Funk, Walsh fuel Barons over L-S

By on December 23, 2014
Baron 6-foot-8 sophomore Taylor Funk (33) contests the opening tip-off against L-S senior Justin DeHaut (35) in a key Section Three match-up last Friday night.

Baron 6-foot-8 sophomore Taylor Funk (33) contests the opening tip-off against L-S senior Justin DeHaut (35) in a key Section Three match-up last Friday night.

The Manheim Central boys managed only one 3-pointer against Section Three rival Lampeter-Strasburg last Friday, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

In the first half, in fact, the Barons might have tried too much for the liking of head coach Chris Sherwood.

“We know that every one of them is capable of making that 3-point shot, but we continue to stress to them to attack the basket,” Sherwood said.

In the second half, they did.

The results showed, as Manheim Central outscored the Pioneers 28-17 following the break and improved to 4-0 in league play (7-1 overall) with a big 58-40 victory in Manheim.

“We thought we did a better job in the second half of attacking (L-S) a little bit,” Sherwood said. “We also caused more turnovers in the second half, which enabled us to score in transition, which we want to do. But we love that 3-point shot and sometimes we just have to get away from it because we have to force teams to defend our penetration.”

Turns out they couldn’t stop Taylor Funk and Matt Walsh, who led the way with 18 and 14 points, respectively, often scoring in transition as the Barons forced turnovers with their pressure defense.

“(Point guard) Tony (Staffieri) was able to find them and that’s really what extended our lead there in the second half,” Sherwood said. “(Taylor and Matt) both played a pretty big role. I thought both of them played pretty key roles defensively as well. The shots inside didn’t fall for L-S and that was a credit to Matt and Taylor as well.”

To the Pioneers’ credit, however, junior Luke Beers found some success getting to the bucket early on, shooting 4-of-4 from the foul line in the first two minutes of the game.

“We think Beers is a really good player, we like the Beers kid a lot,” Sherwood said. “One thing that we wanted to do was we really wanted to stop their penetration to the basket and we were able to do that then moving forward.”

Staffieri, Colin Brubaker, Dan Wiederrecht and Tanner Brenize all took their turns defending Beers and held the 6-foot-2 guard to just six points for the game. Matt Achille and Justin DeHaut shared team-high scoring honors with 10 points apiece, and the Pioneers did a solid job dealing with MC’s pressure in the first half to remain within striking distance, 30-23, going to the locker room.

“We didn’t play a great first half, but L-S did,” Sherwood remarked. “L-S handled our pressure and one thing that we want to do, we want to make sure that if we’re going to get beat that a team is able to handle our pressure for 32 minutes. So we weren’t discouraged by any stretch of the imagination. We just want to make sure that we stick to our game plan which is a lot of ball pressure and attacking the basket.”

As the third quarter unfolded, when Central went on an 18-9 run, the Barons’ smothering defense began to take its toll. Staffieri finished the game with eight points, while Alex Sensenich and Dan Wiederrecht each added six points, helping the Barons capitalize on several Pioneer giveaways.

“We thought in the third quarter, our pressure kinda got to them a little bit,” Sherwood commented. “They’re young, they’re really getting better. I think they’re going to be a handful when we go to their place. They’re well-coached. You can tell that they scouted us and understood what our strengths were. But we just wanted to make sure that we stuck with our plan.”

Leading by 16 points going to the final stanza, the Barons put it in the books by outscoring L-S 10-8 in the fourth.

“We think every win is important. We were excited to get into our Section play,” Sherwood said. “We thought we were tested in the crossover games. With Mennonite and Catholic and then having to go to Pequea, we really thought that we played three of the top teams in Section Four. But we were really excited to get to Section play.”

Their next challenge came in the form of Donegal on Tuesday night after deadline. Then it’s on to the Middletown Holiday Tournament which will take them to the midway point of the regular season.

“We continually talk about getting better and I think our guys would agree that there are aspects of our game that we need to improve on,” Sherwood said.. “Yes, we’re happy with where we’re at. But it’s really a long season. When we get to that midway point, we will not have played ELCO yet, we will not have played Cocalico yet, and we will not have played Northern Lebanon yet. So although that mid point is a nice point to get to and talk about where you’re at, I think we need to get through that first round of the Section Three games first.”

Last Wednesday, Dec. 17, Funk nailed four of Manheim Central’s six treys and led all scorers with 19 points, paving the way for the Barons in a 54-33 win over host Pequea Valley in a Section Three-Four crossover.

Walsh helped out with 11 points for the MC boys, who took a lead they never lost with a 13-2 run in the second quarter.

Up 21-10 at the half, the Barons broke it open by outscoring the Braves 33-23 in the second half. Juriel Gray paced Pequea Valley with 13 points.

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