SOUTH LEBANON – In its first two games of the season, the Cedar Crest boys' basketball team showed some of the qualities that it had in years past, when the Falcons appeared in three straight Lancaster-Lebanon League championship games.
But on Monday night, Cedar Crest resembled a team that still was not entirely sure of its identity.
In a way, both interpretations of who the Falcons are right now are accurate, but against Manheim Central, the uncertainty showed more strongly in a 63-45 non-league loss at home.
Cedar Crest (2-1) won the Lebanon Tip-Off Tournament last weekend in its first two games of the post-Evan Horn era. Even after the loss, head coach Tommy Smith said he felt that his players were doing a good job dividing up the responsibilities left behind by Horn, now a football player at New Hampshire.
“The scoring is spread out,” Smith said. “I thought we did a good job on defense until tonight. Rebounding is still strong.”
But there was an intangible that still has not been replaced.
“The thing I think we've missed right now is the leadership,” Smith said. “Evan was the guy who would make the key play. Right now we're waiting for that guy to step up.”
This is not unexpected for Smith and the Falcon coaching staff. They knew coming in to the year that, although they still had players with game experience, it was still a mostly young roster.
“We can aid in [finding the player to step up], but they'll figure it out themselves,” Smith said. “We're a young team. We're still trying to figure out the rotations. But when the time comes, we'll figure it out.”
On Monday night, there was a moment where Dylan Miller stepped up to get the Falcons into the game. Down 20-8 in the second quarter, Miller hit back-to-back jumpers to get Cedar Crest within 20-13. But Taylor Funk responded for the Barons (1-0) with three straight 3-point baskets to push Manheim Central's lead to 16 points. Additional treys by Connor Hostetter and Roman Wagner helped the Barons to a 17-4 run to end the period and a 37-17 halftime lead.
“They were switching up defenses on us and we were trying to adjust,” Smith said. “They just did a better job of executing than us, and we weren't able to turn them over for easy baskets.”
In the second half, the closest Cedar Crest got was 51-35 at the end of the third quarter, when Cole Laney and Jaydon Melendez scored field goals in the last minute. Manheim Central scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter to re-establish a 20-point lead.
Funk led all players with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
“We were hoping to limit his touches in the paint, and when he got it on the perimeter, to be in his chest from the start,” Smith said.
Hostetter had 19 points, and Wagner added 10.
Blake Thomson paced the Falcons with eight points.
Manheim Central 63, Cedar Crest 45
Manheim Central (63)
Trevor Hosler 4 0-0 8, Kody Kegarise 0 0-0 0, Tyler Lyons 1 0-0 2, Jay Barreto 0 2-2 2, Jake Novak 0 0-0 0, Connor Hostetter 8 1-2 19, Roman Wagner 3 3-6 10, Evan Simon 0 0-0 0, Taylor Funk 8 3-7 22, - , - , - . Totals — 24 9-17 63
Cedar Crest (45)
Tate Seyfert 1 0-0 2, Blake Thomson 2 2-2 8, Dylan Miller 3 0-0 7, Logan Horn 2 2-2 6, Jabin Joseph 0 1-2 1, Louis Minaya 1 0-0 2, Jaydon Melendez 3 2-2 8, Adam Loehr 0 0-0 0, Brady Dunlop 0 0-0 0, Brandon Showers 0 0-0 0, Cole Laney 3 0-0 7, Greg Munnion 1 0-0 2, A.J. Apple 0-0-0-0-0 Kendell Shema 0-2-3-0-2 Adam Rakow 0-0-0-0-0. Totals — 16 9-11 45
Manheim Central 16 21 14 12 0 — 63
Cedar Crest 8 9 18 10 0 — 45
3-point goals — MC: Funk 3, Hostetter 2, Wagner. CC: Thomson 2, Miller, Laney