While championship banners are the top priority in South Lebanon, the Cedar Crest boys' basketball team always has time to lift a trophy.
Cedar Crest clipped Carlisle 62-51 in the championship game of the Falcons' annual Holiday Tournament on Friday night. The victory extended Crest's winning streak to seven games and ended a five-year tourney drought. The Falcons last won their event in 2007-08.
Junior forward Nick Miller led the way, scoring 17 points off the bench. Tournament MVP Evan Horn (14 points) and senior center Andrew Eudy (11) also reached double digits in the victory. Nine different players scored for head coach Tommy Smith's club.
"All these guys are doing all the little things that it takes to win a basketball game," said Smith. "They're not selfish, they share the ball, and they understand the game. They get the ball to the guy who has the hot hand."
The Falcons (9-1 overall) broke open a close game late in the third quarter, ending the contest on a 26-15 run. Carlisle's Jordan Dockens' slam dunk tied the game at 36 with 2:38 left in the third, but Crest coasted the rest of the way, building on its lead throughout the fourth quarter.
"The whole tournament itself was a great tournament with a lot of competition," said Smith, who is celebrating his 35th birthday today. "I knew of the Dockens kid, we've been watching him play the last couple years here. He presented a big problem to us, so we gave Evan (Horn) and Nick (Miller) a chance to check him. I think they did a pretty good job for the most part."
Dockens dropped 16 points for the Thundering Herd, and J.D. Hughes added 13 for the runners-up. Dockens and Hughes joined Cedar Crest's Horn (MVP) and Dominic Garloff, Hershey's Jack Gunkel and Conrad Weiser's Andy Orr on the All-Tournament Team.
In the consolation game, Hershey handled Conrad Weiser 75-67. Three Trojan players reached double digits for head coach Paul Blackburn, including Gunkel (18), Chase Watkins (14) and Dylan Painter (13). The Scouts were led by Cartier Talford's game-high 20 points. Orr tacked on 16 in the loss, making all 10 of his free throws.
In the title tilt, Carlisle (6-3) got off to a fast start, taking an 8-3 lead halfway through the first quarter. The five-point margin represented the visitor's largest edge of the evening. The first ended in a 13-13 draw.
Miller scored the first five points for the Falcons in the second, converting a field goal and three free throws. Reserve Soren Frost followed with a pair from the charity stripe, and Garloff's driving layup made it 25-16 for Crest. The Falcons carried a 32-28 lead into halftime.
"Our defense and our depth -- we can just keep running guys in," said Garloff, who finished with two points. "It really helps us; not many teams are as deep as us. We can go 12 deep; other teams have the first five or six. That's where we really get them."
Carlisle rallied in the third forcing three draws in the first 6:00 of the second half. After Dockens' highlight-reel dunk tied at 36, Eudy and Miller combined for a 6-0 run to close the stanza.
Cedar Crest closed out the contest by sinking 8-of-12 free throws in the fourth. The Falcons finished 20-of-30 for the game. The only drawback, according to Smith, was the Falcons' lack of range. Crest connected on just two 3-pointers.
"We're going to need to shoot the ball more consistent," explained Smith, when asked about any weaknesses. "We played eight games and had six practices since Dec. 11 - that's three days off. There wasn't a lot of time to get better in those days. Fortunately, we got some good kids and got some wins. We got to go back and keep working on the things we do."
Crest returns to Lancaster-Lebanon League action Friday with a trip to Hempfield at 7:30 p.m.
"We expected to be 10-0; we bust it in the gym," added Garloff. "We got to keep this streak up. Hempfield's next. We're ready for them."
Cedar Crest Holiday Tournament
Cedar Crest 62, Carlisle 51
Ramsey 2 0-0 5, Atkinson 1 1-2 4, Hughes 4 3-4 13, Millington 1 5-6 7, Moore 0 0-0 0, Dockens 7 1-2 16, Purcell 2 1-1 5, Wuestner 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 12-17 51.
Cedar Crest (62)
Daubert 0 1-2 1, Bucher 1 0-2 3, Gristick 1 0-0 3, Frost 0 2-2 2, Miller 6 5-5 17, Kern 0 3-4 3, Garloff 1 0-2 2, Pierre 0 0-0 0, Eudy 9 3-4 11, Horn 5 4-7 14, Eberhart 2 2-2 6. Totals 20 20-30 62.
Carlisle 13 15 8 15 - 51
Cedar Crest 13 19 10 20 - 62
3-point goals - Carlisle 5 (Hughes 2, Ramsey, Atkinson, Dockens), Cedar Crest 2 (Bucher, Gristick).
Total fouls - Carlisle 19, Cedar Crest 15
Fouled out - Carlisle (Atkinson).
Hershey 65, Conrad Weiser 51