The approaching holiday tournaments mean we’ve just about reached the end of the first month of the 2016-17 boys hoops season.
Let’s take a look back on how we got here with the first edition of the Lebanon County boys basketball power rankings, which of course are subject to change throughout the season.
1. Palmyra Cougars (6-1, 3-1 MPC-Keystone)
After a quick 2-0 start with big wins over Susquehanncock and Donegal, the Cougars suffered a tough 57-47 loss at home to division rival Mechanicsburg. But since then, Palmyra has really shown resiliency, now winners of four straight, including its latest and impressive 20-point victory over defending division champion Bishop McDevitt.
Though Isaac Blatt remains the focal point of the Cougars offense, it looks as though those new pieces from the preseason are quickly starting to come together, including Bryant Willis and Braden Vernet, as well as Sam Sheils, who led the Cougars with 23 points in the big win at McDevitt.
2. Lebanon Cedars (4-2, 3-0 Section One)
After a season-opening win against Red Lion, the Cedars hit a little bit of a lull, but since then have really found their stride with three straight wins over Manheim Township, McCaskey, and Warwick. Now all of a sudden Lebanon finds itself all alone atop its section.
This team has good size, but can also beat you outside on the perimeter.
3. Cedar Crest (4-2, 2-1 Section One)
After starting the year winning a tip-off tournament championship, the Falcons have been on the see-saw.
Included in that stretch was its best win of the season, beating rival McCaskey and earning revenge of being swept by the Red Tornado, including in last year’s L-L Final.
But then there have been losses against Warwick and powerhouse Manheim Central.
The Falcons certainly are a team that can get red hot anytime, with guys like Blake Thomson, who scored 26 points in Wednesday’s win over Conestoga Valley, Cole Laney, who already had a tip-off tournament MVP and an amazing game-tying shot under his belt, as well as Dylan Miller, Tate Seyfert, Logan Horn, and others leading the way.
4. Annville-Cleona (4-2, 1-2 Section Three)
The Dutchmen got off to the most surprising start in the area as a 4-0 team.
Since then however, A-C has lost two in a row, the latest one a 27-point loss to L-L power Lancaster Catholic.
But one thing this team will have going for them is the mindset they can compete with anyone, and sometimes that can really make a difference down the stretch.
Noah Myers and Donald Friday lead the team in scoring with 15 and 11.17 points per game, respectively.
This will be an interesting team to keep an eye on.
5. Elco (1-5, 1-2 Section Three)
Now that the Raiders finally got that monkey off their back with their first win Wednesday at Lebanon Catholic, they can focus on climbing itself back in the standings.
In order for that to happen, Raiders coach Brad Conners says better execution down the stretch is key, along with tightening up defensively, and if everyone tries not to do too much, often getting caught out of position when doing so.
6. Northern Lebanon (1-4, 1-2 Section Three)
The Vikings just haven’t seen things gone their way so far, with all four losses by an average of about seven points.
Once NL finds a way to grind out one of those games, the confidence will be there.
Caleb Light and Alex Yeager will need to continue leading the Vikings offensively, averaging 15.4 and 10.2 points per game, respectively.
7. Lebanon Catholic (2-4, 0-3 Section Three)
Knowing their situation being inexperienced and short-handed, the Beavers will continue keep the season in perspective, looking to get better each and every game, especially against Class 1A schools.
A lot of the burden will continue to be on the shoulders of Kyle Kauffman and Humberto Valerio, averaging 23.83 and 12.17 points per game, respectively.
8. New Covenant Christian (0-4, 0-2)
It’s been a tough start for the Flames, who are still looking to build experience on the floor together, and are in search of their first win.
Seniors Nathan Dubble and Tony Kornhaus look to continue leading the way as the most experience players coming in.