Burton and Vranich Combine for 44 as Pioneers Advance to District Quarterfinals
On Tuesday night, the boys' basketball team hosted the Northeastern Bobcats in the first round of the District III playoffs. The Bobcats were 11-6 entering the game, earning themselves the 11th seed in the tournament. The Pioneers (8-3) were seeded in the 6th spot and were coming off a tough loss to Lower Dauphin in their last game. Unlike previous renditions of the District III tournament, there is no consolation bracket. This is due to only the winner of the tournament qualifying for the PIAA bracket.
Luka Vranich in Game vs Lancaster Mennonite (Jon Klein)
The Pioneers started off the game on an 8-0 scoring run after a bucket from Luka Vranich and two three-pointers from Tyler Burton. The Bobcats answered right back, going on an 8-0 run of their own thanks in part to great three-point shooting. With 30 seconds remaining in the quarter, Burton hit a jump shot to send the Pioneers into the second quarter up 10-8.
The Pioneers were undeniably the better team in the second quarter, creating space for open shots by energetic off-ball movement. The Bobcats hit their open shots but lacked the creativity of their opponents. L-S went into the break with a 24-17 lead. Tyler Burton was the games' leading scorer in the first half, recording 13 points.
The Pioneers continued to control the action in the third quarter, once again proving to be too much for the Bobcat defense to handle. Luka Vranich and Sean McTaggart each scored 6 points during the quarter, propelling the Pioneers to a 39-23 lead going into the final quarter of play. Tyler Burton scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as the Pioneers cruised to a 57-38 win.
Tyler Burton: Burton's had a spectacular freshman season thus far, and it continued tonight. Burton finished with 26 points on 61% shooting, including 4 three-pointers. The Pioneers will be a very tough out in this tournament if #3 continues to play at the top of his game.
Luka Vranich: Vranich rarely took a false step (or shot) tonight. 18 points on 90% shooting from the field. If that's not impressive enough for your liking, how about 9 rebounds and 5 assists to go along with the shooting numbers? When Vranich plays well, the Pioneer offense runs at least 10 times better.
Sean McTaggart: Another solid performance from McTaggart, who continues to look better and better as his senior season winds to a close. He contributed 8 points, 3 assists, and a game-high 5 steals tonight.
Honorable Mentions: Nick del Grande, Kaden Hamilton, Karron Mallory, Berkeley Wagner.
STAT LEADERS: (Lampeter-Strasburg Only)
Points: Tyler Burton, 26
Rebounds: Luka Vranich, 9
Assists: Nick del Grande, 6
Steals: Sean McTaggart, 5
Blocks: Tyler Burton/Isaiah Parido, 1
Turnovers: Luka Vranich, 5
With the win tonight, the Pioneers have advanced to the quarterfinals of the District III tournament. They will head to Shippensburg on Thursday night to take on the 3rd seeded Greyhounds. The Greyhounds defeated Big Spring by a score of 63-44 for the right to face the Pioneers. Section 3 foes Manheim Central and Cocalico both advanced to the quarterfinals as well. The Barons will head to Hummelstown for a battle with Lower Dauphin, while the Eagles head north to Hershey to face the Trojans.
-By Logan Moyer, LS News reporter