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Boys Basketball

Cedars Bring Out the Best in Palmyra

BY JEFF FALK

Editor

SOUTH LEBANON – Defense or offense. Inside or out. Your game or theirs.

The Palmyra boys’ basketball team can beat you in a lot of different ways. And the Cougars don’t even necessarily have to be at their best to make it happen.

On Wednesday night at ‘The Cage’, Palmyra put together one of its most complete games of the season to down Lebanon 47-36 and capture the championship of the Cedar Crest Holiday Tournament. Taking advantage of some mismatches on both ends of the floor, the Cougars gained control of the outcome late in the opening quarter and never permitted Lebanon to establish any type of flow or rhythm.

In addition to improving to 7-1 on the year, Palmyra laid claim to the unofficial title of Lebanon County’s best basketball team. The loss dropped the Cedars to 6-2 overall.

Cougar junior forward Eli Becker was named the event’s most valuable player, and he was joined on the all-tournament team by teammate Christopher Edwards, as well as Lebanon’s Marquis Ferreira and Kevin Smith.

“It was one of our best games for sure,” said Palmyra head coach Pete Conrad. “But I don’t want to say we’re satisfied. I want to say we’re pleased. We’re pleased with the progress.

“On paper, we have some size on them (the Cedars),” Conrad added. “But (Kevin) Smith is a really good player for them. He plays much bigger than 6-0. The size mismatches were there, we were aware of them and we tried to take advantage of them. I thought we defended the paint well.”

Lebanon tallied the first six points of the contest. But after that, it was all Palmyra.

Over the next seven minutes, the Cougars outscored the Cedars 19-0. In addition to playing stingy defense, Palmyra shared the ball well and received points from Becker, Edwards, freshman Alex Dorta and point guard Quinton Townsend.

“When you get down 6-0, you start thinking maybe the game is a little fast for us,” said Conrad. “But our guys settled in. Sometimes those early runs can work counter to the way you think they will.”

“Palmyra is a very good team,” said Lebanon head coach Tim Speraw. “They play hard. I thought we did a good job with Edwards and Becker, and other guys stepped up and really carried them. But I’m glad my kids played hard.”

With a 7-1 run early in the second stanza, Lebanon momentarily righted its ship. Smith tallied five of those points and Nate Diaz sank a couple of free throws, as the Cedars pulled to within 20-13 of the Cougars.

But Palmyra notched the final eight points of the first half – Becker accounted for three of those, Dorta nailed a three-pointer and Edwards converted a couple of charity tosses – and carried a 28-13 cushion to the break.

“I think there’s a healthy, respectful rivalry with Lebanon,” said Conrad. “High school kids are high school kids. My guys think Lebanon guys are tough and that they compete. They have a lot of respect for Lebanon and I have a lot of respect for Tim. I think Lebanon has a chance to be a special team.”

Townsend and Dorta each recorded 14 points to pace Palmyra’s scoring. Adrian Cruz posted 12 points for the Cedars, and Smith contributed ten.

Palmyra converted 15 of its 19 foul shots and outscored the Cedars 20-14 on two-point field goals.

“What he does are some of the things that good point guards do,” said Conrad of Townsend. “You can get him the ball and you’re going to get it back. If someone’s shaky with the ball – and Lebanon in no way is – we’re going to get turnovers. One of the real positives for us is that we’re finding different ways to win games. One of the big reasons is that we have good players. That’s the mark of a good team.

“I thought he (Dorta) was in attack mode,” added Conrad. “I thought he did a really good job of attacking in a good way. I thought our guard play overall was good.”

Townsend and then Becker scored on inside moves to open the second half, as the Cougars stretched their advantage to 32-13. Later in the third quarter, Townsend’s three-pointer made it a 37-19 game.

“I think they can do both (play fast or slow),” said Conrad of the Cedars. “They’re really good at getting leads and then playing at the tempo that they want you to. They have an ability to play half court, slow it down and make you make ‘stops’.”

 

To purchase images in this article please email jeff@lebcosports.com.

2021-22 Lebanon Boys’ Basketball Schedule

2021-12-10 H vs Spring Grove Area(3) W 57-32
2021-12-11 H vs Eastern Lebanon County(3) W 34-29
2021-12-14 A vs Governor Mifflin(3) W 60-45
2021-12-16 A vs Ephrata(3) W 63-34
2021-12-18 H vs Hershey(3) L 59-46
2021-12-21 H vs Elizabethtown(3) W 47-42
2021-12-28 A vs Cedar crest(3) W 51-46OT
2021-12-29 A vs Cedar Crest Tournament() L 36-47
2022-01-04 H vs Warwick(3) 0-0
2022-01-07 A vs Conestoga Valley(3) 0-0
2022-01-09 A vs Rhoads Classic() 0-0
2022-01-11 H vs J P McCaskey(3) 0-0
2022-01-15 A vs Cedar Crest(3) 0-0
2022-01-18 H vs Hempfield (3)(3) 0-0
2022-01-21 A vs Penn Manor(3) 0-0
2022-01-24 A vs Garden Spot(3) 0-0
2022-01-25 H vs Ephrata(3) 0-0
2022-01-28 H vs Manheim Township(3) 0-0
2022-02-01 A vs Elizabethtown(3) 0-0
2022-02-04 A vs Warwick(3) 0-0
2022-02-07 H vs Lower Dauphin(3) 0-0
2022-02-08 H vs Conestoga Valley(3) 0-0

 

2021-22 Palmyra Boys’ Basketball Schedule

2021-12-10 A vs Penn Manor(3) W 75-42
2021-12-11 A vs Donegal(3) W 51-47
2021-12-14 A vs Lower Dauphin(3) W 52-44
2021-12-17 A vs Red Land(3) W 36-32
2021-12-20 A vs Annville-Cleona(3) W 53-33
2021-12-22 H vs Hershey(3) L 30-44
2021-12-28 A vs Exeter Township(3) W 51-48
2021-12-29 A vs Lebanon(3) W 47-36
2022-01-04 H vs Mechanicsburg(3) 0-0
2022-01-07 A vs Mifflin County(6) 0-0
2022-01-09 A vs Lebanon(3) 0-0
2022-01-11 H vs Cedar Cliff(3) 0-0
2022-01-14 H vs Lower Dauphin(3) 0-0
2022-01-17 H vs Milton Hershey(3) 0-0
2022-01-19 H vs Red Land(3) 0-0
2022-01-22 H vs Elizabethtown(3) 0-0
2022-01-25 A vs Hershey(3) 0-0
2022-01-28 A vs Mechanicsburg(3) 0-0
2022-02-01 H vs Mifflin County(6) 0-0
2022-02-04 A vs Cedar Cliff(3) 0-0
2022-02-05 A vs Conrad Weiser(3) 0-0
2022-02-11 A vs Milton Hershey(3) 0-0

 

 

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