The Spooky Nook Summer League is in full swing for the Elizabethtown Area High School boys basketball team. The Bears entered Tuesday, June 26, undefeated at 4-0 on the summer, hoping to carry that momentum into two games against District 3 playoff teams. While they were able to get a win out of the slate, they also suffered their first loss as well.
Originally set to face Harrisburg first, Elizabethtown ended up playing Dallastown due to a scheduling shift. The first half was heavily contested between the two teams, with the Bears taking a 2624 lead into halftime off the back of a flurry of 3-pointers from Luke Pierson and Ryan Parise.
In the second half, Elizabethtown tightened up defensively, holding the Wildcats to just 15 points. The team also opened things up on offense, ultimately pulling away for a comfortable 57-39 win.
Ryan Parise led the team with 16 points and 6 assists. Pierson wasn’t far behind, scoring 14 points in addition to notching 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Larry Locker, Amos Kollie and Elijah Eberlychipped in with 8, 7 and 6 points, respectively.
“I liked how balanced and unselfish we were,” head coach Rocky Parise said. “I thought we made a lot of ‘hockey assists’ in getting a pass to an assist, which led to baskets. There was one play where Ryan had a great pass to Elijah who then through the alley oop to Larry for the dunk. That first layered pass is what we’re trying to teach, whether it leads to an assist or not. It’s putting the pressure on them.”
Cashiss Day was the high man for Dallastown with 11 points off the bench. Kobe Green contributed with 10 points.
The Bears had a quick turnaround, immediatelyfacing Hershey in the second game of the night.The first half was fast-moving for both offenses, going back and forth, especially from behind the 3-point line. Elizabethtown was able to carry a 34-29 lead into the break.
However, the Trojans turned up the heat after halftime, quickening their pace on offense and clamping down on defense with a 2-3 zone look. The Bears fell victim to fatigue midway through the second half, allowing Hershey to gradually extend the gap for a 72-59 victory.
“I don’t want to use the (exhaustion) as an excuse,” Coach Parise said. “They hit a bunch of shots and played really well. It’s good because it’s kind of leading us into a segue. Today at team camp, we worked on man defense. Tomorrow, we’ll work on our zone stuff. It’s perfect because we saw what we needed to work on, so I’m excited to dig in from a zone defensive standpoint.”
Pierson had a game-high 15 points for Elizabethtown. Kollie finished with 12 points, also getting 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Locker had 11 points and 6 rebounds.
Zack Peters caught fire from long range for Hershey, hitting 7 3-pointers in route to finishing with a game-high 25 points. Jackson Mascari was a monster on the boards, pulling down 18 rebounds to go with his 9 points and 5 assists.
“I don’t think we were closing out hard enough,” Coach Parise said. “We really work on closing out with two hands high, and we started to toward the end of the first half, but then that kind of tailed off. That’s something we have to be disciplined on. You just got to give Hershey credit. A lot of those three’s they hit were tough, contested shots.”
Elizabethtown will not take the court at Spooky Nook again until Tuesday, July 10, where the Bears will face Susquehanna Township and Lower Dauphin. After that, it’s the league playoffs. In the meantime, they’ll be hosting a crossover camp with the latter and Manheim Central, on Wednesday, June 27, and Thursday, June 28, where they’ll scrimmage as well.
“We’re gonna work on zone stuff tomorrow,”Coach Parise said. “We’ll also work on some traps and some fullcourt pressure on Thursday, and then get into some live stuff. From a summer standpoint, we’ve gone really hard from spring to June with open gyms and lifting, so we’re pretty much gonna shut it down once July hits, aside from the Spooky Nook League. I think it’s been such a productive summer, and I’m really happy where we’re at.”