By Bill Bostic
Central Dauphin Rams boys basketball team played a stellar first half Friday and held off a late run by the visiting State College Little Lions to win 61-54 and get into double figures for wins this season (10-2 overall, 7-1 conference).
The victory keeps the Rams in a tie at the top of the Mid-Penn Commonwealth with the Cumberland Valley Eagles, who pulled out a road win Friday over Altoona by a score of 56-53.
CD sophomore shooting guard Ryan Smith was on fire in the first quarter with 15 points, including a trio of three-pointers. He was the game’s top scorer with 20.
“We shot the lights out,” said CD head coach Wayne Fletcher. “I don’t know that we shot the ball that well in a half before. It was pretty nice.”
The second quarter featured a scoring barrage from CD senior shooting guard Niko Santiago, who nailed three three-pointers on his way to an 11-point quarter. And senior power forward Jaraud Smith played some sterling defense with multiple steals that helped the Rams take a 42-27 lead into the locker room.
The Little Lions clawed their way back into the game in the third quarter by pressuring the perimeter on defense and getting balanced scoring from their lineup. They outscored the Rams 27-19 in second half and got the lead down to four with 2:30 to go in the fourth quarter.
Smith choked off State College’s comeback attempt by going five for eight from the charity line in the fourth quarter.
“We want to ride this as long as we can, said Fletcher. “Lots of things can change but we just want to enjoy this and work as hard as we can every time we lace them up.”
The Little Lions were led offensively by junior Johnny Freiberg and senior Cam Villarouel who both scored 16.
Next week the Rams play three home games: A non-conference game Monday against Cedar Cliff Colts and conference games Wednesday and Friday against the Carlisle Thundering Herd and the Altoona Mountain Lions respectively.
Pictured above is Nikos Santiago who netted 11 points in the first half to help the Rams in the Friday’s State College game. He finished with 14. (Photo by Neil Renaldi.)