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The latest matchup in the crosstown rivalry was over early, as the Falcons cruised to a 54-21 victory on Thursday night.


Well, at least everybody got to play.

Somewhat sadly, that may have been the most noteworthy aspect of a thoroughly non-competitive resumption of the usually high-intensity Cedar Crest-Lebanon girls basketball rivalry.

For a variety of reasons, Thursday's meeting at Lebanon High lacked the juice of many past meetings.

The fact that a packed house was not to be since the contest was played on a different night than Friday's boys' matchup for the first time in a while had something to do with it, as did the absence of Lebanon star Alexis Hill because of injury.

But the biggest reason for the lack of buzz was the now 14-1 Falcons, who took any potential drama out of the affair with a decisive 13-0 first quarter burst that set the tone for a lopsided 54-21 triumph, their seventh straight win.

About to begin a crucial stretch that will probably decide their Section One title fate, Cedar Crest took the lead for good on an Alyssa Austin 3-pointer 2:39 into the game and the Hill-less Cedars simply didn't have the needed firepower or intensity needed to muster an adequate response.

"It did seem different," Cedar Crest coach Jim Donmoyer of the feeling in the gym on Thursday night. "You were here. If you had that feeling, you were not alone. It didn't seem like a rivalry game."

"It was the first time in a bunch of years that we've had the girls game separate from the boys game, for understandable reasons," said Lebanon coach Ben Brewer. "But there wasn't that intensity, that 'every bucket, back and forth, crowd going nuts' feeling. Which is a shame, because for my girls' sake I want them to experience that."

Blame the Falcons, who've been on a mission since a Dec. 23 loss to Manheim Township, for that. Led by the devastating one-two punch of point guard Ariel Jones (14 points) and Austin (11 points, eight blocks), Cedar Crest continued a dominating stretch that has seen it win each of its last seven games by an average margin of 25 points.

"I think we've responded well," said Donmoyer, in understatement, of his squad's play since the loss to Township. "We won seven in a row and now we go play a good McCaskey team (on Tuesday), then come home to play Hempfield and Township. We're looking forward to it."

On the other side of the coin is Lebanon, now 4-12 overall and 3-8 in Section Two amid a now eight-game losing streak.

"(A) You never wanna lose. (B) You never wanna lose four in a row (to Cedar Crest), and (C) You never wanna lose by 30 to Cedar Crest," Brewer said, summing up the night. "We're developing our skills and fundamentals, and obviously they have some great players and they're well-coached. They're tough to stop. They've got the one-two combo that you dream of, which is a quick, shooting, basketball-smart point guard and a post player who knows how to finish. That's tough to compete against."

In short, Cedar Crest is so good right now and Lebanon struggling so much that what happened to the rivalry on Thursday was almost inevitable.

"For us, the next game is a big game no matter who it is," Donmoyer said. "It happened to be Lebanon. We honestly didn't look into it anymore than that. They're a crosstown rival and what have you, but it just didn't seem like years past."

Cedar Crest 54, Lebanon 21

Cedar Crest (54)

Ariel Jones 6 1-2 14, Jade Rolon 1 1-2 3, Skyanne Yancey 2 0-0 5, Caitlynn Albright 3 0-0 6, Alyssa Austin 4 2-4 11, Gracen Donmoyer 2 0-2 6, Rachel Witherite 0 0-0 0, Sage Bartal 1 0-0 2, Kelsey Guth 2 2-2 6, Raven Morgan 0 0-0 0, Alaze Merkey 0 1-2 1,  Totals — 21 7-14 54

Lebanon (21)

Maddy Hartman 0 1-4 1, Morgan Truax 2 0-0 4, Ary'Anna Ortolazo 0 3-4 3, Jasmine Turner 2 0-0 5, Alicia Houser 0 3-4 3, Annabelle Duefel 0 0-2 0, Shauna Hoyer 0 0-2 0, Carly Sanders 1 0-0 3, Lucy Yorty 0 0-0 0, Kristen Mann 0 1-2 1, Destiny Infante 0 1-3 1, Kate Roth 0 0-0 0, Azelyn Arenas 0 0-0 0. Totals —  5 9-17 21.

Cedar Crest _ 15 _ 15 _ 13 _ 11 _ — _ 54

Lebanon _ 5 _ 6 _ 3 _ 7 _ — _ 21

3-point goals — CC: Jones, Yancey, Austin, Donmoyer 2, L: Turner, Sanders .

JV score — Cedar Crest 32, Lebanon 21

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