Back-to-back Section crowns for the Barons

By on January 28, 2015
Manheim Central’s Ryan Carlinow (right) dribbles around ELCO de¬fender Caleb Buchmoyer during Tuesday night’s action. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Manheim Central’s Ryan Carlinow (right) dribbles around ELCO de¬fender Caleb Buchmoyer during Tuesday night’s action. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Their long winning streak notwithstanding, the Manheim Central boys basketball team has not been immune to lulls this season.

Trailing 12-2 to Donegal at the end of the first quarter last Thursday was a case in point.

On Tuesday night, however?

The Barons had a bounce in their step and a focused look in their eyes.

For good reason.

With an opportunity to clinch the Section Three championship, the Central boys hit the ground running in Myerstown, shooting 5-of-6 from three-point land &tstr; 8-of-13 overall &tstr; in the first quarter while jumping to a commanding 21-3 lead against host ELCO.

When the dust settled, the Barons had a big 58-30 win and their second straight Section crown. It marks the first time in program history that they have won back-to-back Section titles.

“We’ve got winners,” said Barons coach Chris Sherwood. whose team is riding an 18-game winning streak. “We’re just surrounded by a bunch of really good kids who respond. We wanted to do this tonight and our guys just followed the game plan to a ‘T’ and they were just awesome tonight.”

MC sophomore Taylor Funk was certainly awesome, draining four of the Barons’ seven treys and leading all scorers with 22 points.

And Central’s rebounding game was awesome, led by senior Matt Walsh, who grabbed 10 boards to go along with eight points. For the game, the Barons (14-0 L-L, 19-1 overall) outrebounded the Raiders 29-22.

“We rebounded the heck out of the ball tonight,” Sherwood said. “One shot on possessions for them. They’re pretty athletic and second shots lead to ‘threes’ for them and it leads to (Colton) Lawrence going off. So we were conscious of those guys.”

Lawrence is ELCO’s leading scorer with 19.1 ppg, but the Barons’ defense held him to just five. Mason Bossert paced the Raiders with 13.

But it was Funk who was providing the offensive fireworks early on, netting 13 of his 22 points in the opening stanza. That included eight in a 16-0 quarter-ending run, ignited by Dan Wiederrecht’s drive, to put the Central boys in command 21-3.

“That can make a coach look really good when you have a guy who can shoot like that,” Sherwood said. “That’s really what he does. He’s fun to watch. He shot poorly the other night against Donegal, but again, his job is to knock down perimeter jumpers and he did tonight.”

After Bossert knocked down a ‘three’ of his own with 6:49 left in the second, cutting the Raiders’ deficit to 24-8, the Barons countered with a 7-0 run &tstr; Funk nailed a trey, Walsh followed with a putback and a conventional three-point play and senior point guard Tony Staffieri hit one of two from the foul line &tstr; to go up 31-8 at the break.

“We just had real energy tonight and I credit that to our guys,” Sherwood said. “They knew they were playing for something tonight. I continue to yell and scream at them, ‘You can’t just turn it on when you want to turn it on,’ but they really turned it on tonight.”

Having had three days to go over its game plan, Manheim Central executed, not only rebounding the ball, but forcing 14 turnovers and stymieing the Raiders’ athleticism on their home floor.

“We were a step quick tonight and I think it’s because the guys wanted to do this tonight,” Sherwood said. “This was the first time in awhile that they felt like &tstr; I’m putting words in their mouth &tstr; a game really mattered. I really believe that.”

When ELCO’s Dylan Stoops dropped in a layup with 4:15 left in the third, the Raiders cut their deficit to 37-15, but Staffieri answered with a fastbreak layup, then back-to-back steals led to a layup and a free throw by Colin Brubaker, and the Barons put together another 9-2 surge.

With that, Manheim Central took a 46-17 advantage heading to the fourth quarter and the outcome was no longer in doubt.

“There’s been a little bit of a lull around and we’ve played well enough to win games, but haven’t played really well … we played really well tonight,” Sherwood said. “We’ve never won back-to-back before and the significance really is just a bunch of kids who work really hard in the off-season and they needed something to celebrate and we finally got something to celebrate tonight.”

The Manheim Central boys got a scare from Donegal last Friday, trailing by double-digits at the end of the first quarter.

But thanks to a strong second-half effort, the Barons escaped with a 45-36 victory in a Section Three battle in Manheim.

Matt Walsh finished with a game-high 18 points, Taylor Funk added 10 and the Central boys outscored the Indians 27-18 following the halftime break to win their 17th straight.

Donegal was led by Louis Summerville’s 14 points, helping the Indians race to a 12-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Barons answered with a 16-6 run in the second quarter to pull even. It was still too close for comfort heading to the fourth, with MC leading by just two, 28-26.

But despite shooting just 7-of-14 from the foul line for the game, Central held on down the stretch.

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