Mounts roll past Oley

By on December 29, 2015
Ephrata’s Brendan Holbritter (4) and Matt McGillan (33) double team Oley Valley sharpshooter Sebastian Williamson during Monday’s Ephrata Tournament opener. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Ephrata’s Brendan Holbritter (4) and Matt McGillan (33) double team Oley Valley sharpshooter Sebastian Williamson during Monday’s Ephrata Tournament opener. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)


The tide has suddenly taken a turn for the better as far as the Ephrata boys basketball team is concerned.

After dropping their first seven games to start the season, the Mounts finally gave first-year Coach Charlie Fisher his first win last Wednesday in a 42-39 victory on the road at Elizabethtown.

And Monday night in the first round of the Ephrata Holiday Tournament, the Mounts made it two in-a-row with a 54-43 victory over Oley Valley.

Matt McGillan led the way offensively with 23 points while sophomore Brendan Holbritter came off the bench to add 13 while Micah Krauter chipped in with 11 for Ephrata (2-7).

With the win, the Mounts advance to Tuesday’s championship game (6 p.m.) where they’ll face Palmyra (6-3), which edged Donegal 47-46 in Monday’s other first-round action.

“(The win over E-town) just released some pressure,” Fisher said following Monday’s win. “I know for me it felt like a large weight was lifted off me. We didn’t talk about it and guys didn’t outwardly express it but I know I was thinking about it. You want to go game by game but in a situation like that you think, ‘how long is this going to go?’ You need to get that first one. I think, just in general, it’s easier now to just focus. We got the win and now let’s build.”

They certainly did that Monday vs. Oley (3-6).

Offensively, the Mounts jumped out early to a quick 9-0 lead, working the ball around Oley’s 2-3 zone for a good shot, and then cashing in. It was a theme that would remain all night and stake them out to a 14-4 lead after one and 27-17 advantage at the break as McGillan had 11 first-half points while Holbritter delivered a pair of key three-pointers.

“We had a feeling they were going to run 2-3 from the films that we had on them, and they ran 2-3 for the majority of the game,” Fisher said. “We talked about when you see a zone, sometimes your gut tells you to stand here and I’m just going to shoot it when I get it, but we wanted to make sure our guys were penetrating, looking middle and looking to a corner. They did a good job with that.”

While the offense was clicking, Ephrata also limited the touches of Lynx star Sebastian Williamson. He still got his points, finishing with a game-high 27, but it wasn’t enough as Ephrata was able to keep the Lynx at arm’s length for most of the game.

Ephrata led by double digits the entire second half, leading by as many as 19 with 1:16 to play before the Lynx’ Conner Gollwitzer (9) drained three treys in the final minute to make the final score reasonably close.

“I was very happy with our defense,” Fisher said. “Our goal was 40, which is every game, but that kid hit those threes at the end that broke it up. But we want to keep people out of the paint. Our goal is to eliminate a team’s strength, and I thought we did a nice job with that, containing (Williamson) and forcing them to do some things that they didn’t show they wanted to do on film.”

Tuesday should pose a bigger test for the Mounts as they face a veteran Palmyra team that overcame a valiant effort by Donegal on Monday. Fisher said he expects the Cougars to be a tough out.

“Palmyra is a good team,” he said. “They squeaked one out over Donegal, but they are a very good team. They play in that competitive Keystone Division (Mid-Penn). They have pretty much everyone back from last year. They are very well-coached. Coach (Pete) Conrad does a nice job with them. It’s definitely going to be a test for us. It’s one of those games where we need to execute. If we execute, I think we can put ourselves in position. If we’re not executing, then the game might be a little too large for us.”

“But we definitely want to play a team like Palmyra in our place, and it’s just another experience. We want to win a holiday tournament.”

They’ll get their chance Tuesday.

The schedule for Tuesday is as follows: Boys Consolation- Oley Valley vs. Donegal, 2 p.m.; Girls Consolation- Ephrata vs. McCaskey, 4 p.m.; Boys Final- Ephrata vs. Palmyra, 6 p.m.; Girls Final- Palmyra vs. Lampeter-Strasburg, 8 p.m.

Last Wednesday in Section Two action, Ephrata captured its first win of the season with a 42-39 victory on the road at Elizabethtown.

The Mounts trailed 34-32 heading to the fourth quarter before out-scoring the Bears 10-5 down the stretch to earn the victory.

Matt McGillan led the way with a game-high 21 points while freshman Zach McGillan added 10 in the victory.

Following Tuesday’s tournament finale, Ephrata returns to Section Two action January 5 with then Mounts host Conestoga Valley.


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