The 2021 Lancaster-Lebanon League boys basketball tournament gets underway Tuesday. The playoff field is nearly set. All that’s left is Monday's league finale between Cocalico (6-1 league, 12-3 overall) and Garden Spot (2-5, 5-10). If Cocalico wins, the Eagles would be the outright L-L Section Three champion and advance to Thursday’s L-L tournament semifinals. If Garden Spot wins, then Cocalico and Lampeter-Strasburg (6-2, 7-2) would finish as L-L Section Three co-champions, and compete in a section tie-breaker game Tuesday at Lancaster Mennonite.
Already on the books for Tuesday is an L-L quarterfinal (Section Five champ Columbia at Section Four champ Lancaster Catholic, 7 p.m.), the Section One tie-breaker game (Hempfield vs. McCaskey, at Manheim Township, 6 p.m.) and the Section Two tie-breaker game (Lebanon vs. Warwick, at Cedar Crest, 7 p.m.).
The winner of Columbia (8-0, 14-2) vs. Lancaster Catholic (8-0, 14-3) advances to Thursday’s L-L semis to face the winner of Hempfield (6-2, 9-3) vs. McCaskey (6-2, 7-7), with the Section One team serving as the host school in that matchup. In Thursday’s other semifinal, the Section Three champion will play at the winner of Lebanon (7-1, 13-3) vs. Warwick (7-1, 12-2), with the Section Two team serving as the host school.
The championship game is scheduled for Saturday at Manheim Township, with a 4 p.m .tip-off.
Here are some notes on Tuesday’s games, followed by a recap of last week’s action across the L-L…
Hempfield vs. McCaskey, Feb. 23, at Manheim Township, 6 p.m., L-L Section One tie-breaker game: McCaskey and Hempfield are Section One co-champs. For McCaskey, it’s the program’s 20th section title overall, first since 2016, and first under third-year coach Freddy Ramos. For Hempfield, it’s the program’s eighth section title overall, first since first since 2018, and second under veteran coach Danny Walck, who is in his 11th year at Hempfield and 26th year overall as a head coach. This is Walck’s fourth L-L section crown overall as a head coach. ...Hempfield swept the season series against McCaskey with a 47-36 win in the season-opener Jan. 8, and 62-59 win Feb. 9.
Lebanon vs. Warwick, Feb. 23, at Cedar Crest, 7 p.m., L-L Section Two tie-breaker game: The Cedars and Warriors are Section Two co-champs. For Lebanon, it’s the program’s 16th section crown overall, first since 2017, and fourth under 11th-year coach Tim Speraw. For Warwick and sixth-year coach Chris Christensen, it’s the program’s third-straight section crown and 12th overall. These teams split their head-to-head matchups this season: Lebanon won the first meeting, 58-43, and Warwick won the next meeting, 62-55.
Columbia at Lancaster Catholic, L-L quarterfinal, 7 p.m.: The last and only time these two teams squared off in a L-L playoff game was the 2001 semifinals, a 68-61 Crusaders’ win. ...this could be a District 3-3A championship game preview, as Lancaster Catholic and Columbia enter the week as the top-two teams in the District 3-3A power ratings. ...Lancaster Catholic has won five-straight section crowns, the 12th under 16th-year coach Joe Klazas, and 17 overall. ...Columbia has won back-to-back section crowns, a feat the program last accomplished 31 years ago. It’s the second section title under fifth-year coach Kerry Glover, and the program’s fifth overall. This will be the first meeting between these teams this season. They last squared off Dec. 11, 2019, a 61-54 Crusaders' regular season victory.
Last week’s high scorers: Warwick senior Kai Cipalla posted a career-high 34 points in Friday’s win at McCaskey. It was the new high-water mark for most points scored in a single game by an L-L hoopster so far this season. That was until Lancaster Mennonite sophomore Camden Hurst put up a career-high 35 points in Saturday’s victory over Susquehannock. Hurst was one of four L-L boys hoopsters to score 30 or more on Saturday, as Ephrata junior Mason Hagen (34 points), Pequea Valley senior Devon Colyer (33 points) and Lancaster Catholic senior Devin Atkinson (30 points) also tallied career-highs. Eleven L-L basketball players have now scored 30 or more in a game so far this season. Of those, Cipalla and Hurst are the only to have multiple 30-point games.
