Fourth-quarter rally lifts the Central boys
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com
, Staff Writer
The goal for the Manheim Central boys on Monday night was to get to the fourth quarter against perennial playoff contender Lancaster Catholic and give themselves a chance to win.
There was a catch, however.
The Barons had to do that without one of their top players in junior Matt Walsh, who was injured against Columbia last Friday.
That further depleted a lineup which has been without junior Tony Staffieri, who was injured during the Barons’ football season.
"We had our two guys with varsity experience from last year sitting on the bench with us. What they do is they make our bench a lot better looking because they’re two good-looking guys," Barons’ skipper Chris Sherwood joked. "With me and coach Quinn on the bench, they make us better looking. But we’d rather them be playing."
Fortunately for Manheim Central, they stepped up with a team effort, getting 15 and 12 points from Dan Wiederrecht and Taylor Funk, respectively, and knocking off the Crusaders 45-41 in a Section Three-Four crossover in Manheim.
The Barons trailed 35-27 going into the final stanza, but then outscored Lancaster Catholic 18-6 down the stretch to improve their record to 4-2 overall (1-1 league).
"It was a team win tonight," Sherwood said. "Dan Wiederrecht, nothing more needs to be said. Taylor Funk, a freshman, played hard, played smart. Tanner Brenize made huge play after huge play tonight. Steve Young had a huge steal late in the game. Josh Flanagan finished around the basket like we’ve been asking him to do and rebounded the basketball. Colin Brubaker is the best on-the-ball defender I’ve seen in a long time. Josiah Ginder came off the bench and was playing his first varsity game. Those seven guys came together. This was arguably the greatest team win that I’ve been a part of in 16 years of coaching high school basketball. That is how I felt this game was played tonight."
The Barons certainly came to play at the opening tip, taking a 16-13 lead after one.
Evan Purvis and Grant Conway finished with eight points apiece to lead the Crusaders, who gained the lead at half, 26-24, and then went on a 9-3 run in the third to extend their advantage to eight.
Manheim Central, though, saved its best for last. Funk finished with two triples, while Wiederrecht and Tanner Brenize each added one, as the Barons rallied to get the win.
Wiederrecht, Brenize and Brubaker combined to shoot 5-for-7 at the foul line.
"Lancaster Catholic took an eight-point lead late in the third and we were concerned, obviously," Sherwood recalled. "We had played close the whole way and really we just wanted to get it to the fourth quarter. We were telling our guys at our last practice, ‘Let’s make this a fourth-quarter game and let’s see what happens.’ And they did it. They made it a fourth-quarter basketball game. It was eight and what happened was, a couple guys made some really clutch plays and all of a sudden, it was a three-point game and I felt like our guys got really loose – in a good way. They felt like, ‘Wow, we’re in this. Against Lancaster Catholic.’ We made a couple of plays down the stretch and that’s what happened."
Looking ahead, the Barons are hoping to get Walsh back this week when they play at Annville-Cleona on Wednesday, then host Northern Lebanon on Friday before heading into a two-week break for the holidays.
"There’s one good thing about our schedule," Sherwood remarked. "As much of a bear as it is right now, after that game on the 20th, we’re going to have two weeks off and some people would say that’s not good. We need to regroup. We need to make sure we know our identities and tip off on Jan. 2 almost like it’s a new season for us. This was a great win, so we’ll build off this as well."
Last Friday, Columbia senior Marqel Wansley had a game-high 22 points to lead three Crimson Tide players in double figures, as they rallied from a 33-23 halftime deficit to defeat Manheim Central 57-50.
The Barons were led by Wiederrecht and Walsh, who finished with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
In other action, nine different players scored for the Barons, led by Wiederrecht’s game-high 13, leading Manheim Central to a 60-18 non-league drubbing of Conestoga Valley in Manheim. Walsh and Alex Sensnich each chipped in with 10 points in the win.
More BARONS, page B-8