Sunday, February 18, 2018
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Barons edge Mounts

Down three points with 30 seconds left at rival Manheim Central, Ephrata boys basketball coach Charlie Fisher called a timeout to set up a potential game-tying play.

A former Manheim Central assistant under Barons’ varsity coach Chris Sherwood, Fisher drew up something he had learned from Sherwood seasons ago.

“It’s a four-out,” Fisher said. “We knew they were going to doubleteam (at half-court). So we had something in.”

Whatever the play was we’ll never know, because just after Ephrata brought the ball up over half-court, a Mounts pass was intercepted by Taylor Funk, the same player Fisher had coached years before in middle school.

Funk went the other way and threw home a thunderous dunk, pretty much sealing Manheim Central’s eventual 3834 Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two victory.

With the hard-fought win, the Barons (101 overall, 6-1 league) forced a two-way tie with Ephrata (11-3, 6-1) atop the Section Two standings at the midpoint of the league calendar.

“I saw my teammates trapping and I saw the guy with the ball,” Funk said when asked about his late-game steal and dunk. “He didn’t see me there. I read his eyes. It couldn’t have worked out better.”

The dunk marked two of Funk’s seven fourthquarter points, as the 6-foot-9 St. Joe’s commit finished with a gamehigh 17 points and helped dig his team out of an early 19-10 deficit in the second quarter.

The visiting Mounts nearly pushed their advantage to doubledigits at that point but instead saw a pass to the low post roll out of bounds thanks to interference from Funk.

“A play like that is huge,” Fisher said. “Even though it’s only 12 minutes into the game I said to my guys. ... I think I might have called a timeout I said, ‘Guys, that’s a play we need to learn from. You had the ball up 9 with 4:33 to go in the second quarter. We had the momentum.’ ”

Manheim Central responded by going on a 16-2 run from the 5:10 mark of the second quarter to the 1:38 mark of the third quarter to go up 26-21.

“I told our guys they (Ephrata) made a bunch of shots there early, this isn’t their M- O,” Sherwood said. “We knew that it was a grind-out game. They’re gonna go on runs, but there was never a panic button there. We thought that was abnormal for them.”

Manheim Central was able to keep the Ephrata offense quiet for such a long stretch in part thanks to a zone trap that forced the Mounts into five second-quarter turnovers.

“If you sit there and let them (Ephrata) run their offense they’ll run it all night,” Sherwood said. “We wanted to put them in some uncomfortable situations.”

The Barons grew their largest lead to 32-24 on a Funk layup with 6:30 to go before the Mounts began chipping away. A 3-pointer from Dilyn Becker (12 points) cut Ephrata’s deficit to 3431 before Funk’s steal and dunk. Zach McGillan quickly answered with a 3-pointer to trim Ephrata’s deficit to 3634 with 15.3 seconds left, but a pair of clutch freethrows on the other end from Manheim Central junior Connor Hostetter iced it.