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Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Lucky Thirteen: Etown Sets New Program Record Win Streak with 83-67 Win Over Lebanon Valley

ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. --- The 38-year wait is over. Elizabethtown's old record winning streak of 12 games, set in the 1963-64 season, has finally been broken. The Blue Jays (15-1, 5-0 Commonwealth Conference) stretched their current winning streak to 13 with an 83-67 win over Lebanon Valley (10-5, 3-2) before a raucous crowd of 1,800 fans at Thompson Gymnasium Wednesday night.

Lebanon Valley entered the game fresh off the heels of its 62-56 overtime upset of Franklin & Marshall Monday night, and the Flying Dutchmen spent the first half of the game shooting much like they did Monday, going 9-for-27 (33.3%) from the field. Elizabethtown shot 15-for-32 (46.9%) in the first half to take a 43-24 lead into halftime.

Despite the score at the end of the half, it was not smooth sailing for the Blue Jays in the first stanza. Although Etown led the entire game, Lebanon Valley stuck close to the Blue Jays in the first 11 minutes, and Elizabethtown held just an 18-17 lead at 9:02, following a long jumper by LVC's Drew Brayford (Barnesville, PA/Mahony).

Then the Blue Jays, led by junior forward Chad Heller (New Holland, PA/Garden Spot) opened the floodgates. At 8:46, Heller was fouled and made both of his free throws. Bob Porambo (Bethlehem, PA/Liberty) hit a jumper at 8:13 and a three-pointer at 7:36 to extend the Blue Jays' lead to 25-17.

Heller followed with a three-pointer at 6:31 and a jumper at 6:00 to extend the lead to 30-17. A bucket by Rocky Parise (Harrisburg, PA/Bishop McDevitt) made the score 32-17 at 5:25. Heller was fouled again at 4:49, and again made both of his foul shots, and he followed with another three-pointer at 4:00. By this point, the score was 37-17, the Blue Jays had rattled off a 19-point scoring run, and Heller had been responsible for 12 of them.

Lebanon Valley shook the rust from its shooting at the start of the second half, allowing the Flying Dutchmen to creep back into the game. By 6:11, the Blue Jays' lead was reduced to 65-58. The Blue Jays quickly scored four points off lay-ups from Brian Loftus (Doylestown, PA/Central Bucks West) and Ian Daecher (Lititz, PA/Warwick) at 6:02 and 5:41, respectively, forcing Lebanon Valley to call a timeout at 5:36 while down 69-58.

The timeout did nothing to stop the change of momentum, though, as Heller got a steal, drove downcourt, and finished with a dunk at 5:15. Loftus followed immediately afterward with a steal and lay-up of his own at 4:57, forcing another Lebanon Valley timeout with the score at 73-58 in Etown's advantage.

The last three-plus minutes of the game were again dominated by Heller, who made all of the Blue Jays' final seven points. He finished the game with 27 points, one shy of his career high set just Monday against Dickinson, and shot eight-for-ten from the field, nine-for-ten from the charity stripe, and two-for-three from three-point range.

Loftus added 17 points for Elizabethtown, Porambo scored 12 points, pulled down seven rebounds, had five steals, and dished out five assists, and Jon English (Haddonfield, NJ/Haddon Township) scored 10 points and hauled in six rebounds.

Also having solid games for Etown were sophomore center Daecher, who led the team with eight rebounds and scored eight points, and senior point guard Parise, who had eight assists, three steals, and five points.

John Sharkey (Reading, PA/Reading Central Catholic) led Lebanon Valley in scoring with 18 points. Darren Pugh (Shippensburg, PA/Shippensburg) led the Flying Dutchmen with 12 rebounds and scored 14 points. Chris Kreider (Hummelstown, PA/Lower Dauphin) added 12 points, and Jon-David Byers (Westminster, PA/Westminster) had 11 points, four assists, and three steals.

Elizabethtown will look to extend its streak to 14 at home against conference rival Albright Saturday, January 19. Game time is 3:00 p.m.

View the box score.