The Strong Vincent boys' basketball team cruised in the championship game of the 27th annual Lebanon Tip-Off Tournament, humbling the host Cedars with a 61-40 setback on Saturday night at Lebanon Valley College.
The Colonels started and finished fast, capitalizing on a slew of Lebanon turnovers to claim their first tip-off title in three appearances. Lebanon had won the past three tournaments.
Erie shooting guard Malquan Pulliman earned MVP honors after torching the Cedars for 16 points on an array of pull-up jumpers and drives. Pullman dropped 18 in Friday's 59-54 first-round victory over Palmyra.
"I don't want to take anything away from Palmyra, but we didn't have our legs (on Friday)," said Strong Vincent head coach Shannon Pulliman. "Tonight, we were well-rested and took better care of the ball. It was a total team-effort. I couldn't be any prouder of my guys."
Two buses broke down in transit to the tournament. Strong Vincent and its roster of 13 seniors and one junior arrived at Palmyra Area High School on Friday night at 5:15 p.m. for a 6 p.m. tip. No problems, they seemed to get stronger as each quarter passes.
For Lebanon, the red and white never got on track Saturday night. The Cedars turned the ball over 22 times, including eight times in the first quarter. Strong Vincent's back court press propelled it to a 6-0 lead. They still held a six-point cushion at the end of the first, 16-10.
It was in the second period, after Lebanon had cut the lead to four at 24-20, when things took a turn for the worse. The Colonels, the runner-up in District 10 last season, relied on offensive rebounding and pressure on the ball handler to bolt ahead 29-22 at the break. By the middle of the third quarter, the lead ballooned to 17 with the up-and-down pace favoring the out-of-towners.
Drey Murray led the Cedars with a team-high 14 points, and Jorian Ginnetto and Blayde Reich both added 10 points each.
The All-Tournament team consisted of Erie's Brandon Coleman, Palmyra's Shaun Robinson, Elco's Cameron Paul and Lebanon's Drey Murray and Jorian Ginnetto.
In Saturday's consolation game, Palmyra tripped up Elco 63-37 behind a balanced attack of long-range bombers. The Cougars (1-1) canned back-to-back 3-pointers to open the night, building a 19-4 advantage by the end first quarter.
Snipers Chris Lynn and Adam Newhard both reached double digits with 10, and Brad Mackey added eight points and nine rebounds off the bench for Palmyra.
The Raiders, outscored 26-10 in the first quarter in Friday's first-round loss to Lebanon, were led by Colton Lawrence's 12 points and Cameron Paul's 11.
Notes: The Lebanon High School Athletic Hall of Fame inducted five members into the Class of 2012 prior the championship tip. The newly-minted members include Ernie Firestone (1954), Joel Manzolillo (1955), John Houser (1970), Ellen Light (1989) and Pat Daly (1998).