Barons hold on late to edge Cocalico

By on January 7, 2015
Cocalico’s Tucker Lescoe (right) surveys the court as Manheim Central’s Colin Brubaker approaches. Lescoe’s teammate John Waskowicz is in background.

Cocalico’s Tucker Lescoe (right) surveys the court as Manheim Central’s Colin Brubaker approaches. Lescoe’s teammate John Waskowicz is in background.

For large stretches of Tuesday night’s Section Three showdown, Cocalico went toe-to-toe with host Manheim Central and matched the Barons point for point, shot for shot.

However, twice, the Barons were able to put together mini-runs, first an 11-3 sprint to the end of the half, then a 12-0 spurt midway through the second half.

With that second run, the Barons built a seemingly insurmountable 19-point lead with 4:04 to play. Yet, the Eagles did make it interesting in the end.

Cocalico whittled the Baron advantage to just six points with 33 seconds to go before MC finally was able to secure the 67-58 victory.

Taylor Funk paced the Barons with 21 points while Matt Walsh and Tony Staffieri added 16 and 15 points respectively as Manheim (7-0 Section Three, 12-1 overall) opened up a two-game lead over the Eagles (5-2, 6-4 overall) in Section Three play.

“We just had a couple stretches where things didn’t bounce our way or maybe we made a bad decision here or there, and that’s the difference,” Cocalico Coach Travis Wealand said. “If you want to beat a team like Manheim, you have to execute all the way through the game. (Manheim) did a great job I thought. They hustled too and put themselves in a good position at the end.”

As it turned out, the Barons needed all they had because Cocalico certainly didn’t quit, despite the one-time large deficit.

With the Barons struggling from the foul line in the fourth quarter, shooting just 11-for-32, the Eagles &tstr; paced by junior point guard Tucker Lescoe’s game-high 24 points &tstr; clawed ttheir way nearly all the way back.

Cocalico drained four threes in the final four minutes, including Austin Noll’s which came at the 1:46 mark and cut the deficit to 57-49. Ian Arcudi’s triple with 1:08 to play made it 59-52 before Lescoe’s trey with 38 ticks to go cut it to 61-55.

But that was as close a they could get.

“I’m always proud of these guys,” Wealand said when asked about his team’s fight. “I feel like our team is always hustling, always working hard. They didn’t quit and they dug back into the game. We still had a chance (late). You’ve got to be proud of that. They didn’t back down and they tried to win the game.”

The Eagles certainly gave themselves every shot to win in the first half as well. Lescoe was a sizzling 5-of-8 from the field in the opening two quarters, scoring 15 of his 24 points in that time, including a trey to tie the game 16-16 late in the first period.

“We were just trying to keep him from any clean looks, but clearly it doesn’t need to be (much) for him to knock it down,” Staffieri said.

But with 6-foot-8 Funk and 6-foot-5 Walsh, the Barons had a size advantage on the Eagles, and Walsh’s inside bucket at the buzzer put Central up 18-16 after one.

“They have a lot of great people,” Wealand said of the Barons. “We were trying to change defenses on them a little bit and give them different looks, and sometimes here and there in a game when the ball moves and reverses you get out of position…and they have guys who knock down shots and that’s just a credit to how good they are. They are a great team. They got some really nice players and they are deep.”

It was still close when Cocalico’s Moses Ulysse drove for two, cutting the Barons’ lead to 30-27, with 2:40 left in the half. But Funk followed with a ‘three,’ igniting the Barons on their 11-3 run, capped by Funk’s tip-back at the buzzer, to take a 41-30 edge to the locker room.

“We hit that three and that kinda got us rolling,” Baron Coach Chris Sherwood said. “We really stressed and we thought that we just needed to take care of the ball and I thought we did that in the first half. I thought when we started to roll a little bit, it was because we had really good possessions on the offensive end.”

Colin Brubaker added a fastbreak lay-up in that stretch, but his biggest contribution in the game was the tireless work he did defending Lescoe. Staffieri added a lay-up and was in top form distributing the ball to his teammates. And Tanner Brenize excelled at the dirty work, diving for loose balls and playing tough defense.

“Colin Brubaker was unbelievable tonight defending Tucker Lescoe. Yeah, the kid still scored (24), but he’s a great player.” Sherwood said. “Tony Staffieri played about as well as you can play in the first half of that UNLV shoot-out. And Tanner Brenize deserves a lot of credit. Tanner was a workhorse.”

In the third, Fabiani’s drive cut the Eagles’ deficit to 43-36 with 4:18 left in the period. But that would be Cocalico’s last field goal for nearly nine minutes.

In the meantime, the Barons had built their advantage back to double digits, and when John Waskowicz finally ended Cocalico’s drought on a lay-up with 3:33 to go in the fourth, he cut the Eagles’ deficit to 55-41.

That set the stage for the crazy finish, which for Cocalico came up just a couple points short.

In addition to Tuesday, the Eagles also were in action Saturday at Red Lion where the Eagles came up short in a 58-49 decision.

Trailing 26-25 at the half, the Eagles were out-scored 32-24 in the second half as the home team gradually pulled away for the non-league win.

Lescoe led the Eagles with 20 points while Noll chipped in with 13 in the loss.

This past Friday, Cocalico posted a 66-45 victory over Donegal in Section Three action.

The Eagle broke away in the second half, out-scoring the Indians 35-15 over the final 16 minutes.

Lescoe led all scorers with 27 points. Waskowicz and Damien Ricks both added 10 points for Cocalico in the victory.

Staff writer Bruce Morgan contributed to this story.

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