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Youth Travel Basketball: 2023 Turkey Tip Off Results

This past weekend, the Youth Basketball season tipped off with Northern Lebanon hosting the annual Turkey Tip Off Tournament. The event featured eighteen 5th and 6th grade teams from across the region. On the day, there were a total of twenty-seven games played, with many providing a high level of excitement.  When all was said and done, it was Cedar Crest and Northern Lebanon leading the way, with each program taking home two titles.

One important note about this tournament was the long list of former stars who were using their knowledge to mentor the next generation. The list of recognizable names coaching in this tournament included any names that are recognizable to local basketball fans: Ashli Schwab Shay, Becky Hower Kleinfelter, Chris Blouch, Gary Bouchette, John Rizzo, Tim Speraw, Burt Werdt, and Mike Bechtold.

With the high level of play displayed during this tournament, the season looks like it will be very exciting as the future stars of tomorrow are currently under development.



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5th Grade Girls

The championship game witnessed the teams from Northern Lebanon and Cedar Crest squaring off for bragging rights. The contest was tight, coming down to key possessions late in the game when Northern Lebanon built a commanding six-point lead over Crest. The Falcons made it interesting, drilling a deep three to cut the lead in half.  There was not enough time left on the clock for Cedar Crest to do further damage, as Northern Lebanon held on for the victory. The development of Northern Lebanon’s girls has been aided by Scott Hopkins, who has spent the last three-plus years developing players at this level, an endeavor that is paying off. The very good Crest squad was coached by Chris Blouch, a former Falcon standout.



6th Grade Girls

Late into the evening, Cedar Crest defeated Northern Lebanon – Blue for the championship by a score of 28-14. Crest jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, completing the victory with a well-rounded effort.  Mya Kleinfelter and Lynken Bechtold led the scoring effort with 14 points and 10 points, respectively. Cedar Crest made the finals after securing a one-point victory in the first round of the tournament. 

In the 19-18 contest, Blue Mountain came back from an early deficit to take the lead with four minutes to go.  Addy Shay got fouled with eight seconds left and successfully converted on the two attempts from the line to take the lead for good. Outside of the clutch shooting, this victory was made sweeter, as it was against the same Blue Mountain squad that downed Cedar Crest last year at this tournament. 

In the second round, Crest defeated Northern Lebanon – White, 27-16, to earn their spot in the championship. While the Falcons led the entire way, the scrappy Vikings did not make it easy.  Shay led Cedar Crest with 13 points.

According to Coach Mike Bechtold, it was a total team effort that, relied on athleticism and teamwork to win the title.



5th Grade Boys

The Cedar Crest team went 3-0 to win the championship. Their wins came over Lower Dauphin (42-22), Northern Lebanon (43-24), and Lebanon (39-5). Torrence Hubbard was the leading scorer, accounting for 39 points on the day.  Hubbard’s top tally was a 17-point performance against Northern Lebanon.  Jaden Rosenthal led the Falcon scoring against Lebanon as he racked up 10 points. Drew Fulkerson and Rosenthal each totaled 22 points throughout the three games.




6th Grade Boys

The championship game between Northern Lebanon and Blue Mountain may have been the tightest game of the day. It was a back-and-forth affair, as Blue Mountain took the lead several times in the 2nd half.  That feisty squad from the coal region was coached by legendary high school coach Burt Werdt, whose grandson was on the team. However, the talent of Northern Lebanon was just too much for the visitors, as the Vikings found a way to win. Former Northern Lebanon varsity basketball coach Gary Bouchette was on the bench as his son Cooper Bouchette was the leading scorer for the Vikings. Markus Miller and Jacob Anspach were also key factors in the Vikings defending their home court.



A special thanks to the community volunteers who provided information necessary to provide this coverage of our local youth athletes.


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