The Little Lions continued their march toward an undefeated regular season with yet another impressive victory Friday night.
The State College boys’ basketball team stretched its record to 12-0 overall and 8-0 in the Mid-Penn Conference with a 72-39 victory against an overmatched Central Dauphin East in front of a friendly, rowdy crowd.
The Little Lions have now beaten their opponents by an average of 20.3 points per game this season after their lopsided 33-point victory.
“The zero means a lot to us in the loss column,” State College head coach Joe Walker said. “I think (the players) know, too, that we have a lot of room for improvement. It’s hard; you win by 30 points and we’re talking about how we’re going to improve. It’s hard to get that message across, but they’re not satisfied.”
The Little Lions will certainly have a challenge staying unbeaten with toughest part of their schedule looming ahead.
Walker’s squad has faced only two challenges so far this season, with their only single-digit victories coming against against Harrisburg (89-83) and Chambersburg (57-49).
They have road showdowns against the Cougars on Tuesday and against the Trojans on Jan. 23. They also have a matchup with Reading on Jan. 27 that figures to be a major obstacle to staying undefeated.
But, on Friday night, Central Dauphin East didn’t put up much of a fight. The Little Lions got off to a blistering start, opening with an 11-2 run capped off by a Tommy Friberg dunk three minutes into the game.
Friberg’s dunk came after a failed dunk attempt by Ryan McNulty in the opening minute of the game.
Brandon Clark also threw down a monstrous dunk early in the second quarter, and 6-foot Keaton Ellis even tried to get in on the act with a two-fisted attempt that barely trickled into the net. After halftime, State College led by at least 18 points the rest of the way.
“If we’re open, we’re going to try and take it,” Tommy Friberg said of the dunks. “They definitely help with momentum, and they get the team excited and ready to go.”
State College ended Friday with a perfect record in the first half of the season — and now the Little Lions are hoping for more of the same in the second half.
The Little Lions honored former State College basketball and football standout Brandon Ream — and the not-for-profit foundation in his honor — by wearing “Team Ream” warm-up T-shirts before Friday’s game.
Ream, who went on to become a walk-on punter at Penn State, passed away after a battle against cancer in 2013.
During halftime, the Little Lions recognized Ream’s wife, Samantha, and his sisters, Lindsay and Kelsey, who keep the legacy of Ream alive through the foundation, which helps individuals in the area who have been affected by cancer and serious medical conditions.
Samantha Ream also stopped by the Little Lions practice on Thursday to tell the team about how much the program meant to Brandon and the relationships he made while at State College in 1999-2002.
“It was really inspirational. We take a lot of pride in that,” junior Tommy Friberg said. “We warmed up in the Team Ream shirts, which was good, and he’s definitely a big part of our program.”