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Highlights from day 1 of the Lebanon High School tip-off tournament. Matt Catrillo/GameTimePA.com

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At the end of the day, the anticipated matchup will become reality Saturday night – the first of three boys basketball clashes between inter-county rivals, Cedar Crest and Lebanon, will determine the Lebanon High School Tip-Off Tournament.

Here’s a recap of how it all unfolded at the Cedar Dome, with 10 observations from day one that served as the season opener for the Falcons and Cedars, along with the Elco Raiders and the Red Lion Lions.

Game 1: Cedar Crest 87, Elco 63

  • There were certainly no opening night jitters for the Falcons, who came out firing on a 7-0 run, eventually outscoring the Raiders 23-9 in the first quarter.
  • Cedar Crest really started to take control in the paint in the second quarter, including two big drives to the cup by Tate Seyfert and Jayden Melendez, both getting the hoop and the harm as the Falcons continued to pull away with under four minutes until the half.
  • Elco, meanwhile, really struggled offensively, not getting on the board until the 5:37 mark of the first, thanks to a Mason Bossert 3. Bossert scored all nine points, in fact – all coming from beyond the arc. Bossert finished 18 points, tied for the game-high with Cedar Crest’s Cole Laney.
  •  A lot of credit goes to the Falcons, too, executing their defense well, making ball movement difficult for Elco, and not letting them get comfortable in the paint. The Raiders also didn’t take care of the basketball, committing 13 turnovers in the first half and 22 for the game, including six in the opening quarter.  
  • From Cedar Crest coach Tom Smith, “They hit all of our coaching points tonight. I was worried at the start, because we do have a young team. But we were ready to go, and it was nice to see. Our style of play is to attack and share the basketball, and when the opportunity presents itself, we take advantage, and that’s what we did tonight. We played tough.”

Game 2: Lebanon 52, Red Lion 39

  • Lebanon struggled shooting from the field for a majority of the first half, accumulating only five points in the second quarter. Luckily, the Cedars had the defense to compensate, especially in the second, in which they held Red Lion to only eight points, and only found themselves down 18-16 at the half.
  • The Cedars didn’t let a tough offensive first half bother them into the third quarter, opening the half on a 10-0 run. Camryn Shaak played a big role, hitting his first two shots of the quarter, counting for five of those points. He was one of the Cedars’ go-to players all night, tying for team-high with 11 points, including 4-of-8 from the charity stripe, which was big in the fourth quarter. Dante Vargas was the other Cedar with 11 points.
  • From Lebanon coach Tim Speraw, “I just reassured them we’d start knocking down shots in the second half. I think we just relaxed a little more once we got off to the quick start in the second half.”
  • That run proved to be the difference, as Lebanon foul trouble put Red Lion in the bonus with 1:11 left in the third. The Lions weren’t able to take advantage, finishing just 8-of-13.
  • Jamel Foster did all he could to keep the Lions in the game, finishing with a game-high 14 points, seven coming in the fourth quarter.

The main event

As the Cedars and Falcons get set to battle Saturday night for a tournament championship and a 2-0 start, both coaches know it’s going to be a chess match.

Smith said, “They (Lebanon) have some good size and athleticism, and they got shooters. It’ll be almost a contrast in style because of their size … we don’t have a lot of size and we like to play up-tempo. It’ll be a good test for us.”

“We’ve got to be ready for their offense and pressure defense,” Speraw said. “It’s been the staple of their team the last couple of years. You know they’re going to be well-coached and will want to put it on us. We just have to come out and play, and not let it get too big.”

Elco and Red Lion will play in the tournament consolation game beforehand, with tip-off at 6 p.m.

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