Cocalico boys knock off Catholic in fantastic finish

By on December 26, 2018

Nuneville’s free throws give Eagles 59-58 victory

Cocalico’s Carter Nuneville (4), whose late free throws would seal the victory, looks to dish to a teammate in front of Lancaster Catholic’s Devin Atkinson. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Cocalico’s Carter Nuneville (4), whose late free throws would seal the victory, looks to dish to a teammate in front of Lancaster Catholic’s Devin Atkinson. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

The Cocalico and Lancaster Catholic boys’ basketball teams left it all on the floor last Wednesday in Denver.

The Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Three/Four crossover game featured 11 lead changes (three in the last 35 seconds) and eight ties.

The highest drama was created by two players wearing number four. The Crusader’ four was senior Johnny Besecker (11 pts). His counterpart with the Eagles was sophomore Carter Nuneville (12 pts).

Let’s go right to the white-knuckle drama.

With 31.3 seconds remaining, Nuneville hit a six foot baseline runner which gave Cocalico a 57-56 lead. After a Catholic time out, Besecker brought the ball across half court. He drove down the right side of the lane, missing long off the rim. But the referee whistled Nuneville for the foul over protests from the Eagles bench.

Besecker calmly sank the two free-throws, his tenth and 11th points of the game. Cocalico inbounded the ball and called time out with 11 seconds left. When Nuneville dribbled from left to right across the top of the key, Besecker bumped him off the ball and drew the foul.

“Initially, I heard a lot of yelling from the other team’s fans,” described Nuneville. “I went through my routine, took a deep breath, and shot the free throws like any other one.”

Two perfect swishes later, Cocalico had a one point lead. With the time approaching zero, Dwayne Caine (12 pts) rose up for a jump shot from the left corner. The ball hit the rim, bounced off the backboard and…..fell to the ground.

The Eagles had won 59-58, earning a much-needed victory.

“We knew we needed to bounce back (after three losses) strong,” explained Cocalico coach Seth Sigman. “It was a big one. We needed to get it. It was huge for us.”

Eagle Junior Ben Karbe (22 points, 5 threes) led all scorers, while the Crusaders were paced by junior Denzel Kabasele (14, 3) with 14. Also for Cocalico, senior Conner Mack had 11 points (1 three, 2-2 at the line), junior Trey Griffin (7 pts), senior Peyton Stetter (3) and senior Brady Nuneville (3).

With the intensity from start to finish, this mid-December game had the feel of a post-season playoff game.

“The atmosphere was great,” added Nuneville. “Our fans were in it. Their fans were in it. It was a great game. It gives us a lot of confidence as a team.”

“I thought we were scrappy,” said Sigman. “We got loose balls. We boxed out well, and we didn’t give them many second chance points. I loved the fight. We brought the fight tonight and we needed to.”

Unfortunately Cocalico couldn’t duplicate its performance Friday night at Octorara where the host Braves stunned the Eagles 48-41 to earn their first-ever L-L League victory.

Cocalico didn’t have an answer for Octorara’s 6-7 sophomore Naji Hamilton, who produced a triple-double, finishing with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks to lead his team to the victory.

Keith Lambert added 12 points for the winners, who improved to 1-3 in Section Four (3-4 overall).

Karbe paced the Eagles (1-3 Section Three, 3-4 overall) with 11 points in the loss.

Up next, Cocalico is at the Mechanicsburg Holiday Tournament this Thursday and Friday. Cocalico will take on host Mechanicsburg in the nightcap Thursday, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Boiling Springs and Cumberland Valley will battle in game one at 6 p.m.

The consolation and championship games are set for 6 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

The Eagles return to league play Jan. 4 with a home game vs. Donegal in the final Section Three-Four crossover game.




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