CV holds off Cocalico

By on February 11, 2015
Cocalico’s DJ Fabiani (5) closely guards CV’s Jamaar Parker during Monday’s playoff game in Witmer. (Photo by Dick Wanner)

Cocalico’s DJ Fabiani (5) closely guards CV’s Jamaar Parker during Monday’s playoff game in Witmer. (Photo by Dick Wanner)

 Slow start plagues Eagles despite Lescoe’s 31 points

Section Two champion Conestoga Valley was playing with a little chip on its shoulder Monday vs. Cocalico in the L-L Quarterfinals at CV.

The Buckskins, despite winning their section, did not qualify for Districts, therefore when and if they are eliminated for the L-L playoffs, their season is done.

That fact, according to Coach Brad Herr, was what fueled the Buckskins in their match-up vs. the Eagles, and what helped them force 12 first half Cocalico turnovers which keyed a hard-fought 62-57 victory over the Eagles.

“We are just playing for our lives,” Herr said following the win. “There are some guys that are very disappointed that we didn’t get into Districts because they feel like we can definitely do some damage and definitely gain a valuable experience. But what we are getting right now is just priceless for these guys, considering as many returners as we have coming back next season. But we are not really ready to talk yet about next season because we have two more games this week hopefully.”

With the victory, CV (13-10) will advance to play McCaskey&tstr; a 73-70 first-round winner over Lancaster Mennonite&tstr; in Wednesday’s semifinals at Penn Manor, beginning at 7 p.m. The Eagles (16-7), who were the runners-up in Section Three, will now look to regroup for next Tuesday’s first round of Districts. The seventh-seeded Eagles will host 10th seeded Conrad Weiser at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Nest.

“Any time you lose it’s difficult and we need to learn from this quickly,” Cocalico Coach Travis Wealand said following Tuesday’s loss. “Losing is tough and to see the kids hurt and disappointed like that is tough, but we got to bounce back quickly and get the gameplan ready for our next opponent.”

“We are very proud of our guys and how hard they worked all season, and to get a home playoff game in the District is awesome for our program. We are just excited for the opportunity but like I said we got to put this one behind us fast and start to re-focus and get the guys back and ready to play.”

Monday night, the Buckskins used a swarming press to set the tone early in this one. CV built a lead as big as 13 points in the first half as a result of that defense before holding a 31-21 lead at the half.

“CV did a great job,” Wealand said of the Bucks’ pressure. “We knew their defensive pressure was going to be there. We worked on that in practice but we didn’t come out and execute against it very well, and that put us behind. When you do that in a game like this against a section champ, you can’t play from behind but that’s kind of where we found ourselves.”

Fortunately, the Eagles took care of the ball much better in the second half (committing just four more turnovers) and got back into the game. Tucker Lescoe, who scored a game-high 31 points, and senior shooter Austin Noll (14 points), led the charge.

CV still led 46-38 heading to the fourth before Noll caught fire, nailing three treys during a four-minute span to cut the CV lead to just two at 55-53. Then after CV upped the lead back to 60-55 with 46 seconds to go, Lescoe converted a driving lay-up to cut it back down to three (60-57) with 35 ticks remaining.

The Buckskins then missed the front end of a one-and-one at the other end, and the Eagles had a chance to tie. However, Lescoe, who made so many big shots on this night, was a little too strong on a three-point attempt from the top of the key with 13 seconds to go. CV junior Evan Showalter then iced it at the other end with a pair of free throws in the final seconds.

“I was proud of how we fought back and took care of the ball better in the second half,” Wealand said.

Herr added that he knew his team would get Cocalico’s best shot in the second half.

“Cocalico is so good…they are so tough physically and they are so tough mentally,” he said. “They are such a quality team and a quality program that you are not going to be able to lie down on them and you can’t take anything for granted. We spent the entire half-time talking about the fact that they are going to comeback and they are going to be right in this game, and we have to be prepared to handle that mentally and emotionally, and thankfully we did.

“We’ve been in so many close games this year, and I think early in the season that might have rattled us,” he continued. “But we are a fairly veteran squad right now. I think we are battle tested and our guys definitely stepped up and handled the pressure well.”

Herr credited junior Jeremy Griel, for the defensive job he did on Lescoe, despite the 31 points by the Cocalico star.

“I don’t know if it’s possible to say we did a good job on a guy that scored 31, but I want to say it,” he said. “I actually thought Griel did a real good job of making Lescoe work hard. Tucker is a tremendous basketball player and he showed it tonight. He made some fantastic shots, some contested shots, some shots when he was run off the line and had a quick release…I thought we defended it actually very well many times but to Tucker’s credit, he made them because he’s a big player and that’s what he does. As ridiculous as it sounds, we did a pretty nice job on him.”

Offensively, CV shot 55 percent (23-for-42) from the field and had a lot of success in transition off the Cocalico turnovers. Jovan Marrero led the way with 18 points while Connor Whitacre scored 11 and Shane Stewart and Showalter each added 10.

“We didn’t get that one shot to fall here or there and we couldn’t get that one stop defensively that we needed,” Wealand said. “CV shot the ball in a timely manner and did a great job driving to the rim. Again, credit to CV for executing their gameplan. We were mixing different defenses and trying to get a different flow to the game, but they just did a great job. They really wanted it. They finished a lot of shots around the rim, scored a lot of points in the paint and just really hurt us tonight.”

Senior John Waskowicz also scored in double figures for the Eagles, registering 10 points.

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