Late run leads A-C over Barons
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
For 28 minutes last Thursday, the Manheim Central boys were executing their game plan to perfection against Annville-Cleona.
Little Dutchmen seniors Tyson Hayes and Alec Wizar, who combined for 46 points in a 63-58 loss to ELCO last Tuesday, Dec. 20, had just 14 points total with 3:30 remaining.
But in the late stages of the game, leading 36-30, it slipped away from the Barons.
Wizar scored 10 of his game-high 15 points in a game-ending 17-3 run by the Dutchmen, who entered the Christmas break with a 47-39 come-from-behind win over Manheim Central in a Section Three-Four crossover in Annville.
"We had put together what we thought to be a really, really good game plan defensively against Annville because they have two guys that can really score," Barons’ coach Chris Sherwood said. "(But) we lost focus. A couple things didn’t go our way late, to our own doing, and we made some mistakes and it snowballed to a point where it affected us on the defensive end of the floor where that hadn’t been the case."
Despite the loss, the Barons still took a 5-2 overall record into the holidays. With a 2-1 record in league play, the Central boys are just one game behind Section Three co-leaders Donegal and Lampeter-Strasburg.
"Considering where we started at on Nov. 18 and where we are now, I’m very pleased with our guys and very pleased with our effort," Sherwood said. "I’m still a believer that we’re going to have some ups and downs. We’ve had some more ups than downs. I am happy with where we’re at, but we have a lot to learn and again we’re gaining experience on the job."
Hayes finished with 12 points and Zach Weaver added 10. But it was Freddy Hess who scored six of his eight points in the opening frame to help lead the Dutchmen (1-2 Section Four, 2-4 overall) to a 13-5 advantage after one.
But Manheim Central reeled off a 12-2 spurt in the second quarter to grab a one-point lead, 19-18, at the half. Jacoby Brumbach paced the Barons with nine points, including a 3-for-3 effort at the foul line. Jordan Mellinger and Evan Stauffer each finished with seven.
There were eight lead changes in the third, but the Barons maintained a 32-30 edge going to the final stanza. There, Brumbach buried two from the foul line and Philip Wubbolt dropped in a layup to push the lead to 36-30.
At the other end, Central’s game plan consisted of face-guarding Wizar and putting two defenders on point guard Hayes as he brought the ball up the floor, and it helped the Barons hold the advantage despite a sub-par offensive performance.
"Offensively we were bad the whole night," Sherwood said. "We shot a very poor percentage and we had some real costly turnovers as well. But it looked like we were going to come out on the other side unscathed because of us executing the game plan so well for 28 minutes."
Annville-Cleona, after being shut out for the first 4:30 of the period while committing four turnovers in that span, got on track with jumpers by David Miller and Wizar.
Then with 2:33 remaining, Wizar, who mustered only two points in the first half, was fouled beyond the arc and he sank all three foul shots to give the Dutchmen a lead they never relinquished.
"We had lost (Wizar) and actually, someone coming from help put a hand up and fouled him," Sherwood said.
Wizar hurt the Barons again with just 1:01 to go when he nailed an open 3-pointer, which gave the Dutchmen a 43-37 lead. From there, Annville-Cleona went 4-for-4 from the stripe the rest of way to seal the victory.
"I’m really happy with my guys," Sherwood said. "They’re really, really eager to learn. But we just made a lot of mistakes and those mistakes come from just a lack of varsity experience. And it’s common. I’ve been doing this for 16 years and when you have a team that has literally, combined, a half season of varsity experience, this is going to happen. And we just have to learn from it."
The Barons return to action next Tuesday, Jan. 3 when they host Donegal in a key Section Three contest. More BARONS, page B-3