Ryan Eshleman will not score 1,000 points during his high school career.
But if the 6-6 junior keeps producing like he did Wednesday night, Elco coach Brad Conners might think of 1,000 ways to praise his efforts.
Eshleman’s eight points and, more importantly, 18 rebounds fueled a huge bounce-back victory for the Raiders, who stormed Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 3 foe Manheim Central 72-50 before a packed house in Myerstown.
Colton Lawrence (22 points), Caleb Buchmoyer (20) and Mason Bossert (16), as expected, handled most of the scoring for Elco (8-1, 5-1 Section 3), which was smacked 62-42 here Monday night by Lampeter-Strasburg. Chris Sherwood’s Barons (6-4, 3-3 L-L) fell three games behind division-leading L-S.
“Monday night's loss in the locker room, it was rough. It was bad,” Conners said. “I was still wondering how we were going to respond. They had the right look on their faces when they came out here, so I felt a little bit better about it. To beat that team by 22? I mean, that's a good Central team. Taylor Funk is a great player. Sherwood does a great job. I mean, that's a big win for us.”
Funk, a 6-8 junior with a handful of NCAA Division I offers already, scored a game-high 24 points – including the 1,000th of his career on a long 3-ball midway through the fourth quarter – and grabbed 10 rebounds.
But Eshleman helped neutralize Funk and made sure he didn’t dominate inside, eliminating many of the Barons’ would-be second-chance opportunities.
“I just go in there knowing my role,” said Eshleman, who added three blocks. “I know Caleb, Mason and Colton are going to score, and my role is play defense and rebound. And I'm just trying to do my role and contribute.
“It shows the fight in our team. We knew [Monday] was a bad loss, and we didn't want to let it happen again. The section is on the line with these games, so we can't afford another loss if we want to reach our goal. We wanted to come out here and bounce back.”
With Funk held scoreless in the opening frame, the Raiders surged ahead 13-2 with early 3-pointers from Bossert (7-13 FG) and Buchmoyer (8-13 FG) and the first of three dunks by Lawrence (9-20 FG).
An eight-point advantage at halftime (38-26) was twice sliced to two early in the third, but the Raiders responded with a 27-5 run that covered the last five-plus minutes of the third and first three-plus minutes of the fourth.
Funk (9-28 FG) ended that run with an NBA-range 3-pointer to give him exactly 1,000 points, which was the lone second-half highlight for the Barons.
“Definitely a relief,” Funk said. “I started out this game nervous. Anxious, as well. I wanted to get it over with. I didn't want to wait until after Christmas to get this, so I'm happy to have it out of the way, but disappointed in the loss, of course.”
Added Sherwood: “Once the game got to about 17 there in the fourth, it was the only thing on my mind. And it was probably the only thing on everybody's mind. Listen, he's earned this. He's a heck of a basketball player and an even better young man. This could not happen to a better guy.”
Lawrence added five rebounds, five steals and two assists for Elco, which also picked up four assists each from Bossert, Buchmoyer and Devin Stoops.
Elco finished with a 39-34 advantage on the glass and sank 30 of 62 field goals with just eight turnovers. Manheim Central finished 21 for 57 from the field and turned it over 11 times.
Follow Geoff Morrow on Twitter: @RageAgainstGMo
Elco 72, Manheim Central 50
Manheim Central (50)
Mitchell Ruth 0 0-0 0, Louis Bosch 1 0-0 2, Trevor Hosler 2 0-0 4, Kody Kegarise 1 0-0 2, Jay Barreto 2 0-1 4, Jeremy Landis 1 0-0 2, Jake Novak 2 1-2 5, Connor Hostetter 0 0-0 0, Roman Wagner 2 1-2 5, Taylor Funk 9 4-4 24. Totals — 21 6-9 50.
Mason Bossert 7 0-0 16, Joseph Ginder 1 0-0 2, Caleb Buchmoyer 8 1-1 20, Nathan Beamer 1 0-0 2, Devin Stoops 1 0-0 2, Blake Weary 0 0-0 0, Colton Lawerence 9 4-4 22, Jeffery Lorah 0 0-0 0, Ryan Eshleman 3 2-4 8, Dylan Stoops 0 0-0 0. Totals — 30 7-9 72.
Man. Central_ 9 _ 19 _ 11 _ 11 _ — _ 50
Elco _ 13 _ 23 _ 16 _ 20 _ — _ 72
3-point goals — MC 2 (Funk 2); Elco 5 (Buchmoyer 3, Bossert 2).
JV score — Manheim Central 54, Elco 51.