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GS Softballers Face Four Straight Games April 14, 2017

If anyone from the Garden Spot softball team says they had a very busy week leading up to Easter weekend, believe them. The team's schedule included four games on four consecutive days from Monday through Thursday.

"One of the games was a make-up from Friday," explained head coach Kim King in a phone interview. "It's probably our hardest week so far, but we do have another week coming up with four games."

Though the week opened with the Spartans losing at Conestoga Valley for their first league loss of the season on Monday, they came back home and posted back-to-back wins to improve their record to 5-2 (4-1 in league).

In that 6-2 loss to CV, both Spartan runs came off the bat of Sydney Nichols. She singled to drive in two runs in the top of the fourth inning, cutting the Buckskins' lead to 3-2 at the time. The senior drove in Megan Fisher, who had doubled, and Elizabeth King. The Buckskins added three more in the home half of the fifth.

King pitched a complete game, striking out six and allowing only seven runs and one walk.

CV remained undefeated in the league at 4-0.

Garden Spot returned home for its next two games, starting with a league game against Lebanon on Tuesday. The team put up 12 runs on eight hits for a 12-3 win.

"Everyone contributed," said King. "Their pitcher was slower, so we had to adjust. Once we did that, we started hitting and really did well.

"Elizabeth King drove in three and Brandi Clark had two RBI," said King. "Sydney Nichols also had two RBI. She had been struggling a bit and she came out of it. She hit our only double of the game."

Abi Foor had two singles as did King, who pitched the Spartans to victory.

Wednesday the Spartans edged the Elizabethtown Bears 7-6. In the first few innings of this game, King was touched for four runs, three of which were unearned. Garden Spot actually trailed 4-0 until a five-run fourth inning by the home team.

"She was definitely tired," said King of her pitcher. "She struggled in the middle innings and was not hitting her spots.

"Abi Fricke, our catcher, went out to talk to her and helped her get back in line," King stated. "She started hitting her spots after that. They worked really well together."

King also helped herself at the plate, driving in two run on a double. She also scored run.

Nichols had two more RBI plus a run scored. Kelly Martin went 1-for-3 with a run as did Fisher. Clark, Foor and Camryn Focht also scored a run.

GIRLS' LACROSSe

The girls' lacrosse team poured it on offensively against Palmyra in a non-league match last Monday. The Spartans scored 11 goals, which was the highest offensive output of the season so far.

"We were controlling the draw very well," said head coach Jen Leman in a phone interview. "We were shooting more where we had trouble getting shots off in other games."

Despite six goals in the first half and five more in the second, the Spartans fell to the Cougars 21-11.

Garden Spot got hat tricks from Aubrey Gonzalez as well as Aubrey Eberly. Olivia Usner, who is one of the team's top scorers, added two more.

"Olivia is a hard-working athlete," Leaman remarked. "She has that drive to win and she is only a freshman.

"Eberly has really stepped up and has been improving in each game this year," she added.

Sophomores Sophie Torrance and Lillian Leaman each scored once while senior Kayla Beiler had one goal and an assist.

Leaman was asked whether seeing the offense firing on all cylinders was a small victory for the young squad.

"Yes, it definitely was," she replied. "We had two of our starters out and had other girls step up. Kiersten Ellsworth is out with a concussion. Carly Esh stepped up from junior varsity and was taking the draw. We were doing well there.

"Others are finding out how to play with each other," continued the coach. "I have a lot of freshmen and sophomores playing with my returning seniors. It finally clicked in that game."

Spartan goalkeeper Megan Jefferis made four saves.

"She is a brand new goalie" said Leaman. "She faces a lot of shots, but really does well with what we've been able to teach her in a short amount of time. My defense works hard every game."

Jefferis had 11 saves Tuesday afternoon against Lancaster-Lebanon League rival Warwick. The Warriors were coming off a 10-8 defeat of L-L League powerhouse Manheim Township.

Usner had two goals and an assist in the 26-3 loss. Leaman scored the other goal while Beiler got the assist.

Garden Spot fell to 0-7 on the year and 0-5 in league play.

BASEBALL

The Spartans got great pitching in back-to-back games, including six shutout innings by senior starter Ryan Smith.

On Monday they blanked Cocalico 7-0. Smith went six innings, striking out five and scattering three singles before giving way to Aiden Bracken, who wrapped up the shutout with a scoreless seventh, setting down two batters on strikes.

"He did a great job of locating his fastball and keeping them off-balance with his curveball," said Spartan skipper J.D. Stern. "If you're throwing hard enough and you're throwing your second pitch for strikes, that's usually enough to keep the other team off balance.

"With the new pitch count, we had to take him out in the seventh," Stern added.

Smith also helped his cause by going 2-for-4 with one RBI. Fellow senior Zach Skinner also had two hits and drove in a pair of runs. Austin Wanner, who had the Spartans' only stolen base, was also 2-for-4 with a RBI and two runs scored. Bracken hit the only double of the game and went 2-for-4 with a run. Leadoff man Brock Kauffman was 1-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. He also worked two walks and raised his batting average to .467.

"Brock is probably one of the top three players in the league," Stern said. "He is a four-year starter and is going to East Stroudsburg University on a scholarship."

In Wednesday's game against visiting Northern Lebanon, the Spartans got a great effort from Jordan Petersheim. The junior went 6 2/3 innings before the Vikings started a four-run rally that spelled defeat for Garden Spot by a 5-3 margin.

"We were leading 3-1 going into the seventh inning and they had two outs with a runner on first," Stern explained. "They ended up getting four straight hits to take the lead. We were close; we just got beat at the end. For six and two-thirds of an inning, we had great pitching and defense."

"Petersheim was 2-0 coming into this game," Stern noted. "He hadn't given up an earned run."

Bracken relieved Petersheim and inherited the base runners that ended up scoring on a double he gave up before eventually ending the Vikings' rally.

The loss dropped the Spartans' overall record to 3-4 and to 3-2 in the league.

Skinner, Kauffman and Cameron Heilman each had an RBI for the Spartans. Through the first six games of the season, Skinner had been batting .500 to lead the team while junior Andrew Crossan was hitting .375.

TRACK & FIELD

The Garden Spot girls posted a 103-44 victory on Monday in an L-L League meet with the Lebanon Cedars.

Kayleigh Hamer and Michaiah Messner were multiple winners for the Spartans. Hamer won the high hurdles in 16.4 seconds and ran the 400-meter dash in 67.1 seconds.

Messner took three of the field events, high-jumping to a 4-foot-8 victory, long jumping (15-05) as well as going 32-03.75 in the triple jump. She also sprinted to victory in the 200-m in 29.0.

Also in the field, Carysse Norris won the pole vault with a 9-6 while Sydney Fitzwater's 99-foot discus toss also got a victory.

Always reliable in the distance events, Mackenzie Watkins took the 1,600 (6:15.4) and the 3,200 (14:49.40).

Cassidy Hoover's time of 52.4 seconds was good for first in the 300-m hurdles.

The Lebanon boys' team defeated Garden Spot 117-29 to drop the Spartans to 0-3 on the year.

VOLLEYBALL

In an exciting match with three hotly-contested games, the Spartans topped Lebanon 3-1 on Tuesday. The Spartans opened with a 28-26 victory and played the second game into extra time, of sorts, seeing the Cedars prevail 27-25.

With the match tied 1-1, the Spartans ended up on top in the next close game, winning 25-23 before wrapping it up 25-13 in the fourth game.

Carter Eby got 15 kills and registered three blocks. Connor Horst had four aces while a match-leading total of 25 assists came courtesy of Colin Elliott. Devin Weaver added six digs.

The win improved Garden Spot's mark to 3-1 in the league.

BOYS LACROSSE

Garden Spot rebounded from its 19-3 loss at Palmyra and returned home and posted their first win of the season, topping Cedar Cliff 13-10 in another non-league match Tuesday.

In the victory, which improved the Spartans' record to 1-7, leading scorer Clayton Dimon was all over the Colts' defense, scoring four goals and assisting on four more. Among the beneficiaries of said assists were Carter Combs and Benton Moyer, each of whom recorded a hat trick to go along with two assists.

The Colts out-shot the Spartans 31-24 but with goalie Seth Strausser (21 saves) the Spartans defended well.

Owen Reich, Jesse Mast and Zeb Fisher each netted one goal and recorded an assist. Kyle McHugh also assisted on one goal.

0

Spartan Tracksters Challenge Solanco April 7, 2017

Garden Spot was at Solanco on Monday in a Lancaster-Lebanon League track and field meet. The Garden Spot girls came up short 94-54 while the Solanco boys also won, posting a score of 115-26.

The Spartans got a pair of first-place performances in the boys' meet. In the discus, junior Bailey Coon won with a distance of 105-foot-11 and also claimed the shot put with a 40-05.25 throw.

"That was a season-best throw for Bailey," said Lei Williams, the Spartans head coach.

Neftalie Padilla-Gonzalez took third in the shot put with a 38-03.25 heave.

Trevor Lehman was another star performer in the field events for the boys' team. The senior got an 18-06 in the long jump and a 39-05 triple jump measurement, claiming second place in both events.

While William Lewis won the 100-meter hurdles in 18.7 seconds, Brylan Eberly's 300 intermediate hurdles time of 48.6 seconds and Kyle Hall's 2:17.3 in the 800-m were both good enough for third place. Conner Burger took third place (20.7) in the 100 hurdles.

