MECHANICSBURG – When drawing a happy little Cedar tree in the style of the legendary artist Bob Ross, might we recommend a few splashes of red.
Make sure that painting is dedicated to Lebanon senior Logan Blouch, the Cedars’ own red-headed breakthrough splash artist.
In Lebanon’s 53-28 takedown of Boiling Springs late Tuesday afternoon, the 6-foot-2 reserve guard obliterated his career high by canning seven 3-pointers and bucketing 23 points.
Blouch drilled at least one trey in each quarter at Mechanicsburg High School, where the Cedars advanced to Wednesday’s 7 p.m. Sauve Bros. Holiday Tournament championship against Mechanicsburg.
“In practices before I've been able to catch fire,” said Blouch, who made eight of 10 shots (seven of nine from deep). “In a game I hadn't been able to yet. But tonight I was feeling it from warm-ups. Made everything in warm-ups, and it carried over. I got to thank my teammates. They found me on every play and set awesome screens.”
That’s seven straight victories for Tim Speraw’s Cedars (8-1), who already lead the Lancaster-Lebanon League’s Section 2 by four games.
“He's a great kid,” Speraw said of Blouch. “He's been with us, been in Lebanon his whole life, so I've seen him come up through the biddy program, through middle school, JV, and just a great kid. I'm happy for him. He had [a wrist] injury earlier this year that limited his time. So to see him go off a little bit and get a little bit of confidence back, that's going to be big for us.”
Boiling Springs, with longtime head coach Pat Dieter, fell to 3-5 this season and will meet Littlestown in Wednesday’s 5:30 consolation.
“Lebanon is an excellent team,” Dieter said. “Tim does a great job with them. I've seen them over the years, and this team is nice. They move the ball well, find people, and they can shoot it."
Kortright’s 3-pointer opened the scoring, and the Cedars were off and running, building a 9-1 lead in the opening frame.
Though the Bubblers closed to within 9-8 late in the first quarter, Lebanon’s defense combined with Blouch’s shooting to soon dam the Bubblers.
Blouch’s first triple gave the Cedars a 12-8 lead after one quarter, and the defense clamped down to hold Boiling Springs without a field goal for the entire second stanza.
“We don't really have a big [man], so we can pressure a little bit more,” Speraw said. “We can get up on guys a little bit more. I thought we fouled too much [16 fouls to the Bubblers’ six], too many hand-checks, things like that. But overall, just getting in passing lanes, I thought we rebounded well, and that allows us to get into our transition offense, which was effective tonight. Then, obviously, it leads to a couple open shots for Logan.”
A 23-10 halftime advantage never dipped into single digits and grew to as many as 30 (53-23) on Blouch’s final 3-pointer with 2:51 remaining.
“I think we have so many scorers on this team that they could shut down two people, and we have another six coming right at them,” said Blouch, whose previous career-high was 10 points last year vs. Manheim Twp. and whose previous high in 3-pointers was three last year in this tournament vs. Littlestown.
Allan Escoto scored eight points for Lebanon, while Kortright totaled five points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Point guard Matty Lopez contributed four points, a game-high eight rebounds, plus three assists and two steals.
Showcasing that depth, Lebanon also picked up six points, four boards and four assists from reserve Shaq Ortiz, plus three points and three more assists from Dante Vargas.
Cam Shaak did not score and appeared to bruise his knee during a first-half collision. Speraw was hopeful Shaak could return to action soon.
Hunter Breon paced the Bubblers with eight points and three assists.
The Bubblers shot just 19 percent (nine of 47) from the field with 14 turnovers. Lebanon turned it over 20 times but finished 49 percent (20 of 41) from the field. The Cedars held a 34-28 advantage on the glass and totaled 17 assists on their 20 field goals.
“I am a little bit [surprised by the early success],” Speraw said. “A lot of times it's not until January when teams start clicking and coming together, and these guys are very unselfish. They don't care where the credit goes. I don't think there's a kid right now who isn't happy for Logan, and they don't care that they didn't score that many points tonight. That helps make coaching a whole lot easier, when nobody cares where the credit goes. I'm just happy with the way things are coming together, and I'm glad it happened sooner than later. A lot of times we're fighting for districts at the end of the year. Hopefully that's not the case this year.”
Morrow on Twitter: @RageAgainstGMo
Lebanon 53, Boiling Springs 28
Logan Blouch 8 0-0 23, Allan Escoto 4 0-0 8, Cody Kissinger 1 0-0 2, Felix Kortright 2 0-0 5, Matty Lopez 2 0-0 4, Shaq Ortiz 1 4-4 6, Sebastian Sierra 1 0-0 2, Dante Vargas 1 0-0 3. Totals — 20 4-4 53.
Boiling Springs (28)
Corry Bowers 1 1-2 3, Hunter Breon 2 3-6 8, Rakhi Dockens 2 0-0 5, Hunter Goshorn 2 2-2 6, Grayson Hacker 1 0-0 2, Dylan LaNoue 1 0-0 2, Ben Wingard 0 2-3 2. Totals — 9 8-13 28.
L_ 12_ 11_ 15_ 15 _ — _ 53
BS_ 8_ 2 _ 9_ 9 — _ 28
3-point goals — L 9 (Blouch 7), BS 2 (Breon, Dockens)