Northern Lebanon dropped the championship game of its boys' basketball holiday tournament 56-42 to Penn Manor Wednesday night.
The Vikings (2-5) trailed by as many as 29 points in the third quarter, due in part to 20 first-half points by tournament MVP Cameron Lovett. Lovett finished with 23 points to be the only double-digit scorer for the Comets (4-5).
While Penn Manor was establishing its large lead, including a 17-0 run that carried over the first and second quarters, Northern Lebanon was unable to go inside against the taller Comets. The Vikings' outside shots only fell on occasion.
Down 36-12 at intermission after a 3-pointer on the buzzer by Lovett, Northern Lebanon had three 3-pointers and one jumper for two points to its credit.
“We're not a big team,” Viking head coach Chris George said. “For us, Penn Manor is a matchup issue. Their style on defense and the individual matchups are an issue for us. We had to rely on guard play. … I think we were impatient. Against a Section 1 team, it's not only going to be one pass and shoot.”
The height differential was not only felt in the lack of inside scoring but in rebounding as well. The Comets had a 36-23 advantage on the boards. Matt Tulli had nine rebounds for Penn Manor, while Michigan Daub had eight for the Vikings.
Penn Manor still led 48-23 after three quarters, but lost the momentum at that time. Northern Lebanon opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run with 3-point baskets by Caleb Light and Thomas Folmer. The Vikings forced eight turnovers in the fourth quarter, after the Comets had given it away only three times in the first three quarters.
The Vikings would get within 12 points with under two minutes to go, but the Comets scored on the following possession to head off any comeback.
Alex Yeager led Northern Lebanon with 11 points. Daub and Light, who were named to the all-tourney team, had 10 and eight, respectively. The Vikings finished with eight two-point field goals and seven 3-point field goals.
“Not every night is going to be a great shooting night,” George said. “So you've got to make that up elsewhere.”
Alex Krahulik had eight points for Penn Manor and was named to the all-tourney team.
Northern Lebanon will be turning its attention to Section 3 games in 2017.
“Obviously, if we're going to play with teams like Elco, Lancaster Mennonite and Lancaster Catholic, we're going to have to work on our consistency,” George said. “We don't do things consistently, and aren't doing the little things with focus.”
In the consolation game, Daniel Boone defeated Schuylkill Valley 54-42.