In the girls' competition, the Spartans placed first in five events. Included in those wins was Michaiah Messner's top finishes in the 100-m dash (14.2) and triple jump (31-06).

"The girls outscored Solanco in the sprints, taking first and second in the 100 and 200 plus second and third in the 400," Williams noted. "I was very proud of the effort that the girls gave. We only had nine girls to compete on the track and in the jumping due to the GSPA show at school.

"Some of the girls had to run events they don't typically run and they rose to the challenge," continued the coach.

Erna Hamzic not only won the 200-m dash in 29.3 seconds, she was that second-place finisher (14.5) Williams spoke of in the 100. Carysse Norris took second (29.9) in the 200. Hamzi also came through as the second-place finisher in the 400 (1:11.0) while third place in the 100 hurdles went to Faith Coblentz (19.4) and to Hope Brizendine in the 400 (1:24.0).

Norris won the pole vault with a 9-0 vault. Messner came in second in the high jump (4-06) while junior Skylar Mohler was second in the javelin toss with a 90-02 distance. Sydney Fitzwater's 97-06 discus toss was also second.

BOYS LACROSSE

The Spartans came up short in a league game at Ephrata on Monday evening. The Mountaineers broke a 1-1 deadlock in the second quarter for seven unanswered goals. Though Garden Spot put up three goals in a third-quarter comeback bid, the Mounts held on for an 18-7 win.

Clay Dimon and Steven Reimold each scored twice for Garden Spot while Benton Moyer, Jesse Mast and Jake Shupe each netted one goal.

The offense was aggressive putting up 20 shots on goal to Ephrata's 29.

Seth Strausser recorded 10 saves for the Spartans.

"Seth has picked up and doing a phenomenal job there for us," said head coach Max Reyn of his goalie.

The team is young and finding its stride, according to the head coach.

"The team is starting to mesh together," said Rey. "We only have one returning varsity player.

We're seeing some positive team building and camaraderie. The kids are understanding the way the game is played."

Caden Keefer and Dylan Lindberg each scored four goals for Ephrata.

Wednesday's home game against Conestoga Valley was another one in which the Spartans kept pace with their opponent, heading into the second quarter tied 2-2. It was only a one-goal game at the half before the Buckskins went on a 3-1 run en route to a 10-5 victory.

Dimon led the team with two goals and an assist.

"Clay Dimon is our leading scorer," Rey said. "He is one of the captains and the kids look up to him as a leader."

Zeb Fisher and Reimhold each scored a goal while Moyer scored a goal and assisted on another.

"We transitioned Moyer from defense to attack," said Rey. "He's a sophomore and has been filling his role nicely."

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

Garden Spot bounced back nicely from a Tuesday night loss at Cocalico to defeat L-L League foe Ephrata 3-0 on Thursday. The Spartans improved to 2-1 in the L-L League (2-3 overall).

The Eagles edged the Spartans 25-22 in the first set of Tuesday's match. They hung on for a 25-19 victory in the second set before winning the third set 25-14.

Davon Martin's 13 assists sparked the Spartans as did the five digs and pair of aces by Devin Weaver. Carter Eby led the team with five kills while Cocalico's Deep Bhaveni had a match-high seven kills.

Garden Spot was not going to let up on its home court Thursday night. The matches were close with scores of 25-20, 25-23 and a lot of extra serves to decide the third set by a 28-26 margin.

Eby had a match-high 12 kills and led the home team with nine digs. Martin compiled 29 assists, which was a match-leading total, while Nate Good served up two aces. Weaver registered a pair of blocks.

Trey Farlow had nine kills and two aces to lead the Mountaineers.

SOFTBALL

Garden Spot needed one more inning to claim Tuesday's game against league foe Solanco. Brandi Clark had a triple and scored a run out of the lead-off spot in a game where they got eight hits.

Senior Emily Shopf went 2-for-2 with a run. She drew two bases on balls. Solanco pitching issued seven walks on the day.

Megan Fisher came through with three base hits, including a double, and a run batted in. Fisher, who also had a steal, came around and scored all three times she was on base.

Elizabeth King scored two runs and drove in another. She pitched the entire eight innings and allowed only five earned runs, striking out six batters and working out of a few jams (12 hits).

King notched another victory in Wednesday's 15-5 defeat of Ephrata on the road. The Spartans had 11 hits and used a four-run second inning to overtake a 4-1 early deficit. They tacked on three more in the second and kept the momentum going into the fourth with a four spot.

King had seven strikeouts and pitched a four-hitter. The Spartans improved to 2-0 in the league and 3-2 overall.

BASEBALL

Garden Spot overcame an early 4-0 deficit at home on Wednesday in a Section Two game against Manheim Central. But the Barons put together a five-run fifth inning and held on for a 9-6 victory.

The Spartans' offense was led by leadoff man Brock Kauffman, who went 2-for-4 with a home run and three runs batted in. Cleanup hitter Zach Skinner also had two hits. He drove in a run and scored another.

The Barons out-hit the Spartans 13-9. Also reaching base for the Spartans were Austin Wanner, who went 1-for-2 with a double and, oddly enough, was hit by a pitch twice. Senior Ryan Smith drew three walks and scored once.

Dylan Crosson got two hits batting out of the number nine spot. Freddy Santos was 1-for-3 with a run. Chris Petersheim went 1-for-1 with an RBI.

On Monday, it was a tough first inning for the Spartans in the non-league game against Governor Mifflin. The Mustangs' five-run first proved to be the difference because the Spartans did come back with a four-run sixth inning to go along with single runs in the third inning as well as their last at bat.

The Mustangs won 10-6.

Ryan Smith had a pair of RBI's for the Spartans. He drove in Brock Kauffman on one of those as the senior leadoff man went 1-for-3 with two runs scored. Kauffman also walked and stole a base.

Skinner got another RBI out of the cleanup spot and came around to score.

Santos did not have a hit, but did drive in a run on a sacrifice fly. Aiden Bracken (1-for-4), Crossan (1-for-4) and Cameron Hellman (1-for-2) had the other Spartan singles with Bracken driving in a run and the others each scoring a run. Crossan also came on in relief to pitch one scoreless inning.

GIRLS LACROSSE

The Spartans played two games in three days against L-L League rivals this past week. They hosted the Ephrata Mountaineers on Monday and despite a seven-goal attack, came up short 15-7. Wednesday's game at Conestoga Valley ended with the Buckskins winning 16-5.

The Spartans had 15 shots on goal in the Ephrata game and scored five goals before halftime.

Two youngsters led the Spartans in scoring. Sophomore Amanda Rider and freshman Olivia Usner each scored twice with the latter also dishing off an assist.

Kiresten Ellsworth, Aubrey Eberly and Lillian Leaman each netted one goal. Ellsworth, Sophie Torrance and Kayla Beiler contributed with one assist each.

Fighting off an attack that included 24 shots on goal by the Mountaineers, Garden goalie Megan Jefferis notched eight saves on the day.

Rider had a hat trick in the loss to CV. Osner and Leaman scored the other two Garden Spot goals as the Buckskins out-shot Spot 29-10. Jefferis made 10 saves for the visitors.

Garden Spot fell to 0-5 overall and 0-4 in the L-L League.

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GS Volleyball Team Holds off LMH, Bows to MT March 31, 2017

The Garden Spot boys' volleyball team played a pair of non-league matches to get its 2017 season underway.

In Monday's season opener at Spring Grove, the Spartans got their season off to a strong start. Though the Rockets came away with a 3-1 victory, the Spartans were in it for much of the match.

The opening set went to the home team as the Rockets edged the Spartans 25-20. The second set was an even closer battle with the Spartans staying in it all the way to the final few serves before the Rockets took off with a 25-22 win.

Garden Spot, which got a match-leading 20 kills from junior Carter Eby, took the third set 25-23. Eby also finished with five blocks - also a match high.

Also leading Garden Spot was Colin Elliott. The senior dished out 35 assists while juniors Devin Weaver and Connor Horst each registered 12 digs. Both Nate Good and Isaac Hudik served up a pair of aces.

Spring Grove withstood the Spartans' comeback bid by winning the fourth set 25-16.

In Tuesday's match at Manheim Township, a couple of close sets were sandwiched around a 25-16 Township victory. The Streaks won 25-20 in the opener and recorded a 25-18 win in the third.

Eby led everyone with 11 kills. Horst came away with eight digs while Elliott chipped in with 21 assists. Good served up one ace and registered two blocks.

Garden Spot returned home for a Lancaster-Lebanon League match on Thursday night, playing host to Lancaster Mennonite.

And when you've gotten off to a 0-2 start on your season, a great time to notch your first victory might just be in your first league match.

Garden Spot was again tenacious on the court, and this time the results went in favor of the Spartans, which came back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2.

The Blazers won the opening set in a dogfight, 26-24. The visiting team dominated the second set 25-13. But the Spartans pulled off a 25-22 victory and did all the little things right to hang on for a 25-21 win to force a tiebreaker. Garden Spot drilled the volleyball to the right spots on the Mennonite side of the court, collecting 15 points to the Blazers' nine.

