LEBANON — Highly selective and remarkably patient - especially given the importance of the matchup - Tim Speraw’s basketball-playing Lebanon Cedars employed that solid tactical approach for a solid 36 minutes.
And when Monday night’s Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 1-2 crossover finally came to an end, the determined Cedars were flashing plenty of grins.
Gritty 62-56 victories in overtime over a formidable opponent, in this case Hempfield, can and will cause those particular physical effects.
Logan Blouch bucketed 17 points and Allan Escoto popped in 16 - both players hopped off the bench - as the host Cedars (11-3, 8-1 and Section 2 front-runners) opened a grueling week by knocking off one of Section 1’s resident hammers.
Connor Moffatt poured in 24 points and Will Blair dropped in 16 for Danny Walck’s Black Knights (9-5, 6-3), who forced the extra session when Ryan Moffatt drained a free throw with just one second to go in regulation.
When Lebanon’s Matty Lopez promptly threw the ball off the ceiling in an effort to initiate the ensuing possession, Hempfield had a chance to walk out a winner. But Connor Moffatt’s trey from the left wing was off the mark.
Escoto and Felix Kortright shared seven points in OT to give Lebanon, which spread the floor throughout and repeatedly beat defenders off the bounce yet showed plenty of patience, the win.
“Hopefully, we can keep it going,” said Speraw, who will take his Cedars to McCaskey on Wednesday before playing host to Cedar Crest on Friday. “I’m just proud of my kids with their effort, their energy. I hope we keep it going.”
“You want to look at multiple things, it’s not any one thing,” lamented Walck, whose Black Knights led by eight (18-10) early in the second quarter and six twice (43-37 and 45-39) as the midway point of the fourth approached.
“You can go back and look and we put ourselves in position where we had to fight back from adversity. And it just didn’t bounce that way. It just didn’t bounce that way. Give them a lot of credit because they caused some of that,” Walck added.
“We had our opportunities and when you’re on the road, you’ve got to capitalize on all those little ones that you have.”
Trailing 45-41 with just under three minutes to go, Lebanon capitalized when Blouch snared a defensive rebound and Blair was whistled for a foul. When Blair protested, a technical was tacked on to the carnage.
Blouch bagged three of the four freebies allotted and, with the Cedars getting the ball back, promptly buried a trey from the top of the circle.
Suddenly, thanks to a six-point sequence/play, Lebanon held a 47-45 lead.
Eventually, after Hempfield missed four freebies in the final minute and the Cedars turned it over three times, the game wound up in OT.
And when Speraw’s bunch closed on a 7-0 spurt and the buzzer sounded, the Cedars were bouncing around celebrating their latest success.
“Obviously, getting three out of four shots and then getting the ball and knocking down a shot, it was a big turning point for us,” Speraw said. “We still made some big-time, bonehead plays at the end of the game, which will drive a coach nuts, but we never stopped playing hard. I thought our kids fought and fought and grinded it out.
“I’m proud of them. Give Hempfield credit, they didn’t back down at all.”
Lebanon 62, Hempfield 56, OT
Ryan Moffatt 0 3-4 3, Connor Moffatt 9 4-8 24, David Martin 0 0-0 0, Bryan Karl 3 0-0 6, Javon Mitchell 0 0-0 0, Andrew Green 3 0-0 7, Will Blair 6 4-5 16, Joey White 0 0-0 0. Totals — 21 11-17 56.
Danny Caricabeur 0 2-2 2, Justin Baker 1 1-2 3, Shaquell Ortiz 2 5-7 9, Matty Lopez 2 4-6 8, Felix Kortright 3 1-2 7, Allan Escoto 7 2-4 16, Logan Blouch 4 5-6 17, Dante Vargas 0 0-0 0. Totals — 19 20-29 62.
Hempfield _ 11 _ 13 _ 12 _ 16 _ 4 _ — _ 56
Lebanon _ 10 _ 15 _ 10 _ 17 _ 10 _ — _ 62
3-point goals — Hemp 3 (C.Moffatt 2, Green); Leb 4 (Blouch 4).