- Singers wanted: Lititz Community Chorus re-forming
- Landis Valley gunsmith builds long rifle for museum’s auction
- The bugs are back!
- MC seniors capture first place at Science Olympiad
- Woodridge Swim Club to host beer fest May 6
- Fast times at Warwick Driving Park
- Pretzel Fest returns May 6
- Easter Egg Hunt List
- King Lear: the method to the madness
- Irish dance showcase at Warwick High School
Bounce back game: Barons recover from L-L loss to advance in District playoffs
It had a very real chance of being the final game on their home floor for Manheim Central’s seniors.
If the 5th-seeded Barons and 4th-seeded Spring Grove both won their District Three 5A openers on Monday night, MC would be on the road.
Not that it was talked about at all, though.
“I don’t want these warm, weird feelings right now,” Baron coach Chris Sherwood said. “We’re past those. We’re now focusing on, get better, do your job, no more, ‘Boy, this is going to be a great moment thing.’ No. Let’s win and then we’ll be happy after we win.”
The Manheim Central boys (20-4) were, indeed, happy after playing 12th-seeded Waynesboro (14-9), as junior Connor Hostetter dropped in a career-high 26 points and Taylor Funk added 20, leading the Barons to a 71-51 victory in Manheim.
That punched their ticket to face University of Michigan recruit Eli Brooks and Spring Grove (18-6) — a 73-46 winner over New Oxford — tonight (Thursday) in the District quarter-finals on the Rockets’ floor at 7 p.m.
Senior forward Evan Hine had 17 points to lead the Indians, who closed to 10 points, 60-50, with 2:41 remaining in the fourth. But Central — who finished 16-of-21 at the foul line — converted 9-of-10 from the stripe down the stretch to seal it.
“I think guys built so much confidence over this game,” Funk said. “That’s what we needed.”
Their confidence was hurting last Monday, Feb. 13 after suffering a 40-35 setback to Hempfield in the L-L League playoff quarterfinals. It was their fourth loss in five games.
Practices during the rest of the week, as Hostetter described, were “intense.”
Sherwood talked with his players about the difference between adversity — like former Manheim Central teams faced with the tragic losses of teammates DeVaughn Lee and Logan Crills — and simply not playing well.
“You what’s not adversity? We didn’t make a couple of shots,” Sherwood said. “We didn’t take care of the ball in the fourth quarter and I made that real clear to our guys. Our week was intense. It felt like it used to feel in her for these practices.”
“We were all real upset about that (Hempfield) loss,” Funk said. “I don’t think we were ready for that game, honestly. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything. But I know we were ready for this one. Our faces coming in (to practice) after we lost were totally different … the way we practiced, everything. We were ready for this one and we’re going to be ready for every other game from here on out.”
It showed early as Central took a quick 8-0 lead — Funk and Hostetter hit putbacks, Kody Kegarise sank a pair of free throws and Funk dropped in a layup with 4:43 left in the first quarter.
Funk, who grabbed 16 rebounds, led an 16-8 MC advantage on the glass in the first half.
“Guys came up big tonight,” Sherwood said. “There were sequences in that game where we rebounded everything that came off the glass and we had three or four guys on the floor at a given time. That was, I think, a product of (the fact that) maybe we won this game Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Maybe those three days of practice won this game today for us. That’s my feeling.”
After Waynesboro started the game 0-of-7 from the field, Hine scored four points in a quarter-ending 6-2 run by the Indians, cutting their deficit to 14-9.
But Hostetter buried two of his four treys in a 13-4 burst by the Barons to begin the second. Funk also added a ‘three,’ while Kegarise and Jay Barreto each scored on a putback.
“I think (the second quarter) is when we got energized the most and that’s what led to our second half too as well,” Hostetter remarked. “Offensively we were just clicking on all levels. My teammates were finding me for the ‘three’ and it was going down today.”
“We made shots, for sure,” Funk said. “Connor had 26 … that’s awesome. I mean, that wins games when other people step up like that.”
Sherwood also credited the likes of Tyler Lyons, Kegarise and Jake Novak for sprinting the sidelines following offensive possessions to deny the Indians of three-point attempts from the corners.
Waynesboro finished just 3-of-22 from beyond the arc.
“They had specific jobs defensively, and boy, did they do fantastic jobs in their roles,” Sherwood said. “Those three guys, the way they executed — if I could show you the film of what we saw and what we wanted to stop for (Waynesboro) — those three guys would really stick out as guys who really stopped them from being able to do that.”
The Indians got to 27-15 on a floater by Kyle Hoffman — who finished with 14 points — with 4:22 left in the half. But Hostetter hit another ‘three’ and Funk added two inside buckets in an period-ending 9-0 run, making it 36-15 at the break.
Manheim Central shot a sizzling 9-of-14 from the floor in the second quarter.
“Connor was great,” Sherwood said. “He’s one of those guys that can score a bunch if he gets going early. And he got going early, I thought the confidence was there and it took off from there.”
In the third quarter, Waynesboro was just 5-of-10 from the foul line, but Hoffman scored seven of his 14 points to help the Indians make it 49-36 heading to the final stanza.
Mitch Neterer’s pull-up J with 7:32 to go shaved Waynesboro’s deficit to 49-38, and when Jay Alvarez made the second of two free throws with 2:41 to play, it was 60-50.
But Lyons’ transition layup started the Barons on a 11-0 late-game burst — Trevor Hosler, Funk, Hostetter and Tim Snyder went a combined 9-of-10 at the foul line — and that was the game.
“It was a fast game,” Hostetter said, “but our guys were determined and that just helped us keep the lead and not give up.”
It also helped the Manheim Central seniors pick up a W in the final game on their home floor.
“We definitely wanted to go out with a bang and we did,” Funk said. “It’s so fun to play here any game, but especially Districts, so you couldn’t ask for a better way to go out … We all love this gym. It just feels like home.”
About Bruce Morgan
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