe as the 6’7 big man went 2-2 with 3 minutes to go to add to his game-high total of 19. After a Dylan Miller follow put CC on top, the lead exchanged hands once more as Isiah Speller’s bucket with 1:25 left to play made it 62-61 Tornado.

With the ball back in their hands with under 1 minute to play, a costly McCaskey turnover gave the ball back to Cedar Crest giving them the opportunity to go out in front. They did just that as Dylan Miller’s second big time hoop off the follow made it 63-62 Crest with 26.7 still left to play.

It was then McCaskey’s chance to take the lead, however they would not get the opportunity to do so as another Tornado turnover gave it back to the Falcons with the chance to advance their lead by way of the foul line. Not being able to do so, McCaskey still had one last gasp for a walkoff game winner, but the last second Tornado shot from 3 was short giving the visitors from Lebanon County the thrilling 63-62 victory, capping the 2016-2017 edition of this L-L basketball centerpiece.

After Early Test, Middletown Runs Past Northern Lebanon 71-54

It’s been a pretty athletic season thus far for the Middletown Blue Raiders. After the school’s football team took the town on the banks of the Susquehanna on an undefeated journey to the state finals, it certainly looks like the Blue Raider faithful will have their fair share of excitement in the winter as well as the Blue Raider basketball team looks more than capable of doing their fair share of damage in the postseason. When Middletown got off the bus on Thursday night in Fredericksburg to take on Northern Lebanon in an out of conference matchup, M-Town brought with them an 11-2 record sitting at #2 in the latest District 3 AAAA rankings. The Blue Raiders certainly did nothing to hurt that position as they raced to a 17 point victory both literally and figuratively, turning a strong defensive effort into easy buckets in transition, as they eventually pulled away after an early tussle from the home-standing Vikings.

As mentioned, Northern Lebanon did not back down from the challenge early on as the Vikings were out to make a statement of their own with NL currently positioned just outside the District playoffs at the #12 spot, needing to crack the top 10 to get in. The Vikes got out of the gates with a 5-2 lead with 5:15 to go in the first after a Henry Hubbard trifecta before an Alex Yeager drive to the tin. The Viking lead would then swell to 4 after senior Dominic Celleri hit the trey from straight on to now make the score 8-4 Northern Lebanon. The Raiders stormed back to tie the score at 8-8 after a Tyreer Mills to Chris Plummer lay in, and eventually taking control of the scoreboard after a Luke Mrakovich triple to make it 11-8 with 3:20 left in the first. Northern Lebanon would shake off the 7-0 Blue Raider run by going back with a run of their own, this of the 5-0 variety as Yeager’s traditional three point play put the Vikings back on top 13-11. The Blue Raiders would again answer the bell and go back in front 17-15 on a Chris Plummer lay in before the first quarter buzzer sounded with Middletown leading 19-15.

Northern Lebanon got possession at the start of the second quarter and were extra patient in their initial attack. Their patience would be rewarded with Michigan Daub scoring inside for the Vikings to get NL back within a deuce at 19-17 30 seconds in. Middletown then began relying on their stifling defensive pressure turning turnovers into scoring opportunities as the Blue Raiders saw their lead rise to 26-19 as a result with 5 minutes to go in the opening half.

Northern Lebanon would come back and outscore Middletown 15-8 over the next 3 minutes which culminated with Caleb Light’s 3 ball to make the score 34-30 in favor of Middletown. The volley of runs continued with Middletown taking a 7-0 run into the halftime break, highlighted by Luke Mrakovich laying it in off transition, and later following that up with the traditional 3 point play to help take Middletown into the break leading 41-32.

The visitors would later see their lead increase to 48-34 with 3 minutes gone by in the third quarter when Luke Mrakovich scored 3 of his 15 on the night from behind the arc to help set the tone for Middletown early on in the second half. The Blue Raiders margin would grow even larger later in the third quarter with Kyle Truesdale’s offensive board and stick back to put Middletown in the driver’s seat up 54-36. While in command of the car, Middletown kept their foot on the gas with Michael Mattes scoring inside off the screen and roll action to cap the third frame with Middletown leading 61-42.

Northern Lebanon came of the gates starting the final quarter on a tear with Caleb Light knocking down two treys to add to his team-high 16 on the night, two shots that were sandwiched between Trey Michal blocking an NL shot inside which got more than an excited reaction from his Blue Raider teammates. Braedon Thomas would later get Middletown on the verge of 70 with his bucket with 2:30 remaining to make it 69-52 Raiders. Junior Thomas Folmer would then get on the board for Northern Lebanon with a lay in late, while a 2-2 trip to the foul stripe by Jerrod Myers put Middletown over the 70 point mark, capping the strong road performance with Middletown returning home with the 71-54 victory.


This Week’s Starting Five

Michigan Daub (Northern Lebanon)
Ricky Cruz (McCaskey)
William Joseph (McCaskey)
Tate Seyfert (Cedar Crest)
Cole Laney (Cedar Crest)