Eby shared a match-high 11 kills with Mennonite's Adam Peachey. Eby also had two blocks. Elliott distributed the ball nicely, collecting a match-high 34 assists and also picked up a pair of blocks. Horst got 14 digs while Hubik led the way with a match-high six aces.

SOFTBALL

The Spartans evened their record at 1-1 with an 11-4 victory over Governor Mifflin last Thursday. The game was a make-up from what was supposed to be the season opener for Garden Spot, but was postponed due to rain.

Instead of hosting the Mustangs on Monday, the Spartans took to the road for their first game, playing at Tulpehocken on Wednesday.

In what was a clash between historic armies, the Trojans edged the Spartans 4-2 despite an outstanding pitching performance by sophomore starter Elizabeth King.

"She's a young pitcher," said head coach Kim King in a phone interview. "It's her first year pitching for our school. Last year she was a third baseman.

"The first game was also a learning experience for her and our catcher," King added.

The Trojans struck first, getting two runs in the home half of the first inning. One of King's pitches went for a home run.

The Spartans responded quickly, tying the score in the next inning. Kelly Martin got a single to drive in a run after Abi Fricke had reached on an error. Brandi Clark's hit drove in Martin later in the inning.

"We had some good hitting," said King. "It was timely hitting, but just not enough."

Tulpehocken got single runs in the fourth and sixth for the winning margin.

"We had a couple of errors late in the game that hurt us," said King. "Both of their last two runs were unearned runs. Elizabeth had 11 strikeouts."

The head coach pointed out that the team is beginning to gel. The fact that there were no preseason scrimmages and poor weather conditions forcing the team to practice indoors have been factors early on.

"Because of the weather, we had indoor practices," she said. "We hadn't been on dirt. That could've led to those fielding errors."

Following the home game against Governor Mifflin, the head coach was pleased with a lot of what she had seen.

"Today we proved that we figured it out," she said. "We had nine hits, including a three-run home run by Megan Fisher, who drove in five runs on the day. Elizabeth allowed only three earned runs. She had nine strikeouts."

The Spartans also got two hits from Clark, who had another RBI. Sydney Nichols had three runs batted in on two hits, including a double.

"Syd Nichols is one of our captains and does a lot for us," said King.

"Kelly Martin got an RBI on a groundout and right after that we broke it open," the coach commented. "After that run, we went on to score four more. It was a great lift for our team."

GIRLS LACROSSE

Following a season-opening loss at home to Berks Catholic, the Spartans hosted Hempfield in an L-L League match last Wednesday.

The Knights' offense was on the mark in this game as they collected 20 goals on 25 shots in a 20-2 win.

The two Spartan goals came unassisted courtesy of Olivia Usner and Kiersten Ellsworth.

The Knights got a five-goal effort from freshman Lindsey Durkota.

In the Berks Catholic game, the lone Spartan goal came from Ellsworth in a 15-1 defeat.

BOYS LACROSSE

The boys' lacrosse team opened the season at home, facing Twin Valley in a non-league match on Saturday morning, March 25. The Raiders came away with a 16-4 victory over the Spartans with four players notching hat tricks. Zach Gardner, one of those three goal players, also had three assists.

Garden Spot goals came from Benton Moyer, who scored twice, as well as Clayton Dimon and Steve Reimold while Jacob Mast and Zeb Fisher provided assist.

Guarding the goal for Garden Spot was Seth Strausser. The senior snagged eight saves.

The Spartans moved on to play Lampeter-Strasburg in an L-L League match on Monday. The Pioneers were one of the league's toughest teams last year and they played a strong match against the Spartans, winning it 19-5.

The Spartans got off 18 shots in the match, but only capitalized on five of them. Dimon notched a hat trick. With his three goals and one assist, he led the team in scoring. Moyer and Fisher each netted one goal.

The Pioneers got five goals from Tyler Zameroski, who also assisted on three other goals.

Facing 35 L-S shots, Strausser recorded 13 saves.

Things didn't get any easier for the Spartans' schedule as they hosted Hempfield on Wednesday night. The Knights out-shot the Spartans 27-5, but Dimon kept his scoring streak going with one goal. Mast scored the other Garden Spot goal while Reimold got an assist.

Strausser came away with 12 saves as the Spartans fell to 0-2 in the L-L League (0-3 overall).

TRACK & FIELD

Garden Spot took on Manheim Central last Monday afternoon at New Holland. The Barons won both the boys' and girls' meets in this L-L League clash.

Though the girls' meet went to Central by a final of 109-39, head coach Lei Williams was pleased.

"The girls performed well in the field events and tied Manheim Central in points in those events," Williams said.

In the high jump, Michaiah Messner finished second with a 4-foot-6 jump, narrowly missing first place. She also claimed second in the long jump with a 14-10  effort while freshman Erna Hamzic took third place (12-8 ı).

"Michaiah Messner had a standout performance in the triple jump and Sydney Fitzwater in the discus and shot put," Williams added. "Michaiah placed first in the triple jump and Sydney placed first in the shot put and discus."

With a 92-foot toss, Fitzwater won the discus event. Her distance of 31-2 fl was best in the shot put.

In her first-place finish in the triple jump, Messner registered a distance of 31-1 ı.

Garden Spot's Morgan Gooch got second-place finishes in both the javelin (85-8) and the shot put (30-3) while Carysse Noriss took second in the pole vault with a nine-foot effort.

On the track, Messner took third in the 100-meter dash with a 13.7. In the 1,600 run, cross country standout Mackenzie Watkins took third in 6:15.4. She also finished third in the 800.

Kayleigh Hamer, a returning senior, was second in the 400 (1:06) while Jasmine Arment took third in the 200 with 31.1. Faith Coblentz's time of 54.4 was good for a third-place finish in the 300- hurdles.

Spartan senior Trevor Lehman got a second-place distance of 19-3  in the long jump. His 39-10 ı was good for second place in the triple jump.

Bailey Coon won the shot put for the Spartans with a 42-10 fl while Neftalie Padilla was third with a 39-4 .

"In the boys' field events, Trevor Lehman and Baily Coon did well," said Williams.

On the track, Kyle Hall grabbed second in the 800 (2:18.9) while teammate Colton Gehr took third at 2:22.7. Second place in the 400 went to Spenser Kehlor with a time of 57.53. Third-place finishes in the 200 (25.2) and the 3200 (12:01.6) went to Jeff Harley and Shane Esbenshade, respectively.

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Spartans Fall Short in Qualifying for States March 3, 2017

Garden Spot boys' basketball coach Ryan Trupe described it perfectly.

"We got one game away from qualifying for the state playoffs," Trupe said. "You put yourself in the opportunity to get there but it didn't work out that way."

He was referring to the heartbreaking 54-43 loss the Spartans suffered at the hands of the Hershey Trojans on Monday night. At the neutral site of Warwick High School, the Trojans held on to top the Spartans in a District Three Class-5A consolation semi-final game. The winning Trojans (13-12) not only earned a trip to PIAA state championships, they also got to take on New Oxford in the ninth- and 10th-place game.

Garden Spot, whose season ended with a 15-10 record, had defeated Dover in the first round of the consolations back on Thursday back at New Holland. Garden Spot, the 11th seed in the district championships, had gotten by the number 14 seed Dover Eagles.

"It was a tight first half, but we had a big third quarter," Trupe said of the Dover game. "We got a lot of easy baskets inside, pretty much on drives. We had a lot of stops in the third quarter against them."

But in the Hershey game, the Spartans had to battle back most of the way.

"We got out to an awful start," Trupe noted. "We were down 16-3 at one point."

In fact, the Spartans got only those three points for the entire first quarter. However, they did fight back and outscored the Trojans 18-9 in the second quarter.

"In the second quarter, we got some stops on defense and that helped us get a run," Trupe noted. "We got a three-pointer from Cameron Sensenig to take a lead, But back they came and scored with half a second left in the half.

Indeed, the Trojans had the last word in that half, taking a 23-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.

"We struggled to put the ball in the hoop," Trupe continued. "We had been getting out to really good starts in our recent games, so this was different. Our guys refused to go away though; they continued to fight all night, but we were always climbing uphill."

The Trojans took a reachable four-point lead into the final period where they finished with an 18-11 run.

Jordan Shewbridge and Keontae Nunn each scored 10 points to lead Garden Spot. Shewbridge nailed three three-pointers and Nunn scorched two more. Brenday Bradley had a pair of three's and went 2-for-2 at the foul line to tally up his eight points of the game.

"Jordan Shewbridge and Brendan Bradley were our top scorers this year," Trupe noted. "But we got great contributions from everybody. We had si seniors on the team. This one game doesn't overshadow what they've done for us. Every athlete goes through the realization that your time is up."

Hershey had come into the tournament as the number 15 seed and holding on to an 11-11 record.

"They've been on the inconsistent side," Trupe said of the Trojans. "They've had some really good wins, but been up and down. They were definitely good against us. It was a comparable match for us, size-wise and ability-wise. It was a question of who would play better on a given night and it was them."

As the Spartans wrapped up their season, Trupe commented, "There was a lot of pride in our school and our community this year and it continued to grow. That is attributed a lot to our guys."

WRESTLING

In the District Three Class-AAA South Central Region Championships, Gary Clark earned his ticket to the PIAA state tournament with a second-place finish in the 138-pound weight class.

