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Looking back at the week that was and looking ahead to what's on the horizon in Lebanon County girls basketball...
Cedar Crest chasing perfection
A second straight Section 1 title now secured after Friday night's clinching win over Penn Manor, unbeaten Cedar Crest (21-0) now turns its attention to notching a perfect regular season record, something it can attain with a regular season finale win at home against Elizabethtown on Tuesday night.
Based on how dominant it's been - only one win by less than double digits - it's almost a foregone conclusion that the Falcons will achieve perfection in front of the home folks Tuesday night. Of course, 22-0 doesn't assure Cedar Crest of continued success in the upcoming postseason. But, well, it's going to take a heck of a team and a heck of an effort to put a blemish on the Falcons' record.
Not many upcoming opponents can match Crest's devastating 1-2 punch of point guard Ariel Jones and center Alyssa Austin, and the rest of the starting five - Rachel Witherite, Raven Morgan and Gracen Donmoyer - has meshed seamlessly with Jones and Austin throughout the regular season. In short, this team is really good and knows it, but more importantly knows what it takes to stay that way. Good luck to the competition.
Vikings closing in on a repeat
Speaking of quality teams that know what it takes, Northern Lebanon is closing in on a second straight section title of its own, with the Section 3 crown there for the taking with a win at Elco on Tuesday night.
At 20-1, the Vikings are a bad fourth quarter in a December loss to Lebanon Catholic away from joining Cedar Crest in the undefeated department. Think about that. The county is that close to having two girls basketball teams go undefeated in the regular season.
If only they could meet on the court in what would be a dream matchup of powerhouse teams...Wait, hold that thought. It could happen.
L-L playoff picture clears
With regular season finales looming on Tuesday, we're almost set for the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs, which begin with a play-in game between the Section 2 and 3 third-place teams on Thursday night.
There are still some match-ups up in the air, but if the season ended today, this is what the bracket would look like:
Lebanon Catholic (3-3) vs. Donegal (2-3)
Lebanon Catholic or Donegal vs. Cedar Crest (1-1)
Northern Lebanon (3-1) vs. Hempfield (1-3)
Lampeter-Strasburg (2-1) vs. Lancaster Catholic (3-2)
McCaskey (1-2) vs. Cocalico (2-2)
If you look closely, yes, there is an excellent chance that Cedar Crest and Northern Lebanon will meet in the semifinals on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at a neutral site. Fingers crossed.
The league championship is set for Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at Manheim Township.
A memorable Senior Night for Palmyra's Schultz
Because of the swirling emotions involved, many players struggle to perform at a high level after being honored on Senior Night. It's just a lot to process and still stay focused on just the game.
But Palmyra's Hayley Schultz had no such problems on Tuesday in the Cougars' Senior Night rout of Hershey, pouring in 20 points and hitting all five of her 3-point attempts to lead her team to victory.
Safe to say, Schultz will always remember her Senior Night, and for all of the right reasons.