With the second half of the season in full swing and plenty of postseason races heating up, here is the latest edition of the Lebanon County Boys Basketball Power Rankings.
And yes, there are some changes.
1. Lebanon (12-3, 9-0 Section One)
Despite an ugly 59-50 win Friday over McCaskey, the Cedars have been red hot, winning 11-of-12, started by a seven-game win streak.
With that, Lebanon finds themselves with a commanding three-game lead in Section One over Cedar Crest and Hempfield.
While their size and defense continues to thrive, holding opponents to just 53.4 ppg, Lebanon has found its stroke on the offensive end, especially from Luis Aquino-Rios (12.8 ppg), and Camryn Shaak (11.2 ppg).
One other big strength is depth, which came in handy against the Red Tornado to provide a spark.
Any team with depth this time of the year is very difficult to beat.
2. Palmyra (16-2, 7-2 MPC-Keystone)
It’s obvious the Cougars have been on a roll this season, winners of 14-of-15, which was also propelled by a long win streak of 10 games, including a gutsy overtime victory over Lebanon in the Rhoades Classic at Lebanon Valley College.
But one game that could come back to haunt Palmyra’s MPC-Keystone division title hopes is a 51-50 loss at Lower Dauphin Jan. 10.
The Cougars currently stand a game and a half behind Mechanicsburg for first place.
Regardless of how it plays out however, this Palmyra team will still be a scary team to deal with in the district playoffs, currently in third place in the Class 5A power rankings.
Oh, and the Cougars have a lot of depth as well, besides the likes of Isaac Blatt, Bryant Willis, and Braden Vernet, who have been lights out this season.
3. Cedar Crest (11-4, 6-3 Section One)
Though their record doesn’t necessarily show it, the Falcons have had to fight tooth-and-nail their last three games.
After a taking a punch in the gut to its cross-town rival last Friday, Cedar Crest has had to grind out two thrilling wins. The first came against McCaskey on the road, thanks to Dylan Miller’s game-winning put back with 26.7 seconds left, followed by a thrilling overtime win Friday against Warwick, thanks to Cole Laney’s tying shot with 10 seconds left in regulation.
The point is with the Falcons – they know how to play in big games. The moment isn’t too big for them. That’s also a big advantage for a team to have during this time of the year.
4. Annville-Cleona (10-6, 4-5 Section Three)
Despite its current record, it’s been a tough stretch for the Dutchmen, only winning three of their last seven games, including a loss to Northern Lebanon Tuesday.
While its L-L tournament hopes begin to hang in the balance, A-C still is looking fairly good for a district playoff berth, currently fifth in Class 3A.
With a fairly favorable schedule left in their final six games, the Dutchmen should be able to sneak into districts.
This team is capable of being a threat come playoff time – now it’s a matter of finding consistency.
5. Northern Lebanon (6-9, 4-5 Section Three)
The Vikings have found some momentum after their big win over A-C Tuesday, behind the big three of Alex Yeager, Caleb Light, and Michigan Daub.
With that, don’t count NL out of the district playoff conversation just yet. It's only percentage points behind Schuylkill Valley for the 10th and final playoff spot in Class 4A.
6. Elco (4-11, 3-6 Section Three)
As they continue plowing through what’s been a brutal schedule, the Raiders focus continues to be on how to finish games, and working on execution in critical moments of the game.
It still has been a memorable year for Mason Bossert, reaching his 1,000th career point against A-C Jan. 3.
7. New Covenant Christian (2-10, 2-5 CCAC West)
In the midst of a rough season, the Flames can find some positives after back-to-back divisional wins over Lancaster Mennonite- Hershey and Covenant Christian Jan. 6 and 7, by an average of 25 points.
8. Lebanon Catholic (3-12, 0-9 Section Three)
It continues being a learning year for a Beavers team with low numbers, but there is some talent to build around with the play of Kyle Kauffman (18.4 ppg) Humberto Valerio (10.6 ppg), and Nate Hatzfeld.