Entering the 2018-19 season, the Elizabethtown Area High School boys basketball team was aiming to continue its progress from the previous two seasons and potentially take a step forward as a unit. Sometimes, however, there are bumps in the road, especially when you play quality opponents. That’s exactly how the Bears began the year.
The team took part in the Manheim Township Tip-Off Tournament on Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8, facing off against Central York on Friday. The game started off slowly for both sides, with neither team scoring until two minutes into the game. The Cougars got hot near the end of the quarter though, nailing a couple of 3-pointers to take a 14-4 lead.
Elizabethtown came alive midway through the second half, going on a 12-1 run thanks in part to 2 3’s from senior Dylan Sweger to narrow the gap to 20-19. Central York responded with an 8-0 run of its own to close out the first half with a 28-19 advantage.
The third quarter went back and forth for a while before the Bears went on an 8-0 run to close the quarter and tighten the score to 38-35, with 14 of their 16 points in the quarter coming from senior Larry Locker (6), senior Amos Kollie (4) and junior Elijah Eberly (4). Early in the fourth, however, the Cougars extended the lead to six and was able to hold off Elizabethtown from there, eventually winning 58-48 to move on to the tournament final against Abraham Lincoln, which they won.
Senior Braden Richard had a game-high 23 points for Central York, while senior Alex Salter and junior Gabe Guidinger each hit a trio of three-pointers to finish with 15 and 9 points, respectively. The Cougars hit 7 three-balls as a team.
For the Bears, Locker and Eberly shared the team lead in points with 12. Locker was a force statistically, grabbing 6 rebounds, blocking 4 shots and forcing 5 steals. Eberly also had 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. Sweger (6 points) led the team in rebounds with 7, while Kollie (9 points) and junior Ryan Parise (6 points) each had 4 assists. Elizabethtown finished with 12 steals as a team but also committed 16 turnovers of its own.
Elizabethtown played Manheim Township in the consolation game on Saturday. The first quarter moved quickly; the Bears came out with a 12-11 advantage. A couple of 3-pointers from senior Tyler Crespo gave the Blue Streaks the lead during early in the second though, and Manheim Township would go to the break up 28-26.
The Blue Streaks managed the game for most of the third, but Parise was able to find Eberly for a layup to close the lead to 41-38. However, Manheim Township seized control from there, going on a 22-2 in the fourth to coast to a 65-46 victory.
Crespo was lights out from beyond the arc, hitting 5 three-pointers to reach 21 points. Senior Brendan Mellott (17 points), sophomore Zach Oldac (13 points) and junior Tyler Vicidomini (10 points) all hit double-digits for the Blue Streaks.
Elizabethtown was balanced scoring wise, with Parise leading the way at 9 points and 6 assists. Sophomore Luke Pierson was second with 8 points, also grabbing 6 rebounds. Locker and Kollie each had 7 points, while Eberly had 6 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks, making the All-Tournament team.
Finally, the Bears got the main part of the regular season going in an away game at Solanco on Tuesday, Dec. 11. They came out swinging in the first quarter, blitzing the Mules to go up 22-9. Solanco recovered slightly in the second, scoring 11 points. However, Locker took over on offense for Elizabethtown, matching that total by himself and accounting for all of his team’s points.
From there, the Bears were able to coast to victory, scoring 17 points in each of the last two quarters for a 67-43 win. Locker finished the game with 24 points, also adding 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. Parise got his first career double-double, putting up 13 points and 10 assists. Kollie added 11 points and 5 rebounds, while Pierson had a balanced stat line of 7 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks.
Senior Dom Messano had a game-high 10 points for Solanco, hitting 2 from deep. Sophomore Zed Baker contributed 9 points.
At 1-2 after three games, Elizabethtown will stay away from Daubert Gym on Friday, Dec. 14, in a game against Cedar Crest, with the home opener coming on Monday, Dec. 17, in a rematch against Manheim Township.