Barons suffer first loss: Buzzer-beater lifts GS in 44-42 upset

By on January 11, 2017
Manheim Central senior forward Roman Wagner (right) drives to the basket  against  Lampeter-Strasburg’s  Ben  Sandberg  in  the  Barons’ win last Friday night. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Manheim Central senior forward Roman Wagner (right) drives to the basket against Lampeter-Strasburg’s Ben Sandberg in the Barons’ win last Friday night. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

At some point, all good things must come to an end.

For the Manheim Central boys basketball team, that was the case Tuesday night, as its season-opening nine-game winning streak was snapped by Garden Spot.

The Spartans’ Cameron Sensenig scored on a buzzer-beating layup, snapping a 42-42 tie and lifting his team to a low-scoring 44-42 upset over previously-unbeaten Manheim Central in a Section Two battle in New Holland.

While GS improved to 3-3 L-L (7-6 overall), the Barons — playing their third game in five days — fell to 5-1 L-L (9-1 overall). Coupled with Ephrata’s 61-49 win over Lampeter-Strasburg, the loss also knocked Manheim Central out of first place, leaving the Mounts (6-0 L-L, 11-2 overall) in sole possession of the top spot.

The Central boys host Ephrata this Friday at 7:30 p.m. in a key Section Two showdown.

Taylor Funk finished with 14 points to lead the Barons, who are ranked No. 2 in the District Three Class 5A power ratings. They held a slim 18-17 lead at the half and then extended it to 31-26 with eight minutes left to play.

In the final stanza, however, turnovers were costly for the MC boys, as Spot came back to tie it 42-all. From there, Sensenig got the ball about five steps shy of half-court, drove and scored as time expired, setting off a big celebration for the Spartans.

Kyle Gordon led GS with 11 points.

Last Friday, in a battle of unbeaten Section Two co-leaders, Taylor Funk scored a game-high 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, as Manheim Central held off Lampeter-Strasburg 61-58 in a playoff-like atmosphere in Manheim.

The Barons (5-0 L-L, 9-0 overall) led by as many as 10 points, 34-24, when Funk scored inside with 7:35 left in the third quarter, only to see L-S climb with four points on five different occasions, then back to two, 60-58, with :12 left in the game on a layup by Ben Sandberg.

But Funk made one of two at the foul line with :4.5 remaining, then the Pioneers’ (4-1 L-L, 7-5 overall) Jordan Sweger missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and the Barons cleaned up the glass to end the game.

Connor Hostetter chipped in with 14 points for the MC boys.

“It had a big-time feel to it. The little gym in the league was packed,” Barons’ boss Chris Sherwood said. “(L-S) made us have to play 32 minutes tonight and there’s nothing wrong with having to play 32 minutes. That’s why — it doesn’t matter who you’re playing and this happened to be a big game — but anytime you can play a 32-minute game with a playoff-type atmosphere, your teams grows. (L-S) grew tonight and we grew tonight.”

Funk, of course, played a big role, finishing just one point shy of his career-high 33, set twice as a junior against Cocalico and Manheim Township.

The 6-foot-9 senior forward took over late in the first half, scoring all eight points in MC’s 8-1 run — scoring on a putback, followed by a ‘three,’ a pull-up J, then getting a steal and making both ends of a 1-and-1 — to make it 32-24 at the half.

“I think Taylor is at a point now in his career where it’s a little bit different,” Sherwood said. “If you’ve watched him for a lot of years, it’s now different. He wants the ball and he wants it on the block. I mean, two years ago, who would have thought that this skinny little kid who’s a perimeter guy and everyone was saying, ‘Coach, you’ve got to get this 6-8 guy on the block.’ The 6-8 guy didn’t want to go to the block, I was trying to get him to the block. It is awesome to watch, it really is … He’s played in these games, so yeah, he was ready for this and he knew what to expect and he asked for the ball a couple of times.”

Then, with :25 elapsed in the third quarter, Funk’s inside bucket stretched it to 34-24.

But the Pioneers cut it to 34-30 on Jared Houck’s runner and 41-37 on a triple by Jack Banner with 1:35 remaining in the third quarter. Sandberg led L-S with 20 points, and Banner added 16, including five three-pointers.

“I thought when we would get up 10, our possessions would get sloppy,” Sherwood said. “(The mindset has to be), ‘We’re up 10, we need these guys to work. Let’s get a layup and go up 12.’ You have to take the air out of their sail, and bad possessions hurt leads. That’s a big thing I’m going to take from this and work with our guys moving forward.”

After another Banner trey made it made 47-43 with 5:30 to go in the fourth, MC countered with a 10-5 run. Funk scored on the post, then Hostetter buried a trey, followed by a mid-range J, and Funk drained a ‘three’ to push the lead to 57-48.

“Connor hit a couple big shots for us,” Sherwood remarked.

L-S, though, didn’t go away. Banner hit five of the Pioneers’ five treys in the fourth, and Sweger’s triple with :30 remaining got his team to 60-56.

Hostetter missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with :28.3 remaining, and Sandberg’s layup closed the gap to 60-58. On an inbounds play, MC got the ball to Funk, who sank one of two.

With just three ticks left, Sweger was fouled, but couldn’t convert, and the Barons finally sealed it.

“L-S played really, really well,” Sherwood said, “and we made enough plays to win at the end.”

Last Saturday in the nightcap of the Section Two Showdown in Manheim, the Barons rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit vs. Dover, getting 32 points from Funk in a 70-60 come-from-behind win.

Roman Wagner chipped in with 20 points, helping MC go on a 29-9 third-quarter run, as the Barons went in front 45-41 going to the fourth. There, they outscored the Eagles 25-19 to put it in the books.

Victor Dorn scored 17 points to lead three Dover players in double figures. Keith Davis added 14 points and Brady Bowman chipped in with 13. As a team, the Eagles scored seven treys and finished 11-of-17 at the foul line.

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