MILLERSVILLE - Given what was accomplished, and all that it took to accomplish it, one might have expected the Cedar Crest boys' basketball team to be ready to explode in jubilation.

Or, at the very least, to be wearing mile-long wide smiles as they exited the locker room at Penn Manor High School on Tuesday night.

Nope. All the Falcons could muster after completing a startling late-season run of nine wins in their last 10 outings to lock down their first Lancaster-Lebanon League playoff berth since, oh, 1976 was low-key pride and quiet happiness.

Can't blame them, though. That kind of business-like attitude was what got them there in the first place.

Courtesy of a 63-46 regular-season finale win over Penn Manor, and needed losses by Hempfield and Warwick, Cedar Crest is - somewhat improbably given the lackluster 5-7 record it was sporting in early January - a league playoff team. A District Three playoff team, too, for that matter.

There's the rub, though. The Falcons, now 14-8 for the season, happen to think they might just be more than simply a league and district playoff qualifier.

"We're not satisfied with this," said Cedar Crest head coach and Falcon basketball alum Tom Smith, whose club will face Section Four champ Lancaster Catholic on Monday in the opening round of the L-L tourney. "This is a great accomplishment for the guys, they've worked hard and they deserve it.


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But they're not finished. We're onto the next one and ready to get ready for Lancaster Catholic."

Senior forward Clay Penchard, who along with fellow senior Killian Klopp was around for the past two lean years that saw Crest win just 10 games combined, agreed with Smith's sentiments.

But he did allow himself a small smile of satisfaction and some muted jubilation when discussing the Falcons' long road from afterthought to postseason player.

"It means the world to us," said Penchard, who led Crest with 18 points, in understated fashion. "Because these past few years have been rough. We weren't playing like we should play and we were underachieving. But this year we're doing what we want and finally getting to the playoffs, both leagues and districts. It's good."

The Falcons' low-key manner served them well on Tuesday, to say the least. Clearly focused on the task at hand and unbothered by what may have been going on in the Hempfield and Warwick games, Crest led wire-to-wire, taking the lead for good on a Klopp three-point play 18 seconds into the first quarter.

Playing with some Senior Night emotion, Penn Manor battled back to within 27-21 at the half, but freshman guard Evan Horn helped the Falcons pull away for good in the third quarter, dropping in 10 of his 16 points to help turn a tight game into a 47-25 affair going into the fourth.

"I was focused on what we had to do," Penchard said. "Because if we didn't do what we had to do, then nothing else mattered. I was just concentrating on us doing our job and letting things fall where they may."

"I've been preaching to them all week, 'The only thing you can worry about is take care of yourselves,'" Smith said. "'Take care of yourselves and things will fall where they may.' That's kinda been our motto since we were 5-7."

This just in: They're not a 5-7 team anymore.

Not with Klopp and Penchard providing both needed production and an abundance of senior leadership.

Not with Horn growing immeasurably and gaining confidence with each passing game.

Not with junior center Andrew Eudy, who tallied 11 key points, providing strong post presence.

Not with role players Seth Daubert, Tommy Black and Josh Bucher, among others, doing the little things that help in accomplishing the big things.

And make no mistake about it, what the Falcons have accomplished since a 99-48 loss to McCaskey on Jan. 7 is a pretty big thing.

"At 5-7, things didn't look too good," Smith said. "But I knew they weren't as bad as they were (playing), and I kept preaching to the kids to stay the course and go one game at a time. To a man, they all did, and put us in this position today."