Streaking Mounts shoot down CV

By on January 8, 2014

Ephrata’s Brady Sipe goes up for two of his 14 points Monday vs. Conestoga Valley (Photo by Stan Hall)

Ephrata’s Brady Sipe goes up for two of his 14 points Monday vs. Conestoga Valley (Photo by Stan Hall)

Ephrata is getting hot at the right time.

Monday night at home vs. Conestoga Valley, the Mounts turned in an impressive offensive display en route to a 73-63 victory over the Buckskins.

Ephrata was clicking on all cylinders at the offensive end, canning a whopping 11, three-pointers. And it wasn’t just one guy as five Mounts finished in double figures in scoring on the evening.

Aaron Hubbard led the scoring barrage with 16 points. Aaron Huston and Nathan Zimmerman each had 15 while Brady Sipe (14) and Zach Peifer (12) also reached double digits as Ephrata won its third-straight game.

“Having five players in double figures is awesome to have,” Ephrata Coach Jason Coletti said Tuesday. “We played pretty well offensively, so I think if we can do that we can obviously do well in games.”

The three-game winning streak, which upped their record to 4-2 in Section Two play (5-5 overall), is the first one Ephrata has enjoyed since Coletti took over the helm three years ago.

While Monday’s game was off the charts offensively, Coletti does feel his team’s ability to score the ball is what has fueled its surge.

“We’re putting the ball in the basket,” he said. “We are shooting the ball better…(Monday) we had 11 threes which was more than half of our points. I think we’re really clicking on offense, sharing the basketball and starting to get some confidence. We’ve strung a couple wins together, and you always feel good after a win, and you see the confidence building.”

Monday, Peifer came off the bench and kickstarted the offense early, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the first half. Ephrata built a double-digit lead early, but as has been the case in recent games, the Mounts did allow the Buckskins to draw close and led just 31-25 at the break.

“We find ways to get big leads and then we always let teams back in it,” Coletti said. “That’s one area where we need to improve. They kind of lose focus, and I think shot selection becomes an issue at times. It’s just part of the growing process I guess.”

Ephrata did recover and out-score the Buckskins 20-13 in the third to open it back up. The Mounts then closed it out with a 22-point fourth quarter to finally put away the Buckskins.

CV (0-6, 0-11) finished with three players in double figures as Connor Whitacre led the way with 12 points. Jamaar Parker added 11 and Javon Merrero finished with 10 in the loss.

With the win, Ephrata is now just one game behind section leader Lebanon (5-1, 9-2) and is two games ahead of Cocalico (2-4, 4-6), which comes to town Wednesday night in a huge game for both schools.

The last time these two teams met in Ephrata last February, it took three overtimes before the Eagles sealed an 85-82 victory. An Ephrata win, and the Mounts would own a commanding three-game lead over the Eagles for one of the two playoff spots awarded to Section Two. An Eagle win would bring them to within a game of Ephrata and would set up for an exciting rest of the regular season.

Coletti said he expects a typical barnburner between these two teams.

“I told the kids, both teams could be 0-10 and it is still going to be an intense game,” he said. “It’s going to be a close game, and you just got to give second and third effort. Everybody who goes out and plays is going to give as much energy and effort that they can to win. The records really don’t matter. Obviously, we are in a different scenario than we’ve been in the last couple years. We are actually ahead in the standings, but we need to come out and be the aggressor and take the mentality that we need to protect our home court.”

This past Saturday at home vs. E-town, in a game that was postponed from Friday night, the Mounts appeared well on their way to a blowout win.

Ephrata led 43-24 with 3:28 to go in the third quarter, and seemed to be in cruise control. However the Bears mounted a furious comeback in the fourth, and after a three-point play by Zach Polites, the Bears cut the deficit to just four (49-45) with 3:42 to go.

E-town later got it down to 53-50 on a Joe Lonardi lay-up with 1:52 to go. Fortunately for the Mounts, that’s as close as the Bears got as Hubbard went 4-for-4 from the line in the final minute to give the Mounts a 60-50 victory.

Ephrata got a career-best 16 points from senior sub Peifer while Roman Heckstall added 13 as the Mounts won two-straight games for the first time all season. Lonardi led the Bears (0-5, 1-9) with a game-high 18 points while Polites chipped in with 16 in the loss.

Peifer scored eight of his 16 in the first quarter to help the Mounts to a 16-12 lead after eight minutes of play. The Mounts then out-scored the Bears 16-5 in the second quarter to open up a double digit lead, which they then carried through to the fourth quarter when things got interesting.

In addition to Wednesday’s game with Cocalico, the Mounts travel to Lebanon Friday in what could be a battle for first place.

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