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Harford student-athlete stars in her college's 'Together' video

Cedar Crest College basketball player Breonna Lewis, who hails from Harford County, has a prominent role in a video made to promote her school, a video inspired by the recent Nike "Together" commercial featuring NBA star LeBron James.

In the original Nike commercial, James, who returned to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2014-15 NBA season after four seasons with the Miami Heat, gathers with his teammates on the court before a game, and he encourages them to play, not just for themselves, but for the whole Cleveland community.

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"Everything that we do on this floor is because of this city," he tells his teammates in the huddle as Clevelanders also huddle throughout the city. "We owe them. We're going to grind for this city, they're going to support us, man, but we've got to give it all back to them."

In the Cedar Crest College video, which is titled "Together | Cedar Crest College," Lewis, a junior forward, huddles with her Falcons teammates.

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She tells them that they are not only playing for themselves, but for the many alumnae of the private Pennsylvania women's college, who have come before them, as well as the students who will come after them.

"It's our time now," she says. "It's our school. We've got to do it for them, we've got to do it for Cedar Crest. They're waiting on us."

The speech she gives in the video is scripted, but Lewis, a 21-year-old Abingdon resident, said she typically gives similar encouragement to her teammates before each game.

"I do motivate them, getting them pumped up for the game, getting them ready to play," she said during a recent interview while visiting her family during Christmas.

The video, which was produced by the college, was shot before the Falcons' first home game this season.

"I will put my heart out on the floor every night, and I leave everything on the floor every night," Lewis said. "I walk away from every game leaving everything behind."

The black-and-white video can be found on YouTube through the link goo.gl/rX36ZH, or under the title "Together | Cedar Crest College."

In addition to shots of Lewis and her teammates in the huddle on the court, the video also features shots of students, faculty, alumnae and college administrators chanting "together" with their arms around each other.

Cedar Crest has about 700 undergraduate students, all female. The Allentown, Pa., institution, founded in 1867, also has a co-educational adult and graduate education program.

Josh Tehonica, the assistant director of admissions at Cedar Crest and producer of the video, said he was inspired by the "Together" commercial, which aired on television during the Cavaliers' season opener in October.

"I thought it was just a really awesome video," Tehonica said. "It caught my attention right away. The whole sense of community behind it really made me think of Cedar Crest."

He met with marketing and athletic officials at the college, including basketball Head Coach Ty Taylor, to discuss ideas for the video, which he said was designed to "market the school, and just for the sense of campus community and involvement."

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The video also features college President Carmen Ambar and local alumnae such as Shirley Blynn, a member of the Class of 1956, Tehonica said.

He noted that, while the makers of the video wanted it to be about the entire Cedar Crest community, they also wanted it to feature a student as a protagonist.

Tehonica and Taylor agreed that Lewis "would be great" for the role. Tehonica said he knows Lewis primarily through her work as a college ambassador. He noted she has also performed in school plays, and he described her as "a very well-rounded student-athlete in our school."

Lewis is not a captain of the basketball team, but she is known as a team leader. She is also in her final year of eligibility.

"She might not be a team captain, but I knew Coach Taylor looks at her to be a leader," Tehonica explained.

Lewis is studying biochemistry and forensic science at Cedar Crest. She also plays soccer for the school.

As a campus ambassador in the school's admissions office, leading tours of campus and assisting admissions counselors.

"I just chose Cedar Crest because I liked the environment," Lewis said. "I liked the atmosphere. It was very personable, it's a very small, intimate community."

Lewis, who is on a partial academic scholarship that covers about a third of her tuition, said she picked Cedar Crest because of its top forensic science program, as well as the close-knit atmosphere.

"I always knew that I wanted to be a forensic scientist," she explained. "I wanted to be a crime scene investigator, and so I wanted to go to the best school."

Lewis grew up in Oklahoma City; her family moved to Harford County during her sophomore year of high school.

She attended the Sovereign Grace Home School Program, which is affiliated with Sovereign Grace Church in Joppa, and played high school basketball through the Maryland Christian Athletic League in Baltimore.

Lewis graduated from high school in 2011 and then attended Harford Community College for two years. She played basketball for HCC, where she also studied chemistry.

She enrolled at Cedar Crest in 2013.

Lewis noted her team, which is part of the NCAA Division III Colonial States Athletic Conference, is 1-8 this season.

"We're hoping to turn things around, show the conference that Cedar Crest is a force to be reckoned with," she said.

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