1K: Lancaster Mennonite senior Cole Fisher entered Saturday’s matchup sitting five points shy of 1,000 for his career. He scored 28 points in the 82-72 win over Susquehannock. He got his 1,000th career point on a buzzer-beater tip-in at the end of the first quarter, becoming the fourth player to score his 1,000th point while in a Lancaster Mennonite uniform.
Moving up: Elco senior Braden Bohannon’s career points total is now at 1,391, moving up to second-most in program history. ...Octorara senior Naji Hamilton’s career points total is now at 1,105, moving up to fifth-most in program history.
Elizabethtown 49, Penn Manor 47, Feb. 19, 2021: A free-throw from Penn Manor senior forward Brayde Erb tied it at 47-47 with 36.4 seconds left. Elizabethtown called a timeout with 12.7 seconds left so Bears’ first-year coach Lee Eckert could draw up a play. Out of the timeout and ensuing sideline inbounds, Erb blocked an E-town runner in the lane that was recovered by Bears’ junior Patrick Gilhool with his back to the basket just inside the 3-point line. Gilhool dribbled once and hit a turnaround, fadeaway jumper with a hand in his face that sank through the net as time expired.
Boys Hoops: Here's video of Patrick Gilhool's game-winning jumper at the buzzer for Elizabethtown in Friday's 49-47 victory at Penn Manor, courtesy @PMSportsMed bookface livestream— John Walk (@JWalkLNP) February 20, 2021
Cc @LancasterSports @EtownBearsHoops @lee_eckert43 @p_gilhool pic.twitter.com/x9tH6HSyCN
Octorara 63, Donegal 61, Feb. 17, 2021: Octorara sophomore guard Elijah Hamilton knocked down a pair of free-throws with 25.9 seconds left to put the host Braves up 63-56. Those proved to be the game-winner, as Donegal senior Luke Yunginger hit a 3-pointer with 17.6 seconds left and teammate Khalil Masden nailed a jumper as time expired. Hamilton and big brother Naji Hamilton each finished with 13 points.
Lampeter-Strasburg 54, Garden Spot 53, Feb. 20, 2021: L-S freshman point guard Ty Burton dished to senior Sean McTaggart under the basket for the layup to put the Pioneers up 54-47 with 1:43 left. It proved to be the game-winning bucket, as the host Spartans got a three-point play on a layup and free-throw followed by a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 54-53 with 30 seconds remaining. After an L-S turnover, Garden Spot had possession with 21 seconds to go with a chance to go in front. The Spartans called a timeout with four seconds left to draw up a play, but a deep-range 3-pointer hit iron and missed. It was the Spartans’ fourth loss by a margin of four points or less to that point in the season.
Hanover 53, Pequea Valley 52, Feb. 20, 2021: Hanover went in front 53-52 on a free-throw with 52.2 seconds left. The visiting Braves had a wide-open corner 3-pointer come up short, but Pequea Valley got the offensive rebound. Pequea Valley senior Devon Colyer took an inlet pass in the post but was whistled for an offensive foul before he was even able to put up a shot attempt. After a missed Hanover free-throw, Pequea Valley had one more chance at a potential game-winning shot, but a 3-point attempt rimmed out.