In the district tournament, which began on Thursday, February 23 at Hershey, Clark wrapped things up with a tough 5-3 loss to Lower Dauphin's Clayton Ulrey in the championship bout. Clark, who had earned a bye in Thursday's first round, defeated a familiar foe in the second round - Grayson Charles of Solanco. He then dominated his semi-finals foe 10-3.

"He took a big step forward this year," remarked head coach Adam Bunting. "He has become a more physical wrestler this year and also technical. He already knew how to make the moves last year. He has more physicality to make them. He flows really well from one move to the other.

"That came into play in the district semis," continued the coach. "He came out with a trick move to get himself an early five-point lead even though the kid he wrestled might have thought he was going to have an easy match against Gary. Those five points early on really shifted the match in his favor."

Also, playing on the Garden Spot gridiron gang has helped keep up the physical tenacity.

"Playing football helped him," Bunting added. "He played defensive back where you have to make tough tackles and he's only 145 pounds."

Juniors Connor Finkey and Christian Schilling both made it to the semifinals of their respective weight classes.

Finkey suffered an 8-3 loss in the 145-pound semis, losing to eventual champ Tucker Brough of Big Spring. Brough improved his record to 39-5 with the 1-0 victory in the title match.

Finkey's fourth-place finish, however, earned him a spot in the state tournament. He fought to a 6-3 victory over Paul Feite of Northern York in the consolation semis, but lost the third-fourth place match.

"Connor was the dark horse for us," Bunting aid. "He was battling a shoulder injury earlier. He got a good week of practice and had his best tournament. He went in and got two wins on that first night. He put the Hershey kid on his back in a 2-2 match. He finished strong and fought through the injury."

Schilling reached the semifinals of the 132-pound weight class. He did so after a 9-0 major decision over Penn Manor's Alex Laughlin in the opening round and an 8-3 defeat of Chambersburg sophomore Cole Grove. This improved Schilling's season record to 32-6.

"Last year he made districts and didn't make it to the second day," Bunting noted. "We talked about taking it one match at a time."

Central Dauphin junior Andrew Wert, who entered the tournament with a 39-2 record, stopped the Spartan junior from reaching the championship match, edging Schilling 5-4.

"We knew going into the semis that he was up against a kid that was very talented," said Bunting. "We knew the odds were going to against him, but he wrestled very well. Going into the third period, it was a tied match at 3-3. He lost 5-4, so it was a great match."

In the consolations, T.T. Elhaji of Lower Dauphin got past Schilling with a 10-3 decision and went on to claim third place, defeating Jake Meyer of Spring Grove for that spot. Schilling settled for sixth place when Grove avenged his second-round 8-3 defeat with a 7-1 decision that claimed fifth place.

Bunting also pointed out Schilling's team presence and support.

"Even though he wasn't going on to states, he still came out to practice on Monday to support Gary and Connor. He was there pushing them on."

0

Spartans Defeat Dover, Qualify For States February 24, 2017

The Garden Spot boys' basketball team faced Milton Hershey on the road Monday night in an opening round game of the District Three Class 5A playoffs.

It was a battle between two schools that both chose to call their sports teams "Spartans." The Spartans from Hershey prevailed 73-59 in a game that was very even until the third quarter, which was where Hershey went on a 20-7 run and held on for the win. Garden Spot had actually taken a slim 36-35 lead into the locker room at halftime.

"It was the third quarter for us," said head coach Ryan Trupe. "Other than that, it was kind of nip and tuck. We would pull ahead and they would come back.

"We were putting the ball in the hoop," Trupe continued. "We hit seven three's in the first half. Brendan Bradley had two of them and Jordan Shewbridge had five."

Milton Hershey, which entered the tournament as the sixth seed, improved to 18-4. The MH Spartans got a team-high 22 from Keonte Lucas, who sank four three-point field goals on the night. Chris Sampson poured in 20 more points.

Garden Spot got a game-high 23 from Shewbridge. The guard was on fire, drilling half a dozen three-point field goals for 18 of those 23 points.

"He's a very streaky kid," Trupe said. "He had five three's in the second quarter. The rim gets bigger for him. Our guys did a nice job finding him while he found ways to get open.

"Our guys realized he had a hot hand going and they were finding him in his spots," continued the coach.

Bradley added to the Spartans' outside shooting success. He made three treys and finished with a total of 14 points. Kyle Gordon scored nine points and Joe Craver made three baskets for his six points.

"Kyle Gordon also had 18 rebounds," Trupe pointed out.

The loss did not end Garden Spot's season, however. The Spartans (14-9) got the opportunity to compete among the other seven teams that lost their first-round games. Since the PIAA state playoffs will take the top 10 teams from District Three 5A, the Spartans got the chance to battle for ninth place in a consolation game.

"District Three 5A level is the biggest district," Trupe explained. "We get the most bids at states. You get your chance to earn your way to the state tournament."

The consolations began Thursday with Garden Spot hosting the Dover Eagles, who lost their first-round game to third-seeded Palmyra - the team Milton Hershey School was scheduled to play on that same night in the quarterfinals.

The Spartans took care of things on their home court, beating the Eagles 65-44. In this game, the third quarter went in Garden Spot's favor as the team outscored Dover 17-4 to increase its 31-27 halftime lead to 17 points.

Gordon put up eight baskets and hit a three-pointer as well on his way to a 22-point night. Cameron Sensenig drilled a pair of three-pointers and compiled 14 points while Bradley scored 10. Shewbridge made one three-pointer and finished with nine points.

Brady Bowman led the Eagles with 15 points.

WRESTLING

Garden Spot's wrestling team finished eighth in the team standings at the District Three Sectionals Section One tournament at Governor Mifflin on Saturday, February 18. Exeter finished with 234 team points followed by Mifflin (158) and Wilson (152.5). The Spartans compiled 97.5 points.

A major contributor to the team was Christian Schilling, who claimed first place in the 132-pound weight class.

Following his first-round bye, Schilling notched a pin 2:57 into the second round and battled to a 7-5 semifinal win. The championship match had Schilling pitted against Jordan Hartranft of Conestoga Valley. He prevailed 6-1.

The L-L League champion at 145, Gary Clark also won the sectionals championship. Clark skipped the first round and got a 14-3 major decision over Josh Harple of Ephrata. He pinned his next opponent in the first period of the semifinal match and completed his day with a championship match pin.

Connor Finkey was unstoppable in the second-round match, winning 19-3 in a technical fall. He suffered a close 5-2 defeat in the semis

But the Spartan junior would go on to claim third place in the 145-pound weight class. He eked out a 3-2 victory in consolation semis and took the third-place bout 4-2.

In the 106-pound weight class, Joshua Groff suffered a close 4-3setback in the second round after a first-round bye.

He registered a pin in the first round of the consolations. After a defeat in the next round, he claimed fifth place with a 15-1 major decision.

Travis Fischer finished sixth in the 195-pound class. He registered a pin in the first round of the consolations, but following a loss, he wrestled in the fifth- and sixth-place match where he came up short.

For senior Dennis Jefferis (220) the day opened with a victory. However, a pin and another loss in the consolations, kept him from claiming one of the top six spots.

Jeffrey Harley opened his quest in the 160 weight class with a pin against Nate Castaneda. He suffered a pin in the quarterfinals and was unable to get past the first consolation round.

After a 9-7 victory in the first round of the 170, Devon Lewis was rerouted to the consolations after being pinned. He claimed a 6-4 victory and lost by an injury default, thus having to relinquish the fifth-place match also.

Sophomore Jacob Zook opened his quest in the 182-pound brackets with a win, posting a 4-3 decision. Conestoga Valley's Connor Brinton got a pin in the next round and Zook suffered another defeat in the first round of the consolations.

0

Spartans Knock Off Barons, Topple Solanco February 10, 2017

With only one loss in their last eight games of the regular season, the Garden Spot's momentum has earned them a spot in the District Three Class 5A boys' basketball playoffs.

The Spartans wrapped up the regular season with a Tuesday night 59-37 defeat of Solanco on senior night at Garden Spot. They finished the season with a 9-5 record in the Lancaster-Lebanon League and 14-8 overall.

Friday, February 3, they traveled to Manheim Central - the first-place team in Section Two of the L-L League - and put together a brilliant showing, defeating the Barons 61-44. Manheim fell to 10-3 in the league with two of those three losses at the hands of Garden Spot.

"When we beat them the first time, they were in first place and ranked number one in the district," head coach Ryan Trupe pointed out. "This time, they were first in the section and ranked third in the district.

"I didn't expect to beat them by close to 20 points," Trupe added. "We came out and played efficiently all around. We were very stingy on defensive."

The defense allowed only nine points in the second quarter while the offense picked up the pace to the count of 20 points. The visiting Spartans went up 32-19 by halftime. Though Central outscored Spot by four points in the third stanza, the momentum swung back to Garden Spot.

Speaking of the offense, the Spartans drilled eight three-point field goals in the game. Joseph Craver made three of them and finished with 13 points. Keontae Nunn had a team-high 14, including a pair of three's, while Jordan Shewbridge and Kyle Gordon finished with 11 and 10, respectively.

The sharing of the offensive production is a characteristic that Trupe feels has not only helped the team win seven of its last eight games, but could be a great asset heading into the post-season.

