L-S downs Dover in round one of district playoffs

Excitement built before tip-off. The student section arrived early, donning all white. Both sides of the stands filled in what was remarkable attendance for a Tuesday evening.

Matt Achille struggled with foul trouble, but was
dominant down the stretch, and totaled 19 points
And then the game commenced. The first quarter transpired as they have seemingly all season for L-S -- a back-and-forth event that ends with a slim lead for the Pioneers. They led 15-11 after one. Notably, highflying junior forward Ben Sandberg sustained a bloody nose that caused him to miss nearly entire quarter. Consequently, Jordan Boynton played much of the quarter, and in fact much of the game; ultimately, Boynton finished with five points, all free throws.

Another key storyline for the Pioneers all game was foul trouble. Matt Achille committed three fouls in the first half, which caused him to ride the bench for most of the first two periods. Isaac Beers also spent time on the bench due to several fouls.

In the second quarter, L-S held a seven-point lead at one point towards the end of the quarter, but after some turnovers and fouls, let Dover climb back into contention with just a three-point deficit at intermission.

A reinvigorated Ben Sandberg opened the second half with an "and one" that helped pace the remainder of the period. Achille scored the next two baskets for the Pioneers before Sandberg added another and one that sparked a run for the Pioneers that put the team up by 12 points. The team maintained that advantage for much of the quarter before a sequence in the final minute wherein Isaac Beers picked up his fourth foul, Dover scored a basket, Achille committed a charge (also his fourth foul), and then L-S fouled a Dover shooter in three-point range, giving him a chance to cut the deficit to six; ultimately, the shooter made only one of three, and L-S led 49-41 heading into the fourth quarter.

Dover began the fourth quarter by cutting the deficit to five points before Sandberg notched his "dunk of the day" that gave the team some additional momentum that was bolstered by Connor Brown's re-entrance into the game and contribution to the offense, scoring two more of his 11 points. Meanwhile, Achille dominated the game down the stretch, particularly at the foul line; he compiled 19 points in all, mostly in the second half. L-S made its free throws in the final minutes to ice the game, and the Pioneers took the victory 67-58.

L-S will play on Friday at 6:30 in Hershey at the Giant Center in round two of the playoffs against Gettysburg, which defeated Palmyra in a mild upset (ten seed over seven seed) this evening.

See a full gallery of photos from Lauren Mast's collection via Google Photos

--Benjamin Pontz, LSNews.org Editor-In-Chief

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