CV rallies past Cocalico
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
For the majority of Tuesday’s big Section Two clash, Cocalico stayed one step ahead of visiting Conestoga Valley.
The Eagles led for most of the way but never were able to extend the lead. In the end, it would cost them.
Trailing by one (39-38) after three, the Buckskins exploded for 28 fourth-quarter points to surge ahead and come away with an eventual 66-58 victory.
Senior reserve guard Manoli Tsoflias came off the bench to score all 10 of his points in the final period as CV shot 8-for-10 from the field, committed no turnovers and shot 7-for-9 from the line in the final minute to hold off the Eagles.
"(CV) hit shots when they needed to down the stretch," Cocalico Coach Travis Wealand said. "We had some opportunities too but they just didn’t fall for us."
"We just needed to do a better job earlier in the game," he continued. "When we get the lead, we need to build on it and not let a team get back in the game. When you let teams hang around, that’s what happens to you in the end–you find yourself clawing at the end and sending them to the foul line and now they are extending their lead. And they did a great job hitting foul shots too down the stretch. A lot of credit to them."
Conestoga Valley (4-2 Section Two, 5-7 overall) finished with four players in double figures, led by Robbie Cardina’s game-high 18 points. Peter Kleine added 14, Anthony Brown 13 and of course Tsoflias’s big 10 in the fourth.
Austin Landis, who drained a total of five three-points on the night, paced Cocalico (2-4, 5-7) with 17 points. Ryan Schweitzer added 15 and Christian Graybill 13 in the tough loss.
This one was nip-and-tuck for most of the way. It was tied 16-16 late in the first period before a Kleine putback with two seconds to go put CV on top 18-16. However, Landis received the inbounds pass at half-court and banked one in at the buzzer and the Eagles regained the advantage at 19-18 after eight minutes of play.
"Austin definitely brought some energy, knocked down some big shots," Wealand said. "He’s not scared to shoot them when we need it…That’s a great trait of his."
Cocalico then built the lead to three points (25-22) midway through the second on a Graybill lay-up. Landis and Cardina both hit a pair of threes down the stretch as the Eagles maintained their slim three-point lead (31-28) heading to the half.
The Eagles did appear as if they would finally put some distance between themselves and the Buckskins early in the third on a Graybill deuce which gave them their biggest lead of the night at 34-28. But CV would not go away and went on a quick 8-3 spurt to get to within one point once again at 37-36.
After Schweitzer knocked down a 15-footer, Cardina’s putback with 33 seconds left cut it back to one and set the tone for the fourth.
"We felt like the guys were playing hard," Wealand said. "They always do their best and try to execute our gameplan the best they can. We expect when the ball is thrown up at the beginning that we’ll do that for the whole game, and I just felt in spurts we did a great job and in other spurts we could have done a better job. Again, in a game like that when it’s kind of back and forth you need more possessions than the other team and you need to play with the lead…We didn’t get that done tonight."
Tsoflias gave CV it’s first lead of the second half. scoring his first bucket of the game just 13 seconds into the fourth. After Schweitzer briefly got the lead back for Cocalico on a pair of field goals, CV responded.
Then leading by two at 52-50 with 3:29 to go, the Buckskins’ Brown hit a pair of jumpers, including a huge three which extended their lead to 57-50 with 2:33 remaining. That was more than enough as CV put the game away at the foul line in the final minute.
"If we could have eliminated some of the small mistakes early on in the game it may have put us in a different position at the end. That didn’t happen," Wealand said.
This past Friday at home, the Eagles squared off against E-town, the other top team in Section Two.
This one was all Bears, unfortunately as E-town went up early and continued to pour it on en route to a 73-52 victory.
E-town had four players finish in double figures, led by Tyler Koser, who scored a game-high 22 points in the Bear victory. Kasey Koser added 15 points while Aaron Buckwalter and Lucas Jewell each dropped in 10.
Schweitzer was the lone Eagle scoring in double digits as he hit for 18 points in the loss. Spencer Moser did score nine points for Cocalico while Joey Becker added eight.
After Tuesday’s play, CV remains tied atop the Section Two standings with E-town, which got past Ephrata, 66-58 Tuesday. The Eagles are now two behind the leaders and trail Solanco (3-3) by one in the standings.
Cocalico will look to get back on the winning track Friday (8 p.m.) when the Eagles travel to Ephrata. More COCALICO, page B-3