"We have had different guys step in for us," he commented. "There is no secret to it," Trupe replied, when asked about the team's recent success. "At this point in the year every kid has bought into his role on the team. Each and every night - whether or not you like your role - you have to do it because it's best for the team. If it's being a defensive person for us, rebounding, or assists.

"We're not an overly deep team," continued the coach. "With the guys buying into their roles, it has been huge for us. If you're going to have a successful post-season run, you need to know that you can rely on any one person."

Brendan Bradley had another seven points. He and fellow senior Cameron Sensenig (5 points) each had one of those three-pointers the team scored. Central's Taylor Funk scored a game-high 18 points.

The Solanco game was an exclamation point for the Spartans' defense for the regular season. They allowed only 14 points in the first two periods combined and a paltry six points in the third quarter.

It was a moral victory too because Solanco had beaten Garden Spot 70-50 earlier in the year.

"That was a game our guys remembered what it was like," said Trupe. "Defensively we played much better. So we came out and played consistently

"We got ahead and steadily increased it," he continued. "We had won the first three quarters and allowed only 20 points total. We had a comfortable lead and stayed ahead of them the entire way."

Bradley lit up the scoreboard to the count of 20 points. He scorched four three-pointers. Shewbridge scored 12, including a pair of treys. Craver had two more three-pointers in this game and finished with eight points while Nunn added six points.

"Brendan had a solid night for us," Trupe remarked. "He got off to a good start and scored seven points in the first quarter and the rest of his points in the third.

"Jordan Shewbridge popped two three's in the first half," he went on.

Despite the strong finish, the wins didn't have league playoff implications. The Spartans finished fourth in Section Two.

The team wrapped up the regular season as the 10th seed in the district power rankings. The top 12 advance to the district playoffs.

"Some of the games we played, like the Manheim Central game, were in packed gymnasiums with a ruckus crowd - almost like playoff atmosphere," Trupe said. "And the playoffs will have us on the road in similar situations."

WRESTLING

Conestoga Valley got out to an 11-0 lead and held on to defeat Garden Spot 43-23 in Saturday's match at CV. The Spartans posted victories in five weight classes consecutively to gain a 23-11 lead. However, two major decisions, two falls and a Garden Spot forfeit propelled the Buckskins to a victory in this match.

Christian Schilling came out on top with a 3-1 decision in the 132-pound weight class. He edged a tough opponent in CV's Jordan Hartranft.

The 138-pound battle was handled nicely by Gunner Gehr. The Spartan freshman piled on the points in a 21-6 technical fall.

Gary Clark, coming off a first-place finish in the L-L League Wrestling Championships the previous weekend, got a 4-3 decision over one of the Buckskins' top wrestlers Pavel Dariychuk, getting Garden Spot three more team points from this 145-pound bout.

A pin by Drew Finkey followed. He decked his opponent 2:30 into the 152-pound match. Jeffrey Harley, who was also impressive at the L-L's, got a pin 2:38 into the 160-pound tussle.

Devon Lewis (170) and Jacob Zook (182) came up on the short end of majors in their bouts.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

The Spartans wrapped up the regular season with a split of their last two games. They defeated Section Two rival Manheim Central in the final home game of the year on Tuesday, but came up short at Solanco on Friday night in a 58-41 final. The team finished 4-9 in the league (5-16 overall).

In the game against Central, both defenses were tough to score on. The Spartans held the Barons to single-digit scoring in each of the four quarters.

Though the Barons (6-15, 5-8 league) kept Garden Spot scoreless in the second quarter, the home team outscored the Barons 25-12 in the second half for a 36-28 win.

Spartan senior Abi Fricke was the only player to reach 10 points on the night. Sydney Nichols added eight more, Megan Fisher scored seven and Kayla Harley-Smith scored six.

Kaila Stoltzfus made the only three-pointer for Garden Spot, accounting for her three points of the game.

The Spartans' third-quarter comeback closed the gap to 41-31 after Solanco had taken a 14-point lead into the second half. But Spartans managed only 10 points in the final period. Solanco improved to 11-11 (6-7 league).

Fricke tied Solanco's Jess Cabrera for the game's top scoring honors with 15 points each.

Stoltzfus scored nine for the Spartans while Fisher nailed a pair of three's on her way to an eight-point game. Nichols also had a three-pointer and finished with seven points.

AIR RIFLE

The Spartans edged Elizabethtown 497-496 in an L-L League air rifle match on Tuesday. It was the only the Bears' second loss of the season. The Spartans improved to 4-8.

Erin Diehl, Harry Townsend and Jared Weaver all shot 100's for the Spartans. Jeremy Hershey finished with a 99 and Willoh Robbins scored a 98.

The Bears got 100's from Mackenzie Smith, Brayden Shuck and Matthew Risbon. They also had a 99 but Robbins out-shooting Madison Garner 98-97 proved to be the difference.

0

Lady Spartans Nip Lebanon, 46-45 February 3, 2017

They were outscored by six points in the opening period on their own home court.

They outscored the visitors by the same margin in the second quarter to take an even 18-18 score into the halftime intermission.

The Garden Spot girls' basketball team then outscored Lebanon by a single point in the third period while both teams put up 13 in the fourth quarter.

You do the math.

The Spartans claimed their third Lancaster-Lebanon League victory of the year by defeating the Cedars 46-45 on Tuesday, improving to 3-9 (4-15 overall).

But it was not mere mathematics that resulted in the one-point margin of victory. A bit of luck had to come their way in the final seconds of the contest.

"We were actually down by five points in the fourth quarter," noted head coach Kevin Gensemer. "We made a couple of buckets and a foul shot. We then got a steal and came down the court," he continued. "Leah Steiner got an offensive rebound and got fouled. She made one of two shots to put us up by one."

But there was plenty of time left for the Cedars to make the go-ahead basket. In fact, they had several chances.

"They had three shots at the end of the game to beat us and missed all three," said Gensemer.

The Spartans had defeated the Cedars by a 44-point margin at Lebanon on January 6. Gensemer said he knew it wasn't going to be nearly as big a margin this time around.

"I knew after the first couple of minutes we were in for a closer basketball game," he said "It was nip-and-tuck the whole way.

"We started off sluggish on offense," he continued. "They took an early lead and we knotted it at halftime."

The Spartans made the shots when they had to. Abi Fricke, who had a team-high seven rebounds, and Megan Fisher led the team with 13 points each. Olivia Usner put up three baskets for her six points and Sydney Nichols added five. The Spartans out-rebounded the Cedars 30-17.

The Cedars got a game-high 18 points from Destiny Infante.

WRESTLING

The L-L League Wrestling Championships took place at Garden Spot on Friday and Saturday, January 27-28. Among the top performances was the tournament Gary Clark had, winning the championship at the 138-pound weight class.

In addition, Connor Finkey was the runner-up in the 145-pound bracket, suffering a 5-1 loss to Conestoga Valley's Pavel Dariychuck.

In his quest for the 138-pound crown, Clark pinned Manheim Central's Austin Sauder and convincingly downed Joey Battle of McCaskey by a 10-0 score in the next round. His final two contests were against formidable foes. By a 3-0 margin, he blanked Zach Kelly, one of the wrestlers from a Northern Lebanon team that has been unbeaten in league matches. In the title match, he topped Grayson Charles of Solanco, 6-2.

Finkey's run up the ladder included three straight pins. His victims were Kaderi Campbell of Lampeter-Strasburg, Christian Carr of Hempfield, whom he downed 1:32 into the match, and McCaskey's Andrew Martin in the semi-final round. Dariyhuk was the only opponent not to yield to the Spartan junior.

Christian Schilling finished fifth in the 132-pound weight class. After a pin downed Columbia wrestler Isiah Hunter, Schilling topped CV's Jordan Hartranft by a 9-1 score - an opponent he would face later in the tournament.

Schilling's championship quest was halted by Trever Leonard of Northern Lebanon. He edged Schilling 6-2 in the semis, earning a bye in the first two rounds of the consolation brackets.

Though he lost a close 6-4 battle, he earned a spot for the fifth-place match. He promptly claimed fifth with a 7-2 defeat of Hartranft.

Jeffrey Harley (160) was seventh in his weight class. He pinned Eddie Lopez of CV but lost in the second round.

Harley's consolations began with him notching a pin against Annville-Cleona sophomore Caleb Turner. After a loss derailed his bid for a higher finish, Harley claimed seventh by downing Elizabethtown's Hunter Spigelmeyer 5-1.

Drew Finkey grabbed eighth in the 152-pound bracket. He pinned Penn Manor's Tom Aston 2:34 into the opening-round battle. Eventual champion Blaise Bressler pinned Finkey in the next round, sending him to the consolations where the Spartan freshman edged Connor Miller of Manheim Central 3-0. After a 12-6 loss, he battled Dallin Ocasio of Lebanon, coming up just short in a 4-2 decision. Ocasio took seventh.

Josiah Groff (106) had a first-round victory over Jesse Thomas of Donegal, winning 9-6. However, after a 12-2 loss, he was stopped in the first round of the consolations.

Alan Perez opened his 120-pound tournament with a quick pin, 46 seconds into the bout. He suffered a 14-8 loss and could not advance in the consolations.

