Boys' Basketball: Bears battle Penn Manor to the end - LancasterOnline: Sports

Boys' Basketball: Bears battle Penn Manor to the end

Fourth-quarter rally leads E-town to OT win

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Posted: Friday, December 12, 2008 2:04 am | Updated: 8:52 pm, Wed Sep 11, 2013.

Kevin Dolan wasn't the least bit ashamed to admit it.

His team stole this one.

"Absolutely," Elizabethtown's boys' basketball coach said. "That was all about heart. These guys just willed themselves to win."

E-town trailed by 11 points in the second half and was down seven with 2:15 remaining in regulation in its Lancaster-Lebanon League opener against Penn Manor.

Improbably, the Bears rallied for a 69-65 overtime win in Millersville Thursday night.

How'd they pull it off?

It started with a little help from the opposition.

Penn Manor center Cody Booth was called for a technical after disagreeing with a foul call with 2:15 left. The Comets led 53-46 at the time, but the technical allowed E-town to score five points in one possession spanning just 23 seconds.

"We just lost our composure," Penn Manor coach Charlie Detz said. "By reacting to the official's call, that put us in a hole that we didn't need to be in. That's what started it and it was a snowball effect after that."

There were two technicals in the fourth quarter of this hotly-contested game. E-town's Brad Garber was also whistled for one with 3:01 remaining.

Even after Penn Manor's momentary loss of focus, it had plenty of chances to escape with a win. The Comets were ahead 60-56 with 30 seconds left.

E-town guard Jeremi Jones scored on a layup to cut the deficit to two. Penn Manor turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play before Jones hit two free throws to tie the score at 60.

Penn Manor's Sam Cornell had a great look at a potential game-winning shot with three seconds left, but his runner bounced off the backboard and rim to force overtime.

E-town outscored the Comets 9-5 in the extra session.

The Bears, 3-0 and considered the favorite to capture the Section Two title, performed like a team that has grown accustomed to winning. They reached the District 3 Class AAAA semifinals and qualified for the state tournament last year.

Now they expect success.

"I know everybody is going to step up and make a big shot when we need one," said guard Quinn Cozzens, who finished with 16 points, including four key free throws in OT.

"Our team is pretty clutch like that. We have a lot of experience, so I knew we could win going down the stretch. We've won some big games in the last year. We knew we could do it again."

Jones led E-town with 17 points. Kyle McNeil contributed 16 points and seven rebounds.

Penn Manor, by contrast, looked like a team that's still learning. The Comets, a darkhorse in Section One, had a losing record last season and are adjusting to a new coach.

"It's a hard loss," Detz, whose team is 3-1, said. "Our guys wanted it very much. But it doesn't matter how much you want it if you don't take care of it. We lost our composure."

Forrest Lovett, a 6-5 junior, scored 23 points to lead Penn Manor, which has the most imposing frontcourt in the league. The Comets have four players 6-5 or taller.

This was a tough matchup for E-town, which doesn't have a strong inside presence. The Bears were repeatedly turned aside when they tried to score in the paint.

Still, they somehow found a way to prevail, even though they were behind and were playing on the road. They hit six 3-pointers and were 23-for-29 from the foul line.

E-town is seeking its first section title since 1976-77 and it showed it could beat one of the big boys.

That's significant.

"We went 1-5 against Section One last year," Dolan said. "So, yeah, this is real big."

E-mail: jguarente@lnpnews.com

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