FREDERICKSBURG - Colton Lawrence and his Elco Raiders started slowly Tuesday night at Northern Lebanon. It didn’t last long and when it dissipated, the hosts paid dearly.
Elco spotted the Vikings a surprisingly large 11-point edge, then ripped off a scary, elongated run to take control of the Lancaster-Lebanon Section 3 contest and defeat its county rival 83-56.
It was Elco’s 11th win in 12 tries this season and moved the Raiders to 6-1 in L-L 3, just a half-game behind leader Lampeter-Strasburg. Northern Lebanon fell to 5-7, 2-5.
Lawrence was in another zone. The Vikings scored the first seven points of the contest and took an unexpected 13-2 lead late in the first quarter before Elco’s sharpshooting big man -- along with teammate Nate Beamer -- unleashed a volley of long-range buckets that blasted the Raiders right past the Vikings, who were powerless to stop it.
During one stretch from late in the first quarter through the 4:30 mark of the second, the duo jacked six triples and hit five of them.
Lawrence deposited six 3-pointers on his way to 35 points. Beamer nailed three bombs and finished with 19.
The 32-7 run that decided it – obliterating that unlikely 13-2 deficit -- materialized out of a time out Elco coach Brad Conners had called when Northern Lebanon, fueled in part by the emotions of a packed house in Fredericksburg, took an early 7-0 lead.
“(During the time out) we just talked out matching their energy,” Conners said. “We knew coming into the game that they were going to have a lot of energy, the crowd. … Listen, they can shoot the ball, but I was seeing them drain shots I haven’t seen all year. Now we took their shot, let’s just be steady.
“We were a bit anxious. Coming up here, it’s a rivalry and it’s hard to play in this gym. This year we’re the hunted, and that’s something new. Learning how to play as the hunted is a little bit different. Our kids responded in the huddle.”
Lawrence was a key focus for Chris George’s Vikes, but he somehow managed to pop free for several open looks behind the arc. He cashed in those chips with deadly accuracy.
“Hey, look, you tip your hat to that kid,” George said of Lawrence. “We lost him at times, which is beyond me. I don’t understand how that happens with a kid of his talent … he’s a heckuva talent and that team is obviously loaded. After the first quarter, we just didn’t execute.
“We called some timeouts to try and slow it down. One when we were still up a bit, one when fell behind and one when it got a bit larger at eight or nine. We switched up our defenses, but at the end of the day we just didn’t do a good enough of a job.”
A 21-8 second quarter gave the Raiders and 40-28 lead, which they extended to 68-41 after three quarters. Lawrence exited the contest sitting on 35 points with 6:32 to play and his team up 72-41. Beamer and the rest of the starting crew joined him shortly thereafter.
“When Colton finds his rhythm he can knock them down,” Conners said. “I think he felt the team needed him to do some of that, and he responded in a big way. He’s been through the wars, he’s a leader, and he has the ability.”
Isaac Bicher led Northern Lebanon with 13 points. He was the only Viking to reach double digits.
Elco 83, Northern Lebanon 56
Smith 0 0-0 0, Bussery 3 2-2 Ginder 0 0-0 0, Buchmoyer 3 2-2 8, Nate Beamer 8 0-1 19, De.Stoops 2 1-2 6, Colton Lawrence 14 1-1 35, Eshelman 2 0-0 4, Dy.Stoops 1 1-2 . Totals — 33 7-10 83.
Northern Lebanon (56)
Light 3 2-2 9, Isaac Bicher 5 0-0 13, Cellari 1 0-0 2, Gingerich 4 0-0 9, Yeager 2 0-0 5, Fellows 1 0-0 3, Daub 3 1-1 7, Reese 4 0-0 8, Lum 0 1-2 1. Totals — 23 4-5 56.
Elco _ 19 _ 21 _ 28 _ 18 _ — _ 83
N. Lebanon _ 20 _ 8 _ 13 _ 15 _ — _ 56
3-point goals — Elco 10 (Lawrence 6, Beamer 3, De Stoops), NL 6 (Bicher 3, Gingerich, Yeager, Fellows).