Devon Lewis suffered a 3-1 loss to E-town's Scott Fox in the 170-pound opener. He did grab a 6-3 consolation-round win only to come up short against Carter Hasson of Manheim Township.

Dennis Jefferis claimed a 5-2 victory in the 220 opening round. But two losses stopped his advancement.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Jordan Shewbridge poured in a game-high 20 points, including four triples, as Garden Spot won a big Section Two game at Elizabethtown. The team improved to 7-5 in the L-L League (12-8 overall) with the 60-40 victory while E-town fell to 3-9, 4-16.

The victory also strengthened the Spartans' chances of making the district playoffs. Garden Spot moved into 12th place in the District Three Class 5A rankings.

"The top 16 teams make the district playoffs," explained head coach Ryan Trupe. "All of our guys know the importance of where we are and they've been treating every game as if it were a playoff game."

The Spartans will close the season with two more L-L League games, visiting Manheim Central, who was 18-2 overall through the end of January, and hosting Solanco in the regular season finale.

"We didn't play particularly well against Solanco the first time," Trupe noted. "Tuesday will be our senior night."

Speaking of seniors, Brenden Bradley scored 19 points for the Spartans, making four three-pointers in the process.

"Brenden and Jordan both had a very good night," Trupe noted.

Garden Spot made it into the second quarter with a slim 15-14 lead. But the visitors went on a 17-4 run to gain a 32-18 halftime advantage.

"They closed the first quarter well after we got off to a good start," Trupe remarked. "We played pretty controlled all night. It has been a while since we've won at their place. For some reason we always have trouble there. But the team was very motivated to get a win.

"The biggest thing was that we were getting a lot of defensive stops," continued the coach. "The intensity level on defense - whether tipped passes or getting on the floor for a loose ball - our guys were willing to get after the ball."

Trupe gave credit to Kyle Gordon and Cameron Sensenig for their defensive efforts. Gordon, for example, was assigned to E-town's top scorer Larry Locker, who finished with a team high 15.

"Kyle did a nice job against him," said Trupe. "The kid still scored 15, but Kyle altered a lot of his shots. Cameron was also guarding one of their good players. We were getting defensive stops. We had asked the players to do certain things against their personnel."

Gordon scored 13 points. Sensenig put up a pair of baskets for four more points.

"We got the ball to our shooters and played very unselfish basketball," he added.

AIR RIFLE

The Spartans fell short against Manheim Township on Tuesday. The Blue Streaks won the L-L League air rifle match 496-492 despite two Spartans finishing with perfect scores.

Alex O'Neill and Jeremy Hershey came away with 100's while Willoh Robbins shot a 98. Mitch Diem and Jared Weaver finished with scores of 97.

The Blue Streaks got a 100 from Zach Musser while four shooters each had a 99.

0

Spartans Put Together Four Straight Wins January 27, 2017

Garden Spot boys' basketball coach Ryan Trupe gave an encouraging message to his squad earlier this season.

"I told the guys that the time they want to be playing their best basketball is late January," Trupe said in a phone interview.

Well, in mid-January, the Spartans were 3-4 in the L-L League with an overall record of 7-7. Then mid-January turned into late January. And the Spartans went on a four-game win streak.

"I think we're in a nice groove even though we don't want to get ahead of ourselves," said Trupe. "We are very happy with where we are right now. We have three very tough league games coming up."

The Spartans were coming off a win at Cocalico from the previous week when they traveled to Ephrata on Friday, January 20. They came out strong and put up 12 points in the first period and 11 more in the second, taking a 23-17 lead at half and on their way to a 51-40 victory.

Kyle Gordon put up seven baskets for a team-high 14. Jordan Shewbridge scored 13 points, including a perfect 7-for-7 at the foul line. Brendan Bradley added nine points, including two three-point jumpers. Keontae Nunn, who also had a pair of three's, and Cameron Sensenig added six points each.

Trupe talked about how the four guards he rotates onto the court throughout each game bring reliability to those positions.

"We work on a four-guard rotation," Trupe explained. "We rotate them throughout the game. Each one can do different stuff, so rotating them allows us to play off their strengths."

The four guards are Bradley, Sensenig, Nunn and Shewbridge.

"Keontae has become our sixth man," said the coach. "He is a high-energy player and comes in and runs the point for us.

"Between him and Cameron Sensenig handling the point guard, we have a nice mix," continued the coach. "We don't drop off any when we bring either of them in."

Garden Spot visited Red Land for a non-league game on Saturday. The Spartans came on strong with 20 first-quarter points and tacked on 22 more in the next stanza for a 42-34 halftime lead. Though they were held to just nine points in the third quarter, the defense responded well as the offensive momentum came back down the stretch for a 68-53 win.

Shewbridge led the team with 20 points, going ballistic from the three-point range, canning six.

"Shewbridge has been on a nice little run," Trupe said of the 5-foot-11 junior guard. "He has been finding different ways to contribute. He is sharing the ball and doing other things instead of just scoring," he went on. "He has been striving toward being a complete player. As a freshman and sophomore, he was more of a scorer." Trupe commented. "He's a junior and still learning, but making great strides."

Bradley added 17 points, including three treys. Gordon added 15 points and Nunn scored seven.

The win streak continued with a 55-45 win at home against Donegal. The victory improved the Spartans' mark to 7-4 in the L-L League.

Despite a 15-5 lead after one period, the Spartans relinquished half of their 10-point advantage by halftime.

"We got a little bit sluggish in the second quarter," said Trupe. "They played hard and scrappy, so give credit to Donegal."

The Spartans, who got a game-high 24 points from Shewbridge, came out in the second half and put on a 17-5 run for a 37-20 lead heading into the fourth. Donegal outscored the home team by a seven-point margin, but couldn't overtake the lead.

Garden Spot got 10 points from Nunn while Gordon and Kelito Westmoreland each added eight.

The week came to a close with a home game against Lampeter-Strasburg on Thursday night. The Pioneers ended the Spartans' win streak with a 61-51 victory in an up-and-down game. After going on an 18-6 run in the second quarter to increase their lead to 33-18 by halftime, the Pioneers (12-7, 8-3 league) saw the Spartan erase 10 points from that lead in the third period. They scored 20 to Garden Spot's 15 in the final quarter to pull off a win.

Bradley got the game-high honors with 16 points. He nailed four three-point shots on the night. Gordon added 11 points while Shewbridge scored 10.

WRESTLING

In a Section Two battle with Lampeter-Strasburg, the Spartans claimed Wednesday's wrestling match 42-23.

Helping solidify the victory were pins by seniors Matthew Martin and Travis Fischer as well as junior Christian Schilling's pin at 132.

Drew Finkey won a battle at 160, outscoring his opponent 15-12 for the Spartans' first three points. Devon Lewis (170) followed with a 9-3 decision. Fischer's pin at 195 gave the Spartans a 12-4 lead at that juncture.

Corey Leaman (113) came through with a 9-6 decision and, following two losses that actually gave the Pioneers a 22-21 edge, Schilling pinned to make it 27-22 Garden Spot. In doing so, he improved his personal record to 20-4 on the year.

"His only losses have been to quality wrestlers," said head coach Adam Bunting. "He has turned the corner this year. He is physical and not afraid of anybody."

The Spartans went 3-2 at the Denver Duals at Cocalico on Saturday, January 21. They defeated Downingtown East, Wilson, and Strath Haven but came up short against the home team and to Northern Lebanon.

In the 50-20 defeat of Strath Haven, Josiah Groff and Leaman each notched a pin at the 106 and 113 pound weight classes, respectively.

Schilling (132) also pinned as did freshman Gunner Gehr (138), who needed only 58 seconds to do so

"Gunner Gehr is another talented freshman," Bunting remarked. "He is very poised and doesn't give up points easily."

Clark claimed a major decision at 145 and at 160, Jeffrey Harley pinned Cameron Yarborough for six more points.

The 182-pound bout ended with Devon Lewis recording a 12-4 major.

Even in the two matches the Spartans lost at the Duals, Clark came through with pins, decking Northern Lebanon's Zach Kelly at 138 - a match in which the only other points came on Marc Carson's 7-4 decision at 285. In the 51-19 loss to Cocalico, he got a pin at 145 while Gehr (138) got a 20-8 major over Seamus Finnegan, Schilling earned an 8-3 decision over Nate Fritz and freshman Joshua Groff pinned Seth Fritz at 106.

With his pins, Clark improved to 20-3 on the year.

"Clark is a real leader on the team - a leader by example," said Bunting. "Probably the most technically sound wrestler on our team. He is methodical."

As for Groff, the head coach has more reasons to be excited about the prospect of the Spartans growing even stronger for the next couple of years.

"Josh Groff adds another prospect for us from this freshman class that is going to grow," Bunting said. "He is very technical. His record is 18-9 but two of his losses were by injury defaults.

"Drew Finkey, who is also a freshman, is 14-8," he added. "He has taken on the challenge on varsity and is going to get better."

In the other matches at Cocalico, senior Dennis Jeffris (220) came through with a 5-3 decision in the 49-23 defeat of Downingtown and a 1-0 crucial win against Wilson.

In the Wilson match, the Spartans went into the final bout (220) leading 36-31. It was up to Jeffris to be the closer.

"We were only up by five," Bunting noted. "He wasn't opening up as much as he could have if the match weren't on the line. He got his point and rode it out."

