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Cedar Crest's season ends in 1st round of districts again

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The focus has obviously been day-to-day and game-to-game for this 2016-17 season of the Cedar Crest boys basketball team.

But after a team suffers a first-round district playoff exit for the first time in four years, like it did last season, it’s going to eat away at everyone who was a part of that team until they change their fortune.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, an inability to take care of the basketball led to history repeating itself, as Cedar Crest again suffered an early playoff exit, this time at the hands of visiting Central York, 64-48, in the District 3 Class 6A first round Tuesday at the Falcon Cage.

The Panthers will travel to No. 1 seed Reading for Friday’s quarterfinals. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. Central York also clinched a PIAA Tournament berth.

With the season for Cedar Crest (15-8) ending earlier than it would like for the second straight season, it’s obviously going to take time for the Falcons to heal, as this time of the year will continue to stare at coach Tom Smith’s team right in the face.

“I told them to let it drive them,” Smith said. “Be humble and be hungry. None of us like it and it was frustrating. So hopefully they let it drive them this offseason.”

For Cole Laney and some of his teammates who experienced last year’s bitter ending, the motivation only builds higher, especially in trying to prevent another early bitter ending.

Laney said, “It was definitely extra motivation, especially for me, Blake (Thomson) and Dylan (Miller), because we were there and we actually felt the loss. But I think now that other guys that were more incorporated in this program this year … now that they have that feeling … going into next year, I hope they have more motivation.”

Laney certainly did his part, feeling he needed to be the one to put the team on his back, leading to a game-high 22 point night.

“I definitely felt that,” Laney said. “But I know throughout the season, I could’ve been more consistent, so I was kind of disappointed, and I knew I needed to show up to make sure everything counted.”

But a problematic second quarter began dooming the Falcons. They committed nine turnovers, including seven on their last nine possessions, leading to 12 Panthers points.

Overall, Cedar Crest turned the ball over 22 times, leading to a total of 25 Central York points.

Smith said, “If you turn it over 22 times against a good team like that, you don’t have a chance. I didn’t realize we had that many turnovers, but it’s something for us to work on in the offseason. That many turnovers is unacceptable.”

It also didn’t help the Falcons' cause seeing three different Panthers catch fire at the right time. Landyn Ray, who led Central York with 19 points, scored his team’s first seven points to start the fourth.

Ray had a jumper and one and a 3 on back-to-back possessions to help the Panthers pull away, leading 50-37 with 6:15 left.

Niko Soberstonvich and Garrett Markey were the other Central York players in double figures with 11 and 14 points, respectively.

But the bottom line was Cedar Crest giving away the basketball way too many times, in a game in which any team can least afford to do so.

And that’s what Smith wants the focus to be this offseason.

“I think they need to understand the importance of every possession,” Smith said. “When you turn it over 22 times, I don’t think they understand that, and that’s going to be something we work on from our first workout all the way through next season. Not just the postseason, but every game, you have to have a sense of urgency on both ends of the floor, having that attention to detail. Again, after turning it over that many times, I don’t think we had it.”