Nuggets: Lancaster Mennonite sophomore guard Camden Hurst has scored 20 or more points in his last six games: 24, 33, 28, 25, 20, 35. ...Warwick made a season-high 12 3-pointers in Friday’s win. The Warriors have made 60 treys and are shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc in its last seven games, compared to 26 3-pointers and 22-percent shooting from deep in their first seven games. ...Speaking of Warwick, over the last four games, Cipalla averaged 27.5 points and junior guard Tate Landis averaged 18.8 points. By the way, their fathers (Dave Cipalla and Jeff Landis) were York College teammates in the 1990s and are still best friends. Jeff Landis, of course, was a Warwick standout hoopster in the late 1980s. Kai Cipalla and Tate Landis are now best friends as well, in addition to being arguably the top duo in the league as of late. ...Manheim Township had a 27-point fourth quarter en route to Friday’s 73-66 win over Conestoga Valley. According to Blue Streaks’ coach Matt Johns, his squad averaged 1.67 points per possession in the fourth quarter, which equates to 162 points in a full NBA game.
Boys Hoops: Last 4 games for...— John Walk (@JWalkLNP) February 20, 2021
Warwick senior Kai Cipalla / junior Tate Landis
Feb. 11: 26 pts / 12 pts
Feb. 13: 22 pts / 27 pts
Feb. 17: 28 pts / 18 pts
Feb. 19: 34 pts / 18 pts
For the 4-game stretch, that's an average of 27.5 ppg for Cipalla, 18.8 ppg for Landis
Coaching numbers: Octorara 20th-year coach Gene Lambert picked up career win No. 260 with Wednesday’s win over Donegal. ...Lancaster Catholic 16th-year coach Joe Klazas picked up career win No. 320 with last Monday’s win over York Catholic. He’s now at 321 career victories. ...Lebanon 11th-year coach Tim Speraw picked up career win No. 150 with last Wednesday’s win over rival Cedar Crest. He’s now at 151 career victories. ...L-S fifth-year coach Ed Berryman picked up career win No. 90 with Saturday’s victory at Garden Spot. ...Hempfield veteran skipper Danny Walck is two wins shy of career victory No. 340. ...Manheim Township sixth-year coach Matt Johns will go for win No. 120 in Monday’s game at Ephrata.
Win streak: Columbia's 13-game win streak came to an end Saturday with a 52-48 loss to Lebanon. As a result, Manheim Township now owns the league's longest current win streak, having won its last seven games.
What we covered:
Mount Calvary Christian, based in Elizabethtown, is the defending District 3-1A champion, currently undefeated and atop the District 3-1A power ratings. The Chargers topped West Shore Christian 65-35 on Tuesday.
McCaskey's 56-42 win at Cedar Crest on Tuesday.
Lancaster Country Day's 51-26 win over Lancaster County Christian on Wednesday, which should help improve the Cougars' District 3-1A power ratings. By the way, LCD's second-leading scorer Lance Lennon went down in the second quarter after appearing to have rolled his left ankle. He did not play Saturday, but the Cougars still managed to keep it a tight game in a 66-60 loss at Millersburg (12-3), who currently sits at No. 2 in the District 3-2A power ratings.
Warwick's 66-45 romp at Hempfield on Wednesday.
Hempfield's bounce-back 65-26 win at Cedar Crest on Friday, which locked up a share of the L-L Section One crown for the Black Knights.
Cocalico's 49-43 win at Lampeter-Strasburg on Friday, which locked down a at least a share of the L-L Section Three crown for the Eagles.
Dunks: Cipalla padding his application to NASA…
Shout out: To Warwick senior Cam Hess. On the defensive end, he has a knack for drawing charges. Those don’t show up in the stats, but they do on his face apparently.
To the children of former Hempfield/Boston University hoops standout and current Manheim Township assistant Ryan Butt...
Check it out: Cocalico girls’ coach Andrew Garrett and Warwick boys’ coach Chris Christensen will be the guests on this week’s L-L Basketball Roundtable, sponsored by Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. The show will be broadcast on the LNP + LancasterOnline Facebook page on Monday night.
In case you missed it...
The PIAA Board of Directors adopted a mask-wearing policy that will require athletes to wear masks during state competition unless they have a specific medical exemption.
The Lancaster Bible College men's basketball team, featuring seven L-L alums, is finding a way to play this season, writes colleague Mike Gross.