Clark grabbed a 12-1 major in the D-town match and took a 3-0 decision over Wilson's Kolbe Eidle. Gehr had a pin at 145.

Connor Finkey (152) came through with a pin as did freshman brother Drew Finkey (160), the latter of whom needed only 22 seconds to pull it off in the D-town match. Jacob Zook (182) also had a pin, doing so in 1:04.

Leaman (113) had a pin in 58 seconds against his D-town foe. He also got a third-period pin against Wilson. That Wilson match started at 285 where Carson notched a 5-2 decision. Drew Finkey came through with another pin here at 152.

AIR RIFLE

In Tuesday's L-L League air rifle match against Conestoga Valley, the scores that Jared Weaver and Jeremy Hershey put up proved to be just as crucial as the perfect 100 shot by Willoh Robbins.

Instead of taking the top five shooters, the officials needed to compare the scores of the sixth-best score on each team to break a tie. In the end, the Spartans edged the Buckskins 589-588.

Robbins shot a 100 and Harry Townsend shot a 99, equaling the respective scores of Wayne King and Alex Stoudt on the CV side.

Though the Buckskins' Sam Lorenz shaded Spot's Erin Diehl 99-98 and the fourth-best shooters both had 98's - Garden Spot's Alex O'Neill and CV's Matt Turoczi - Weaver's 97 got back the one-point edge the Buckskins had, forcing the comparison of Hershey's 97 to Conestoga Valley's Chase Miller (96).

On Thursday, the Spartans hosted league foe Manheim Central. The Barons got a 100 from Cade Ginder and went on to top Garden Spot 493-489.

Top shooters for the Spartans were Hershey and Diehl, both of whom finished at 99. Weaver's 98, the 97 recorded by Robbins and a 96 by O'Neill completed the top five Spartan shooters.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

The Garden Spot girls' basketball team notched its second Lancaster-Lebanon League win of the year on Friday night, January 20. The Spartans, who improved to 2-7 in the league (3-13 overall) played host to Ephrata. Thanks to a strong third quarter, the Spartans pulled ahead and went on to win 51-43, splitting the series after suffering an eight-point loss earlier this season.

Coming out of the locker rooms for the second half, the visiting Mounts held a one-point edge. The Spartans outscored their opponent 13-6 in the third period and increased that lead by another bucket in the fourth quarter.

The team got 17 points from Abi Fricke, who also made the only three-point field goal for the Spartans. Megan Fisher added 15 point while Karli Stoltzfus scored 13.

The momentum didn't carry into their next game, however. The Spartans suffered back-to-back losses against Section Two opponents, dropping their league record to 2-9. However, just like the early-season loss to Ephrata, three of their league losses have been by exactly eight points.

Donegal downed Garden Spot 62-37 on Tuesday night. The game was close going into the second quarter with the Indians holding a two-point lead. It was only a six-point deficit for the Spartans going into the second half, but the home team went on a 24-8 run in the third stanza to pull away.

The Indians improved to 11-6 and got 21 points each from Kiera Baughman and Carly Diffenderfer. Fisher led the Spartans with 10 points, while Fricke and Stoltzfus scored eight and seven points, respectively. Sydney Nichols chipped in with five.

Lampeter-Strasburg gave a demonstration of why they're nearly unbeaten in the league when they hosted the Spartans on Thursday. The Pioneers improved to 10-1 with a 73-36 victory, getting a whopping 25 points from Nevin Hoenninger and 22 more from Laura Horner. Hoenninger drilled five three-point field goals and Horner had three more.

The Spartans, who faced a 38-14 deficit at the half, got a 10-point output by Stoltzfus. Fisher scored six and Fricke added five more.

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Lady Spartans Battle Section Leading Eagles January 20, 2017

The Spartans played back-to-back home games against Lancaster-Lebanon League rivals. Though they had their home-court advantage at New Holland, the Spartans came up short against Cocalico on Tuesday and fell to Solanco the previous Friday.

Cocalico improved to 10-5 overall and 7-1 in the league with its 51-33 defeat of Garden Spot. What began as a low-scoring game with the Eagles holding a 9-5 lead at first period's end, took on a different tempo in the second quarter. That was the period the Eagles outscored the Spartans 15-6. They padded that lead by 10 more points before the start of the fourth period, dropping the Spartans to 1-7 (2-12 overall).

"The score doesn't do us justice," said head coach Kevin Gensemer, in a phone interview. "We couldn't put the ball in the basket. Our shooting percentage was bad.

"We missed a lot of easy shots even though we executed our offense," explained the coach. "We even won the rebounding battle, I think."

Karli Stoltzfus came through with a team-leading nine points for the Spartans. Abi Fricke and Megan Fisher each scored seven points, including one three-pointer per player, and Kaila Stoltzfus added four more.

Garden Spot saw Solanco take a seven-point lead into the second quarter and despite the Spartans' second-quarter surge, the visitors increased that lead to 34-25 by halftime. Solanco won by a 57-43 margin, getting a game-high 19 points from Nikki Boultinghouse. Grace Kreider added 13 points, including a pair of three-point field goals.

"Nikki Boultinghouse - we can't seem to stop her," Gensemer commented. "Twice last year and in this game too, she hurt us.

"They're a guard-oriented team," he continued. "We would focus too much on the guards and she would hurt us inside. Even when we would double down on her, she would kick it out to one of the guards for a three."

Fisher poured in a dozen points for the Spartans while Fricke and Sydney Nichols each added 10 more. Fricke connected on Garden Spot's lone three-pointer of the game.

On the road the next night, the Spartans played an outstanding match at Penn Manor. Trailing by a point after three quarters, the Comets came back and edged the Spartans 50-47. Garden Spot outscored the Comets by a 14-11 margin in each of the two middle periods to overcome a five-point deficit they faced after the first quarter.

Fricke and Fisher scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, with each nailing a three-point shot. Karli Stoltzfus added 10 points while Kayla Harley-Smith scored six more.

The Comets got a game-high 23 from Alyssa Schriver.

"We shot very well against Penn Manor and lost by only three," said Gensemer. "We're finding our groove even though it's late in the season."

BOYS BASKETBALL

The Spartans split their Section Two contests, falling at Solanco on Friday, January 13, but going on to defeat Cocalico in another road game on Tuesday.

In that 70-50 loss to Solanco, the Spartans fell to 3-4 in the L-L League and 7-7 overall. Dylan Hastings was virtually unstoppable, scoring 34 points for the Mules, including three treys. The Mules also got 13 points from Rob McHugh.

Garden Spot's offense was led by Keontae Nunn, who scored 14 while Brendan Bradley scored 10 more, including six points on a pair of treys. Kyle Gordon added nine points. Cameron Sensenig and Jordan Shewbridge scored eight and six points, respectively. Joe Craver sank a three-pointer.

"We got beat handily at Solanco," said head coach Ryan Trupe. "It was one of those nights where we didn't play well. It was one of those games where we got outplayed. We learned from it and came back to win at Cocalico on Tuesday."

Garden Spot evened its league record to 4-4 with that 58-41 win, getting a game-high 22 from Shewbridge. He drained four three-point shots in the contest and was a perfect 4-for-4 at the charity stripe. Gordon added 11 points.

"We played a zone defense and slowed them down offensively," Trupe explained. "We were playing on the perimeter of our zone defense. Anytime it got inside, Kyle Gordon was taking care of it. He was erasing a lot of shots that got inside."

Indeed he was. Along with his 11 points, Gordon had eight blocks and grabbed 14 rebounds. Nunn and Sensenig each added eight points. The Eagles got a team-high 16 from Aidan Trynosky, who made three three-point shots.

"Another key was keeping our guys in front of us," Trupe said of the defensive effort. "That was one of the things that we gained from the scouting reports, knowing which of their guys could shoot well and we pressured them. We played off the guys that were better drivers.

"But it was a well-played game all around," continued the coach. "You can't just give credit to one or two players. Whether it was rebounds, diving after a loose ball or other things that might not make the box score. It was one of the more complete basketball games we've played."

And following the win on Tuesday, Trupe noted that the team had little time to make a bid for a playoff berth.

"The kids know that we only have seven games to play after the Cocalico game," he explained. "If we want to get a league or district playoff game, we need to take this one game at a time and play our best."

WRESTLING

The Spartans notched another win, taking down Lebanon 66-14 on Wednesday in a Section Two wrestling match. The win improved the Spartan's record to 4-1 in the L-L League. The team's lone loss so far has been to undefeated section foe Manheim Central.

In that loss to Central on Thursday, January 12, the Barons came on strong after falling behind 18-3 in the early going. They won seven of the final nine bouts, including four pins and a major decision.

Connor Finkey opened with a pin at the 152-pound weight class, defeating Logan Hess 1:19 into the bout. Drew Finkey notched a 5-3 decision to give Garden Spot a 9-0 lead.

Jeff Hartley's pin at 170 made it 15-0. Following a Central decision at 182, Jacob Zook got Garden Spot those three points back with a 7-1 win at the 195 tussle.

Central went on to score 31 straight points until Christian Schilling earned a major decision by a 19-5 count at the 132 weight class. Gunner Gehr (138) won with a 6-3 score to cut the deficit to 34-25.

Gary Clark fell just shy of at least sending the 145-pound bout into overtime when Zack Zeamer posted a 4-3 win.

