Burton explodes onto scene as Pioneers down Spartans


319 days. That's how many days it's been since the Pioneers last hit the hardwood, losing to York Suburban in the District III playoffs. Almost one full year later, the Pioneers and the Garden Spot Spartans tip-off again in the midst of the same pandemic that began last campaign. Last season, the Pioneers won both matchups with the Spartans, including a double-overtime thriller on February 2, 2020. 

Nick del Grande in Game vs Garden Spot, 2020 (Jon Klein)

Having recently returned from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, expectations were high for 5' 9'' freshman guard Tyler Burton heading into his first high school game. Burton scored the first points of the new campaign for the Pioneers, driving to the net and sinking a reverse layup. The game started off slow for both teams, with the layup from Burton being the only points of the night 2 and a half minutes into the game. The rest of the quarter proved to be much of the same until Luka Vranich intercepted an inbound-pass and immediately put the ball into the net as time expired. The Pioneers led 14-6 going into the second quarter.

Sloppy play continued into the second quarter, however mostly for the visiting Spartans. Vranich flew around the court grabbing errant passes thrown by the Spartans while Burton began to take over the game on the offensive end. The Pioneers entered halftime with a healthy lead and a scoreline of 35-12. 

Much of the same continued in the second half, with George Rohrbaugh and Jesse Martin being the only bright spots for the Spartans. The Pioneers coasted to the win with a final score of 59-40. Best wishes to the referee who had to exit the game after collapsing during the second quarter.

THREE STARS:

Tyler Burton: I can't imagine much of a better way to start off your high school career. Burton finished with 28 points on 52% shooting, also adding 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Burton had an excellent night and should continue to fill the void left by Seth Beers' graduation. 

Luka Vranich: As mentioned earlier, Vranich flew around the court defensively and also helped set the pace offensively. Vranich stuffed the stat sheet all night long, finishing with 11 points, 7 assists, 6 steals, and 4 rebounds. Five of those 11 points were earned at the free-throw line, where Vranich shot at a 71% clip.

Isaiah Parido: Similarly to Vranich, Parido helped the Pioneers in all facets of the game. Parido finished excruciatingly close to a double-double with 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. 

Honorable Mentions: Jesse Martin, Brady Cole, George Rohrbaugh. 

STAT LEADERS:

Points: Tyler Burton, 28
Assists: Luka Vranich, 7
Rebounds: Isaiah Parido, 9
Steals: Luka Vranich, 6
Blocks: Brady Cole, 1
Turnovers: Tyler Burton, 7

The JV game resulted in a 43-36 win for the Pioneers. The Spartans will be back in action tomorrow for some weekend action in Lititz against the Warwick Warriors. The Pioneers will head to Adele Avenue in Manheim to take on the Barons Wednesday night. 

- By Logan Moyer, LS News reporter

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