CLOSE's Matt Catrillo and Pat Huggins preview the upcoming Lancaster-Lebanon League Tournament and District 3 Tournament for boys and girls basketball. Matt Catrillo/


LEBANON — The Cedar Crest girls basketball team opened with an 11-0 run, and in the second half it continued just the way they started.

With an effort exemplary of the entire season in which they started hot and haven’t cooled since, the Falcons crushed visiting Elizabethtown 53-27 Tuesday night on Senior Night to finish the regular season a perfect 22-0.

And, as has been the case all season long, Tuesday was a team effort all the way around, with a number of players contributing to the Falcons’ game-opening spree and beyond.

“I told them, ‘Best team I ever coached’ because they actually function like a team,” Falcons coach Jim Donmoyer said. “They pass the ball, they pull for each other; there’s no jealousy going on. All of them are role models to the younger kids. They never cease to amaze me with their effort in what they do.”

Case in point was the third member of the Falcons’ senior trio, Kelsey Guth, who was making just her second career start, but ended up contributing four rebounds in the first quarter, not to mention the final bucket of the game-opening run.

“I thought it was an honor to have her start,” Donmoyer stated. “She plays good defense, rebounds the ball. Good kid on and off the court. Not a reward; she deserved it. She’s one of my top seven kids and whether she’s coming off the bench or starting the game, she always plays hard.”

“Honestly, it was emotional,” Guth said of her start alongside fellow seniors Alyssa Austin and Ariel Jones. “Just knowing everybody’s thoughts and how far we came … it’s definitely been my best year. We all just work together and it’s awesome.”

While Tuesday’s celebration began with senior night festivities, as the game progressed the contributions from the juniors and sophomores helped Cedar Crest (14-0 Section One) pull away.

One might say the junior trio of Rachel Witherite (game-high 13 points, three treys), Jade Rolon (five points, including 3-for-3 from the free-throw line after having been fouled on a three-ball in the second quarter), and Gracen Donmoyer (two 3-pointers bookending the Falcons’ second-half scoring) mimics the senior trio.

“We’ve got two kids going Division II,” Donmoyer began. “Alyssa is going to Millersville and Ariel is going to Shippensburg. Everybody looks at our team and says those are our two players. But Witherite can shoot the lights out, Gracen can shoot the ball, Jade is a hustler, (and) Kelsey is a banger.”

Throw in sophomore Raven Morgan’s six points and six rebounds, and one can see why the Falcons have been so difficult to slow down this season — and will prove to be a tough matchup for anyone come playoff time.

“Now we go to leagues, districts, and hopefully states,” Donmoyer said. “There’s a couple more chapters to this whole story.”

With more contributors than other teams can handle.

POST-IT NOTE: The Falcons honored Elizabethtown seniors Brianna Polites and Kirsten Mumma before the game ... Polites scored 12 points and tallied a game-high 13 rebounds for the Bears, whose season ends with an 8-14 record (3-11 Section One).

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