The Spartans hit the road again for the match at Lebanon. The Cedars forfeited five of the weight classes and earned their points via technical fall, a pin and a Garden Spot forfeit.

Winning with pins for Garden Spot were Schilling (132) Drew Finkey (152) and Devon Lewis (170) along with Travis Fisher (195) Brandon Sabasino (220) and Dennis Jeffries (285) who gave the Garden grapplers three straight pins.

AIR RIFLE

Garden Spot grabbed two victories on the week, shooting down Wilson and Governor Mifflin, and improved to 2-5 on the year.

It was a match that required the two teams to include their top nine shooters' scores to determine a winning side on Thursday when Wilson hosted Garden Spot. The scores were even at 493 per side in counting up the top five shooters' scores. For Garden Spot, that was a perfect 100 by Willoh Robbins as well as a 99 from Harry Townsend and 98's by Alex O'Neil, Karlee Hartman and Erin Diehl.

The Bulldogs had 99's from Owen Kunder, Sam Swope and Jillian Klinger as well as a pair of 98's.

Counting their way through the lineup, Jeremy Hershey's 97 matched Andrea Serban's 97 on the Wilson side. Jared Weaver's 97 as well as the 96 by Mitch Diem were also equaled by the Bulldogs.

Bradel Reel shot a 95 while his counterpart Matt Puleo finished with a 94, giving Garden Spot the win.

The Mifflin match saw Robbins and Hershey both reach the century mark. Hershey's 100 included one center shot.

Townsend added a 99. Reel had an even more impressive performance, finishing with a 98 while O'Neill's 97 helped seal the 494-481 win.

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Spartan Matmen Topple Visiting Ephrata January 13, 2017

The Spartans hosted the Ephrata Mountaineers in an L-L League wrestling match on Wednesday. The Spartans came away with a 51-10 victory, raising their league mark to 3-0 while Ephrata fell to 0-4.

Gary Clark, Marc Carson and freshman Drew Finkey got pins as did senior Dennis Jefferis.

The match began with Ephrata winning both the 120- and 126-pound weight classes by decisions to take a 6-0 lead. But a forfeit by the Mountaineers and Clark's pin (138) propelled the home team to a 12-6 lead. Another forfeit and Connor Finkey's hard-fought 5-4 decision (152) increased that lead to 21-6.

Drew Finkey pinned Nate Castaneda at exactly 1:00 at 160.

The Spartans stayed consistent with Devon Lewis posting a 7-5 decision at 170 and Jacob Zook's 5-0 shutout win at 182. A forfeit at 195 gave Brandon Sabasino six uncontested points to make it 39-6.

Jefferis notched his pin at 220 and Carson posted his at 285 before Ephrata's Austin Jones got the final points of the match - a 5-0 decision at 106.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

The Garden Spot girls' basketball team faced Manheim Central on the road Tuesday night in a Section Two battle. The Spartans were coming off their first league win of the year the previous Friday. However, the momentum from that win at Lebanon did not carry over to Tuesday's game. The Barons beat the Spartans 53-45 despite a stronger second half by the visitors.

"It didn't seem like we had the excitement and the energy," said head coach Kevin Gensemer in a phone interview. "We didn't execute well on offense."

The Barons, who improved to 3-9 overall (2-4 in L-L League) went on a tear in the second quarter, outscoring Garden Spot 19-8 and increasing a three-point edge to a 33-19 halftime lead.

"We were down 14 at the half and outplayed them in the second half," added Gensemer. "But it wasn't enough to pull off the win.

"We had identical records - league and overall - coming into this game," Gensemer pointed out. "We are evenly-matched teams. I anticipated us getting back-to-back wins."

Garden Spot outscored Central 26-20 in the second half. But the Spartans fell to 2-10 (1-5 league).

Abi Fricke, the Spartans' leading scorer this season, scored 16 points - tops on the team. She made a pair of three-point field goals and went 6-for-6 from the foul line.

"Abi Fricke has been our leading scorer so far and has been for three years," Gensemer said of his senior guard. "I've also got a couple of freshmen that I'm throwing in along with Megan Fisher, who's a sophomore and our second-leading scorer."

Fisher and freshman Olivia Usner each scored nine points. Fisher nailed a pair of three-point jump shots.

The Barons' Brooke Breinich and Laura Good tied for the game-leading total of 17 points.

The victory the Spartans claimed at Lebanon was by a decisive margin of 67-33. Leading 42-25 after three quarters, the Spartans poured it on with a 25-8 run in the fourth.

Fricke poured in 17 points, again putting up a perfect night (4-for-4) at the foul line. Fisher and senior Kaila Stoltzfus each tallied 10 with Fisher again converting on a pair of three's.

It was Karli Stoltzfus scoring eight for the Spartans while Usner and Leah Steiner each put up three baskets for six points each.

Lebanon's Destiny Infante had a game-high 18 points in a losing cause.

Gensemer has the troops back together and focused, practicing for the upcoming games.

"I talked to them after the Central game about being consistent and playing four quarters," he said. "We are young and we're battling injuries."

BOYS BASKETBALL

What a dramatic finish it was!

The boys' basketball team upset Manheim Central in a Section Two clash at New Holland on Tuesday night.

Taking on the undefeated Barons, who came into the game ranked second in District Three, the Spartans won it 44-42 on a last-second basket by Cameron Sensenig, evening their league mark at 3-3 (7-6 overall) while Central fell to 5-1, 9-1.

"With 10 seconds to go, we had to go the length of the court," described head coach Ryan Trupe. "Cam hit a running shot with 0.5 seconds left. They tried to inbound and shoot, but didn't come close."

Garden Spot came on strong in the fourth quarter after opening the final stanza with a deficit. The Barons had an 18-17 halftime edge and increased that to a five-point lead before the Spartans' comeback.

"A lot of credit goes to our guys for keeping their composure," Trupe said. "We were down by 10 points in the third quarter and finished the quarter on a nice 5-0 run.

"In the fourth we got down by eight with five minutes to go," continued the coach. "I told our guys that they had their run, now it's our turn. We kept our composure and went on a 13-3 run. They did outrebound us, but we played excellent defense."

The scoring was shared by the Spartans, who got 11 points from Kyle Gordon while Keontae Nunn and Jordan Shewbridge each added seven. Sensenig and Brendan Bradley each scored five points as did Kelito Westmoreland. Joe Craver put up a pair of buckets for four more points.

Central's Taylor Funk led all scorers with 14.

Garden Spot was coming off another league victory and sandwiched in between that Friday night defeat of Elizabethtown and Tuesday's win was a non-league victory.

"We won two games last week," explained Trupe. "We had a league game Friday night against Elizabethtown. We also played in the L-L and York Showdown where five teams from Section Two of each league compete against each other. We played Susquehannock and beat them by 10 on Saturday."

In that 61-51 victory, which was played at Manheim Central actually, the Spartans reached the 20-point mark in the first and fourth quarters. Speaking of reaching 20, Shewbridge led all scorers with 21 points on the night, hitting a trio of three-pointers while also making all eight foul shots. Nunn added 10 points while Bradley scored nine more.

Friday night's win over E-town was on a special night, according to Trupe.

"It was our Youth Night and the Cystic Fibrosis Awareness night," he explained. "We do this each year.

"For the Youth Night, it's the kids from second to sixth grade," continued the coach. "We invite them out to a game each year. They get to see the game for free and root for our kids. It gives our players a chance to see how kids can look up to them as role models.

As for the game, it ended with a wild fourth quarter in which the Spartans outscored the Bears 24-23 and won it by a 65-53 margin.

"We are on a nice midseason streak," Trupe said.

There were four Spartans with double-digit scoring on the night. Nunn led the team with 17 points while Craver carved up the Bears with 14 more. Bradley and Gordon scored 13 and 10, respectively with Bradley hitting a pair of treys.

E-town's Larry Locker had a game-high 18 and Adam Peifer poured in 14 more.

AIR RIFLE

The Spartans came up short in two straight L-L League matches. They lost 493-483 to Ephrata on Tuesday and fell to an exceptionally sharp Elizabethtown squad on Thursday.

In that E-town match, the Bears missed having a perfect team score by one point. They topped the Spartans 499-488 as four shooters hit the 100-point mark.

Garden Spot's Jared Weaver had a perfect score while Karlee Hartman shot a 98. Both Erin Diehl and Jeremy Hershey shot 97's and Willow Robbins got a 96.

Ephrata got a 100 from Madison Miller and a 99 from Joel Potts in its defeat of Garden Spot.

Hershey was the top shooter (98) for the visiting Spartans. Robbins scored 97 on the day while three shooters - Harry Townsend, Alex O'Neil and Weaver - shot 96 each.

BOWLING

In Section Three bowling, the Spartans lost 5-2 to Lampeter-Strasburg on Friday, January 6 at Rocky Springs Lanes. The Pioneers were led by Andrew O'Connor, whose collective scores on the three games came to 555. The Spartans' Andrew Brightman tallied 521 on the day.

In their next game, the Spartans were back at Rocky Springs to face Lancaster Catholic. The Crusaders posted a 7-0 win to drop the Spartans' record to 0-5.

Catholic got a team best 468 from Matt Zeamer while Brightman bowled a 461 for Garden Spot.

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