Donegal displays power
BY KEVIN FREEMAN, Sports Writer
To term Evan Zimmerman's lay-up with 7:09 to play in the fourth quarter as "lights out," you would be speaking literally, not figuratively.
Just as the Lebanon forward's shot dropped through the basket, the gym at Donegal High School was plunged into darkness. The lights were restored quickly.
The Indians, on the other hand, displayed no such power shortage and did what they have done all season, that is, win a basketball game.
Matt Foltz, the Indians' 6-foot-6 senior forward, scored a game-high 22 points, double his season average, to help Donegal to a 60-47 victory over visiting Lebanon on Monday night in a Lancaster-Lebanon Boys' Basketball League quarterfinal playoff game.
The Indians, who remain undefeated at 23-0 this season, now face McCaskey in a much-anticipated semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Conestoga Valley High School.
Donegal led from wire to wire and kept the Cedars at arm's length, but Lebanon was never down far enough that a quick spurt would have made the game close.
In fact, when Cedars point guard Drey Murray hit a trey with 1:47 to play in the fourth quarter, Lebanon had chopped Donegal's lead to five at 52-47. But the Indians played keepaway for half a minute before Foltz got in position to score from the post with 1:21 to go.
A turnover by the Cedars and a press-breaking layup by Donegal's Tommy Hatt sealed the win.
"We knew they (Lebanon) would play us tough and they are a physical team,'' Donegal coach Ryan Butt said. "Our guys fought every second they were out there.''
The Indians may not have made as many three-pointers as they are used to making, but Foltz's increased output and tight teamwide defense helped the Indians move on with a lot of treys.
"We got some good looks (from three-point range) but they just weren't falling,'' Butt said.
Lebanon's threes, however, were falling, especially in the first half and those long-range buckets prevented Donegal from running away early. The Indians led 27-21 at halftime and pushed that lead to 43-33 at the end of three quarters.
Lebanon (13-10), which did not make the District Three Class AAAA field, leaned on forward Josh Spaulding a bit more in the second half as he went to the bucket and drew fouls. He finished with a team-high 14 points.
"Donegal is just solid across the board,'' Lebanon coach Tim Speraw said. "They don't have one guy who is going to get 30 or two guys with 20 each. Overall, they have a lot of balanced skill and they are big. They are tough to defend.''
Foltz said he'd heard talk that Lebanon could be a trap game for the Indians, that it would be difficult not to look ahead to playing McCaskey.
"All week we said, 'Don't look ahead,''' Foltz said. "When you get into the playoffs, every team is ready to play and every team is good. We had to be ready.''
Donegal was ready at the start and throughout the game. The Indians played like a team that literally isn't ready to turn out the lights.