Mounts get defensive to stop Cocalico

By on January 25, 2017
Brad DaBella of Ephrata (left) trails Cocalico’s Aidan Trynosky on his way to the hoop Tuesday night in Denver. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Brad DaBella of Ephrata (left) trails Cocalico’s Aidan Trynosky on his way to the hoop Tuesday night in Denver. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Ephrata was in need of a spark Tuesday night in its Section Two showdown at arch-rival Cocalico.

Trailing 30-27 at the half and in danger of dropping their third-straight game, the Mounts came out in the third quarter and leaned on what has fueled their success at crucial times all season long.

Ephrata buckled down, big time, at the defensive end in the third, and behind a swarming defense that produced five third-quarter turnovers, the Mounts held the Eagles without a field goal in the period.

Their 13-2 run in the third quarter gave them the lead for good and paved the way to a big 54-48 victory over the Eagles.

“We went back to our roots,” said senior Micah Krauter, who led the Mounts with 16 points. “They had an excellent first half, shooting threes and everything, but we just kept the intensity defensively and we knew that eventually they’d cool down, and they did. We played defense with the same intensity in the second half, and came out with the result that we wanted.”

With the win, Ephrata, which lost a non-league contest to Section One leader Lebanon Monday after dropping out of a first-place tie with a loss Friday night at home vs. Garden Spot, remained one game back of the Barons (9-1) as they upped their league mark to 8-2 in Section Two (13-5 overall).

L-S (7-3) trails the Mounts in third while Garden Spot (6-4), perhaps the hottest team in the section, is lurking in fourth.

“It’s huge,” Ephrata Coach Charlie Fisher said of the win. “This stretch (of games) has been tough. You get Garden Spot, who has been playing great, and then you get Lebanon, who is the best team in Section One, and then you get your rival. I mean there was no cakewalk of a game there. But we talked about just staying composed. No one was in panic mode. That was our first two-game losing streak, and we lost three of four and then have to come into a place like this…the guys on my staff who have been around this place forever knew it was going to be a dogfight regardless of any situation. And that’s the cool thing about this rivalry. It’s a fun rivalry.”

It certainly wasn’t fun for the Eagles (4-6, 4-14) in the third.

After building as big as a six-point lead (30-24) by converting at the offensive end in the first half, the well was dry for Cocalico in the third.

Cocalico went 0-for-5 from the field in the third while turning the ball over five times as Ephrata upped the pressure.

“We did not make a basket in the third quarter, and that slowed things down significantly,” Cocalico coach Seth Sigman said. “We made two foul shots and that was it. You can’t win high school basketball games when you just don’t score in a quarter. We really struggled, we got some decent looks, but just didn’t make any.”

After Austin Harven (4 points) sank one of two free throws to put Cocalico up 31-30, Brad DaBella knocked down a three to give the Mounts the lead for good with 3:38 to go in the third. Ephrata then closed out the period with a 7-1 run that was capped by Brendan Holbritter’s three with 36 seconds to go to make it 40-32 heading to the fourth.

“I thought we rushed some things in the first half,” Fisher said. “We got lucky on a couple takes, but in the second half we really did what we wanted to do. We still scored points, and we did it at a higher percentage. Overall the effort was there, and the guys executed.”

Sigman added, “When you let a team get on a run it’s hard to swing it back in your favor. “They are obviously a good team. They have a lot of wins for a reason and we don’t for a reason. We keep having a quarter or a three-minute stretch where we turn the ball over or don’t make shots and let teams go on runs. That’s just tough to dig your way out of it.”

Cocalico did not go quietly in the fourth. Austin Trynosky, who scored nine points on the night, converted a jumper in the lane with 4:32 to play which cut the Ephrata lead to 42-38.

But Ephrata was able to put it away at the foul line down the stretch, making 12 out of 17 over the final three and a half minutes to salt this one away.

“I thought our defense…we contained them in the third quarter and that gave us energy,” Fisher said. “We got good possessions, and all of those things contributed to that, and we made some fouls shots down the stretch which was key.

Nick Lucky keyed Cocalico’s success early on. The junior guard scored 10 of his game-high 17 points in the first half, and nailed a pair of big threes early in the second quarter to give the Eagles their first lead.

But Krauter hit a big three pointer just before the buzzer to get the Mounts to within three, and Ephrata kept the momentum in the third which proved to be the difference.

“It’s a huge win,” Krauter said. “They are our rivals. We grow up together and everything like that, so to beat them is a huge success for us. But that’s not our final goal. They are just a stepping stone and now we move on to the next game.”

Sigman was asked what he wanted to see out of his team over the final four games of the season.

“I want to see us compete,” he said. “We got to compete. I think we are doing a real good job of that. We are playing hard, and we told them that after the game. We can’t fault their effort. They are trying and working their tails off out there which is all we can ask. Could we have executed better against pressure tonight? Yeah. Could we have knocked down shots that we typically do? Yeah. But we just want them to play hard and compete. I want our guys to compete.”

In addition to Krauter, Zack McGillan also scored in double figures for Ephrata, dropping in 11. Nick Monteleone added 12 points for the Eagles.

Ephrata entered Tuesday’s battle not only on that two-game losing streak, but having lost three out of four.

Friday night in Section Two action at home, visiting Garden Spot jumped out to a quick 12-4 lead in the first quarter and held the Mounts at bay the rest of the way en route to a 51-40 decision.

Kyle Gordon (14) and Jordan Shewbridge (13) combined for 27 points help lift the Spartans to the victory.

Ephrata was plagued by poor foul shooting in this one as the Mounts made just 3-13 from the stripe. Krauter scored 15 points to lead the Mounts in that department as the team dropped its second Section Two contest of the season.

Monday night at home in non-league action, Section One leader Lebanon turned it on in the middle two periods to earn an eventual 50-40 victory over the Mounts.

The Cedars led 13-11 after one period before out-scoring the Mounts 19-10 over the second and third to build a double-digit lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Luis Aquino-Rios led the Cedars with 14 points while Khalique Washington added 13.

Holbritter scored all nine of his points in the fourth quarter as Ephrata tried to mount a comeback. However, the Cedars hit their foul shots down the stretch to salt this one away.

Xavian Rodriguez led the Mounts with 11 points while DaBella chipped in with 10.

Cocalico also was in non-league action Monday night at home vs. Conrad Weiser where the visiting Scouts overcame a six-point half-time deficit to earn an eventual 56-50 win over the Eagles.

Alex Druckenmiller and Nathan Dobb both scored 22 points apiece to pace the Scouts (11-6).

Lucky scored 11 for Cocalico while Trynosky and Connor Mack both tallied 10 points apiece.

The Eagles also were in action Friday night on the road at Solanco where the host Mules held off a late Eagle rally to capture a 50-47 victory.

Monteleone scored 17 points and Trynosky added 15 for Cocalico in the loss.

Solanco’s Robbie McHugh led all scorers with a game-high 22 points.

Up next, both Ephrata and Cocalico will be in action Friday night as the Mounts travel to Donegal while Cocalico hits the road to face Section Two leading Manheim Central.

Next Tuesday, Ephrata returns home to face Solanco while the Eagles travel to Donegal.


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