Pioneers Win Close Game over Garden Spot
On Saturday afternoon, the boys' basketball team traveled to New Holland for a matchup with the Garden Spot Spartans. The Pioneers were playing on short rest, losing to Cocalico just last night. The Pioneers defeated the Spartans 59-40 earlier this season, with Tyler Burton scoring 28 points.
Luka Vranich in Game vs Manheim Central (Jon Klein)
The Spartans came out of the locker room ready to play, jumping out to a 7-0 lead. Jesse Martin and Tyler Martin played well in the first quarter, each scoring 5 points for the Spartans. The Pioneers were down by a score of 20-9 going into the second quarter.
The second quarter was far more competitive and evenly matched. Hunter Hildenbrand came off the bench and provided a spark for the Pioneers, immediately knocking down a three-pointer for his first career varsity points. The Pioneers continued to play well, finding open shots in the paint and producing turnovers defensively. The Pioneers reduced the gap to 29-28 by halftime. Jonathan Vega was the first half's leading scorer with 6 points.
The Pioneers took their first lead of the game midway through the third quarter when Berkeley Wagner knocked down a three-pointer off an assist from Luka Vranich. The Spartans went on a scoring run towards the end of the quarter to give them a 40-36 lead going into the final quarter.
Tyler Burton, who was unusually quiet for the first three quarters of the game, exploded in the 4th quarter. He scored 9 points early in the quarter to give the Pioneers the lead. Just when it looked like the Pioneers might run away with the game, the Spartans came charging back. With about 30 seconds left in the game, Jesse Martin knocked down a three-pointer from the corner to reduce the Pioneer lead to a single point. A miscommunication between Sean McTaggart and Isaiah Parido gave the Spartans the ball back. After a timeout, the Spartans had just 4 seconds to make something happen. Jonathan Vega took the potentially game-winning shot, clanking off the rim and giving the Pioneers a close 54-53 win.
Tyler Burton: While not the statline we usually see from Burton, his play was still critical for the Pioneers down the stretch. He finished with 14 points on 56% shooting, also adding 4 steals and 3 rebounds.
Jesse Martin: Whenever the Spartans needed a shot to stop a run or close the gap, Martin delivered. While the Spartans wound up on the losing end when the final buzzer sounded, Martin still played a very solid game. He recorded 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. 9 of his 13 points came off of three-pointers.
Nick del Grande: del Grande had a stellar game, snatching seemingly every loose ball and facilitating the Pioneer offense very well. He finished close to a double-double with 8 points and 13 rebounds, also adding 4 assists. del Grande also shot the ball efficiently, shooting 57% from the field.
Honorable Mentions: Berkeley Wagner, Brendan Weaver, Joe Sharp, Hunter Hildenbrand.
Points: Tyler Burton, 14
Rebounds: Nick del Grande, 13
Assists: Nick del Grande, 4
Steals: Tyler Burton, 4
Blocks: Sean McTaggart, 1
Turnovers: Tyler Burton, 5
The Section 3 slate is now all wrapped up for the Pioneers, who currently sit with an overall record of 7-2. The Pioneers are still in the hunt for the Section 3 title, needing Garden Spot to defeat Cocalico on Monday to force a winner-take-all tiebreaker game with the Eagles. The Pioneers have just one regular-season game remaining next Friday against non-league Lower Dauphin. The Pioneers are currently ranked 4th in the District III power rankings, which would have them hosting Section 3 foe Manheim Central in the District III quarterfinals.
-By Logan Moyer, LS News reporter