The Cedar Crest boys' basketball team ripped off its eighth straight win Tuesday night, rallying for a 56-50 overtime victory at Warwick in a Lancaster-Lebanon League Section One thriller on Alzheimer's Awareness Night in Lititz.
Horn sank seven consecutive free throws in OT, while senior sniper Killian Klopp connected on a half dozen regulation 3-pointers to help pull off a 14-point comeback. Klopp's game-high 20 points led three Falcons in double digits, along with classmate Clay Penchard and Horn, who both chipped in with 13.
"My team never stops fighting. That's what we instilled this year," Klopp said. "We don't quit. We're not babies like the last couple of years."
The Falcons, now perched alone in second place, control their own destiny for the final Section One playoff spot. Crest (13-7, 9-5) hosts division champion McCaskey (18-2, 14-0) on Friday before traveling to Penn Manor on Tuesday to finish the regular season. The blue and gray have never qualified for the L-L League postseason in school history.
"We were sitting 5-7 - and as bad as it was at that time - we still controlled our own destiny. I talked to our kids and said to them, 'We need to go one game at a time.' Sure enough we rolled off eight in a row," said Cedar Crest head coach Tommy Smith.
Playing in front of a hostile crowd and without big-man Andrew Eudy (illness), the Falcons' win streak appeared to be an afterthought following the first frame. Warwick jumped ahead 11-0 before Andrew Eberhart drained an elbow jumper to close out the quarter.
"The place was electric," said Smith. "They're used to playing in that; I don't know if we are. At the start, I don't want to say it was overwhelming, but I don't think we were ready for that."
The Warriors grabbed their largest lead of the contest, 16-2, early in the second quarter following a putback bucket by Damien Soto at 6:48.
"We had some good looks at the basket, but shots weren't falling for us," Smith said. "They were hot. I knew things were going to even out if we kept our heads and kept fighting. I think that's eventually what happened."
Klopp, who missed his first three shots, found his stroke midway through the second. The 5-10 guard drilled back-to-back treys to cut the lead in half, 16-8. He finished the first half with nine points - all via the long ball. Warwick led 22-15 at the break.
"He's been making big shots for us for three years now. I expect nothing less from him," Smith said of Klopp. "He has no fear. That's one of his best traits. He'll miss five and make the sixth. That's in his mind. He's got a shooters' attitude."
The Falcons continued to fight back in the third, pulling within a point, 33-32, after 24 minutes. In the fourth, Warwick regained a six-point edge before Seth Daubert, Penchard and Klopp answered again to make it 42-42 with 1:18 left in regulation. The final minute featured a slew of timeouts and fouls as Klopp and Tyler Stief traded baskets to force overtime.
That's when Horn, a 6-foot forward, took over. The freshman removed any drama from OT, draining seven of his first eight free throws to allow the Crest student section to rush the floor. As a team, the Falcons finished the game 12-of-20 from the line.
"He's just that cool," smiled Smith. "I don't know what to say; that kid is a special athlete. Every game (Horn) draws the opposing team's best offensive player and does a pretty good job shutting them down. He doesn't play like a freshman. He doesn't act like a freshman."
Matt Engle (14 points) and Stief (12) led the way for Warwick (10-10, 8-6). Manheim Township, Hempfield and the Warriors are all still hovering below the Falcons and the Red Tornado, an F-5 storm that scooped up an 18th straight victory Tuesday night at home against Township, 71-48.
"The past couple of games have all been tight," said Klopp. "Hempfield was a huge win. Tonight was a huge win. One more to get to leagues.
"We're definitely having a lot more fun. The beginning of the season we were having fun, then the middle of the season when we were 5-7, we were frustrated and not playing very well. Then we started getting on this run, and it's the most fun I've ever had."
Notes: The contest doubled as Alzheimer's Awareness Night as both schools raised money to fight the disease. All proceeds benefited the father of Warwick player Tyler Morris, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. ... Crest entered the game ranked No. 11 in the most recent District Three Class AAAA power rankings. The top 20 qualify for the district tournament, while the top 12 avoid a pig-tail appearance. ... The Falcons have not beaten McCaskey since 1998.