Monday, January 22, 2018
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Barons Charge Past Mounts

Penn State football fans would have related to Manheim Central boys basketball coach Chris Sherwood on Tuesday night.

As the Nittany Lions were this season, Sherwood had felt his Barons have been very much a second half team thus far.

“So we said we want to come out in the first half like we come out in the second half,” Sherwood said.

The Barons did just that at Ephrata on Tuesday, when back-to-back Taylor Funk putbacks opened up an early six-point lead in the first quarter. It set the tone the rest of the way.

Manheim Central never trailed, going to halftime up five points and to the fourth quarter up eight before finishing with a 47-32 victory on the final night of Lancaster-Lebanon League regular-season play.

With the win and Lampeter-Strasburg also beating Cocalico, Manheim Central (11-3 league, 19-3 overall) and L-S (11-3, 15-7) finished in a tie for first place atop the Section Two standings. As a result, the Barons and Pioneers will meet at 7 Thursday night at Hempfield to play off for the Section Two championship.

Ephrata (10-4, 15-7) finishes in third place and will face Section Three third-place team Columbia (10-4, 16-5) in the L-L tournament play-in game, set for 6 p.m. Friday at Conestoga Valley.

Back on track: It was quite a win for Manheim Central, considering the Barons had lost back-to-back games entering Tuesday.

“Coach told us before the game ... think to yourself ... ‘You’re not in a drought. We are still fine,’” Funk said. “We made shots, they didn’t.”

Ephrata made just 12 of 35 shots from the floor (34.3 percent), including just 1 of 17 from beyond the arc.

“We couldn’t score,” second-year Ephrata coach Charlie Fisher said. “We can stick to our game plan all day and we wouldn’t have scored enough points.”

Manheim Central also improved to 2-0 over Ephrata, and held the Mounts to season-low totals in both meetings. The Barons did so Tuesday in part by throwing a mix of full-court press, man-to-man and zone defenses at Ephrata, with Mounts players oftentimes settling for outside shots.

“And why we settled is because they (Manheim Central) did a good job at clogging the middle,” Fisher said. “We had to attack it from the back and we didn’t attack it from the back. We settled for 3s.”

Manheim Central, meanwhile, had a handful of putbacks off offensive rebounds and must’ve had a half-dozen layups in transition, evidenced near the start of the fourth quarter when Ephrata cut the deficit to 35-28 before Connor Hostetter (12 points) hit a jumper following a Barons offensive board and Funk (22 points) followed up with back-to-back layups in transition to push the lead back to double-digits.