The 2016 Lebanon Daily News All-County Boys Basketball Team is loaded with talented upperclassmen from the area's best teams this season.
They gave us buzzer-beaters, 3-point shooting nights for the ages and some of the finest all-around performances the county has seen in years.
When it came to this group on the hardwood, there was no debate.
These kids can ball.
Led by three-time honorees Evan Horn and Colton Lawrence, the 2016 Lebanon All-County boys basketball team features five returning members from last season's first and second teams. Horn, a Cedar Crest senior, punctuated his high school hoops tenure by leading the Falcons to their fourth straight L-L championship and crossing 1,000 points for his career. Lawrence, who scored his 1,000th point in the opening weekend of his senior campaign, captained arguably the finest season in Raiders history, which included their first-ever state tournament berth and 22 victories.
Joining Lawrence is teammate and junior guard Mason Bossert, an All-County second team member from 2015. The Elco sharpshooter led all county players in made 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 16 points in the Raiders' season farewell, a first-round state tournament defeat against two-time reigning champion Neumann-Goretti. Twice this winter Bossert canned eight 3s during a single game, a feat Palmyra senior Austin Yetter matched in December during a rivalry game against Hershey.
Yetter also landed on the Mid-Penn Keystone all-star first team with an average of more than 17 points per game. Cougars junior forward Isaac Blatt registered as the other leading scorer for Palmyra, one year after earning All-County second-team accolades with his soon-to-be-graduate teammate. Blatt bucketed at least nine points in every game.
Undoubtedly, as impressive as each of their individual efforts were, each of these All-County players would also list their respective team's accomplishments among highlights of their 2015-16 campaign. For Horn and Cedar Crest (19-7), nothing should top its 10-game mid-season win streak and another league title game appearance. As mentioned, there was no shortage of history for Elco (22-6) this year, which suffered only three regular-season losses. The Raiders' impressive efforts from December and January parlayed into a rare L-L tournament berth in early February and then a 3-1 mark during the district tournament.
While Palmyra (17-6) ultimately met a surprising first-round end in the same bracket, its sour finish hit only after a strong, season-long journey of reestablishing the Cougar brand as a force in the division. Yetter, Blatt and Co. finished tied for second in the Mid-Penn Keystone with Cedar Cliff, trumped solely by Bishop McDevitt, the eventual district champion. During a stretch of eight straight regular-season victories, Palmyra took down the Crusaders, 70-56.
Lebanon forwards Shaq Ortiz and Allan Escoto headline the 2016 All-County second team. Northern Lebanon's Isaac Bicher, Elco senior Caleb Buchmoyer and Noah Myers, of Annville-Cleona, round out the second team. All are first-time All-County honorees.
2016 All-County second team
Caleb Buchmoyer, Elco
Allan Escoto, Lebanon
Shaq Ortiz, Lebanon
Isaac Bicher, Northern Lebanon
Noah Myers, Annville-Cleona