MC boys enter the break with loss to the Vikings Stauffer keys win over Dutchmen
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Manheim Central’s Evan Stauffer is described by his coach as being fearless.
"He’s one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached," Chris Sherwood remarked.
Last Wednesday, Dec. 19, the Barons’ senior guard used that toughness to strike a lot of fear into Annville-Cleona.
Scoring 13 of his game-high 23 points in the first quarter, Stauffer sparked the Manheim Central boys to an early 24-12 jump on the Little Dutchmen and helped the Barons earn a 55-38 win in a Section Three-Four crossover game in Manheim.
"I’m happy with the effort," Sherwood said. "They played really hard. I’m proud of our guys to be 6-1. But we have a lot of work to do. We’re not Donegal and we’re not trying to be, to tell you the truth. We’re just trying to be ourselves and just trying to get better."
Following their 65-45 Section Three loss to Northern Lebanon last Friday, the Barons will now have nearly two weeks over the holiday break to try to get better before resuming their slate with a showdown against league favorite Donegal on Wednesday, Jan. 2.
Stauffer scored 11 points in the loss to Northern Lebanon to lead the Barons, who fell to 2-2 in Section play (6-2 overall).
His 23 points against the Dutchmen marked a season-high, an effort which included a pair of three-point plays and a 4-for-4 effort at the foul line as the Barons jumped to a 12-point lead after one.
"(Evan) scored a lot of stuff around the bucket," Sherwood said. "He basically said, ‘You’re not going to stop me tonight.’ He was getting to the bucket, he was getting inside the lane on his penetration, he was pump-faking. He just goes hard all the time and he’s not afraid of anything. He is literally fearless. People use that term a lot … he’s fearless."
Paxson Hayes, though, scored nine of his team-high 12 points for Annville-Cleona in the first half, and the Dutchmen outscored Central 10-9 in the second quarter, helping to keep the visitors within striking distance at the half.
But the Barons didn’t help their cause by coughing the ball up nine times in the half, on their way to 19 for the game.
"That’s just turning the ball over too much. We’ve got to work on that," Sherwood said.
By the same token, however, the Central boys used a relentless defense to force 22 turnovers from the Dutchmen. More so, the Barons held Casey Smith, who scored 16 points in A-C’s win over ELCO, to just one trey and four total points.
"I thought we defended our rear ends off," Sherwood said. "In the first couple of quarters, I thought we just defended really, really hard. A lot of (Annville’s turnovers) were forced. They weren’t just unforced errors. We talk about communication on defense, and even late in the fourth quarter, we had guys communicating on the defensive end."
Matt Walsh scored five of his 15 points in the third and Zach Schnitzler added four, as the Central boys maintained a 44-31 after three.
The Dutchmen were still within 14 points, 48-34, after Trenton Wizar nailed a triple with 4:02 to go, but Central the next seven points, including a triple by Walsh, to pull away.
"I never thought that they were out of striking distance," Sherwood said. "(A-C) coach Edwards is a good friend of mine and we have mutual respect for each other and when we were up 16 with three minutes to go, I still called a full-court press … And the reason why is they were beating us down the floor. So that was our only way to slow them up. I didn’t want to give them quick buckets. It’s a credit to them. I would never normally put on a press (with a 16-point lead). I just didn’t want it to somehow turn into a single-digit game really quick and all of a sudden, guys are panicking." More MC BOYS, page B-4