The three Lebanon County players were honored by Pennsylvania sportswriters on Saturday
They were't the only reasons the 2015-16 high school basketball season was a special one for Lebanon County.
But Evan Horn, Colton Lawrence and Zoe Zerman were certainly three of the biggest ones, even before Saturday.
Now, the trio's impact on the local hoops scene this past winter has been further solidified by all-state honors, after they were named to the Pennsylvania Sportswriters All-State teams that were announced on Saturday.
Cedar Crest's Horn earned a spot on the boys Class AAAA second team, while Elco's Lawrence was selected to the third team in boys AAA and Northern Lebanon's Zerman landed on the third team in girls AAA.
For Horn, the honor represented the perfect ending to a brilliant career, as well as long overdue recognition at the state level after a puzzling snub as a junior, when he led the Falcons to the district final and a thrilling state playoff run that ended against Philadelphia power Roman Catholic.
"It's definitely a prestigious honor," Horn said. "I'm not all about the individual (honors) but it's nice to have. I wish it would have been first team and not second team, though.
"It was definitely a motivational thing (after not making all-state last year), but then again I was more focused on winning big games (as a junior). But no, it's cool."
Cedar Crest didn't enjoy quite as much team success this past season, but it wasn't for lack of production on the part of Horn, who averaged 20.8 points per game while leading an inexperienced Cedar Crest team back to the Lancaster-Lebanon League final and into the District Three playoffs.Along the way, he reached the career 1,000-point mark in a December loss to Central York in which he poured in 36 points and nearly willed the Falcons to a come-from-behind victory.
Horn, who is headed to New Hampshire on a football scholarship, was a starter all four seasons at Cedar Crest, bursting on the scene as a freshman in 2012-13 when the Falcons made the first of four straight appearances in the L-L championship game.
For Lawrence, his senior season was a memorable one both individually and from a team standpoint, as he pumped in 21.2 points per contest while fronting the Raiders' run to a coveted state playoff berth, the first in program history.
Lawrence began his memorable campaign by reaching the career 1,000-point mark in Elco's season-opening rout of Muhlenberg in the Lebanon tip-off event, then added a buzzer-beater to down the host Cedars in the title game the following night.
It got even better from there, as Lawrence helped the Raiders secure berths in the Lancaster-Lebanon, District Three and PIAA state playoffs, although they were were unable to hoist any championship hardware. Still, it was a dream season, one that came to an end with a loss to mighty Neumann-Goretti in the opening round of states, but not before Lawrence and his Elco teammates had secured themselves a permanent place in Elco sports lore.
"It means a lot," said Lawrence, who's still sorting through collegiate offers, including one Division One overture from VMI. "To be on the list, I'm real honored. It sucks that we didn't have a trophy to hold, but it was nice to have such a historic season. Those guys are like my brothers."
Speaking of unforgettable seasons, Zerman and her Northern Lebanon pals enjoyed an epic one of their own while capturing their first Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three title in 30 years and advancing all the way to the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals in their first-ever trip to the state playoffs.
The Vikings would have been hard-pressed to do any of those things without Zerman, their indispensable junior point guard. She ran the show superbly for Ken Battistelli's club, averaging 13.8 points per game while joining the career 1,000-point club in NL's first-round state playoff win vs. Villa Maria.
"Making all state is an amazing accomplishment that I didn't even think was going to be possible," Zerman said, "and I'm so thankful for the opportunities that I had this season. This season was such a wild ride and I'm so glad I got to experience it with the people that mean the most to me, my teammates, coaches and family."
Northern Lebanon's thrilling season was very much about the team and not the individual, but Zerman's personal contributions were the key to it all, as well as a major reason why the Vikings, who return all five starters, are primed and ready to put together another run of success next season.
"From winning the section to 1,000 points and a state playoff run It is so amazing to be a part of history at this school and to know that what we accomplished has never been done by anyone at this school," she said. "We cannot wait to get back on the court together again."