Cedar Crest grinds down Lebanon, 44-32
Evan Horn scored a game-high 24 points, including 18 after halftime, to lead the Falcons to their sixth straight win in the rivalry matchup
The streetfight had at last come to a standstill and suddenly there was Cedar Crest's Iziah Trimble, stealing a rare quiet moment with possession in front of the Lebanon bench. Wasting no time late in the second quarter, Trimble fired, knocking down the first of his three 3-pointers Friday.
Not 30 seconds later, returned to the exact same spot, Trimble struck again to hand the Falcons a four-point edge heading into halftime.
After the break, play then resumed, bringing with it every bit of the frenetic pace, physical drives and relentless defensive pressure that had led to Trimble's buckets. But Cedar Crest, while thrown back into the fray, had already seized its moment and, in turn, control of the game.
Before a packed house at Lebanon High, the Falcons (14-2, 9-1 Lancaster-Lebanon) won their sixth straight in the storied rivalry, 44-32, and led from the late second quarter onward. Cedar Crest senior Evan Horn deposited a game-high 24 points, leading all scorers by at least a dozen. Only four Cedars knocked down a field goal, including Dante Vargas, Shaq Ortiz and Allan Escoto, who combined for 23 points.
Lebanon (11-5, 8-3) has now dropped two in a row and four of its last six.
"We were just bad offensively," Cedars coach Tim Speraw said. "Thought there was a heck of a lot of contact, but even if they're calling the fouls, we're still not making foul shots. So it's kind of a catch-22."
Lebanon finished 9-16 at the free throw line, while the Falcons registered at a paltry 9-24. While his team failed to capitalize on their freebies, Cedar Crest coach Tom Smith believed it was creating other easy chances that led to the victory.
For prior to Trimble's go-ahead treys, Horn and Falcons guard Blake Thomson each hit a layup to chop into a 15-9 Cedars lead, the largest advantage the home team saw all night.
"The thing that keeps us going is our defense," Smith said. "We were able to get out and play some tempo and get some easy buckets. The second half it was kind of the same. We were able to pull them out of the zone, and that was it"
That zone, a sagging 2-3, forced Cedar Crest to rotate through a bevy of offensive sets early on, before it settled on the one attack it most often prefers: the fast break.
Following a trade of turnovers that opened the second half, Horn scraped through the paint for consecutive baskets, the latter an and-1 in transition. Ortiz next connected on a pair of free throws to end a near five-minute scoreless stretch for Lebanon dating back to the first half. Those foul shots, however, finished as two of the Cedars' five total points in the third quarter, after which they trailed 29-20.
Climbing their way back through the Falcons' foul trouble, Lebanon eventually drew within five. Yet Horn and Thomson once again stepped in, this time from the free throw line, to stem the Cedars' comeback at 5:05 to go. And when the senior captain quickly coupled another pair of the layups, the last born from his own steal, Cedar Crest's new 10-point lead may as well have been 100.
"Once we got it going there," Horn said of his late steal-and-score, "we just never looked back."
For Horn and Smith, the greatest joy from Friday's win came not from topping a rival or extending their win steak to 10, but rather continuing to see their young team grow.
"The kids are starting to getting it now, and especially a game like this, it's going to help us down in the long run," Horn said.
"Our young kids are growing up," Smith said. 'Early in the season, they were just getting out and playing and doing their thing. Now they're understanding assignments, understanding game plans and all that stuff. And it's made a huge difference for us down the stretch here."
Having just held Lebanon, a team that entered averaging 61 points per game, to a season-low 32, it'd certainly be hard to disagree.
Cedar Crest 44, Lebanon 32
Cedar Crest (44)
Kobe Bolanos 0 0-2 0, Blake Thomson 1 1-2 3, Luis Minaya 1 0-0 2, Iziah Trimble 4 1-4 12, Tate Seyfert 0 3-4 3, Evan Horn 10 4-12 24. Totals — 16 9-24 44.
Shaq Ortiz 3 2-5 8, Allan Escoto 3 0-1 6, Logan Blouch 1 0-0 2, Dante Vargas 4 0-0 9, Matty Lopez 0 2-2 2, Felix Kortright 0 5-8 5. Totals — 11 9-16 32.
CC_ 7_ 12_ 10_ 15 _ — _ 44
L_ 6_ 9 _ 5_ 12 — _ 32
3-point goals — CC 3 (Trimble 3), L 1 (Vargas).