NEFFSVILLE - This time, they held on.
Six days removed from an astonishing last-second home loss to Elco, the Lebanon boys basketball team took to the road Friday and found the win column again at Manheim Township, with a solid 45-32 victory. The Cedars (2-1, 1-0 L-L) survived a late push from the Blue Streaks, who closed to within single digits after getting clobbered in a 19-2 second quarter.
Lebanon's Felix Kortright captained all scorers with 15 points, while Manheim Township senior David Diemo dropped a dozen.
"It was a discussion for a couple days. But you can't dwell on it," Cedars coach Tim Speraw said of his team's recent defeat. "We knew we were coming to play tonight. We were ready to play simply because we had four straight days of practice, and the kids were itching to play. I thought we came out of the gates really, really strong."
Strong but also deadlocked through a first quarter that bore an 8-8 scoreboard and numerous turnovers on each side. Then, entering the second, Lebanon took less than a minute to break free from its tie, as Matty Lopez picked off a telegraphed Blue Streaks pass and rolled to one of his handful of transition layups. The points-off-turnovers feast continued until halftime, with Kortright, repeatedly fed by Lopez and Justin Baker dishes, standing as the primary beneficiary.
"It was making runs and my teammates were looking for me," Kortright said of the critical second quarter. "And us working as a team."
Courtesy of a Michael Sharpe layup, Manheim Township finally ended a brutal scoreless stretch lasting 7:20 that dated back to the opening quarter. Yet the basket was a short-lived victory in an otherwise rout of a period, as Kortright next added two buckets inside, a reminder the nimble-footed sophomore doesn't always need a teammate driving to the hoop in order to create space.
The Cedars led 27-10 at the break,
"It was the second quarter that crushed us," Manheim Township coach Matt Johns said. "We let things snowball, we let things get out of hand and we panicked. And we didn't have anyone on the court that really led, reined us back in."
Dimeo did his best to stop the bleeding, though, stepping into a baseline jumper that helped close the third quarter at 36-24. The veteran guard then recorded the first basket of the final quarter and added a soft-touch field goal to cut the Blue Streaks' deficit to eight. A Lebanon timeout at 4:29 remaining next yielded a trade of empty possessions, before Cam Shaak (11 points) nailed a left-wing 3-pointer, started by an Allan Escoto offensive rebound, that essentially shut the door.
From there, Lebanon executed a pair simple directives to close in on win No. 2.
"Take care of the ball and just do what we need to do," Speraw said.
Lebanon 45, Manheim Township 32
Justin Baker 1 0-0 2, Allan Escoto 2 5-7 9, Dante Vargas 0 1-2 1, Matty Lopez 2 3-7 7, Cam Shaak 4 1-2 11, Felix Kortright 6 1-2 15. Totals — 15 11-20 45.
Manheim Twp. (32)
Crespo 2 0-2 5, Engel 0 1-2 1, Sharpe 2 2-2 6, Dimeo 4 4-4 12, Phillips 1 1-2 4, Vicidomini 2 0-0 4. Totals — 11 8-12 32.
Lebanon_ 8 _ 19_ 9_ 9 _ — _ 45
Manheim Twp._ 8_ 2 _ 14 _ 8 _ — _ 32
3-point goals — Lebanon 4 (Shaak 2, Kortright 2), Manheim Twp. 2 (Phillips, Crespo).