Columbia Hits The Century Mark In Win Over Pequea Valley As Crimson Tide Post 101-Point Performance Heading Into Key Divisional Test Against Lancaster Mennonite
Written by: Andy Herr on Thursday, January 13th, 2022
Chances are that somewhere along the line you’ve heard one or two phrases that could just as easily be applied to the world of sports much in the same way as it could be applied to life itself. To be sure, while there’s a great many to list- not all of which we have the time to run off in this particular space- there is one boys’ team currently playing basketball inside the Lancaster-Lebanon League that seems to be abiding by one particular catchphrase above all others so far this season. Simply put, the Columbia Crimson Tide have certainly been “handling their business” throughout the 2021-22 campaign up until this point.
Granted, this wasn’t exactly a totally unexpected notion coming into the season however. After all, aside from losing a handful of pieces off last year’s team, a squad that fell within a whisker of claiming the District 3-3A title a year ago I may add, the core nucleus of that same Crimson Tide unit that has been playing at the varsity ranks for the last handful of seasons -plus some welcomed new additions that have replaced their most recent departures- was back for one final go around with plenty of big goals within their sights. Chief among no doubt would be getting back into the league tournament before hopefully going to claim District 3 gold as well. So, with that in mind, it seemed to apropos to see Columbia roll into their Wednesday night game at Pequea Valley with a perfect 9-0 undefeated record to their name. But inside that stretch of play itself, the performance exhibited by Columbia has been absolutely sensational. Unblemished record aside, the Tide has won all their games so far this season by an average 71-45 final score at the hands of their opposition. Suffice to say, it’s been a very methodical, yet dominant body of work put forth by the group hailing from the westside of county has been able to put together this season. And with the much-anticipated first meeting of the season series against Lancaster Mennonite looming in the distance on Thursday for what will prove to be the race to determine L-L Section Five supremacy this year, the Crimson Tide most definitely needed to come to Kinzers on Wednesday night with their time cards, hard hats, and lunch pails with the intent to handle business once again and not slip up prior to the grudge match set to take shape on the Blazers’ home floor a mere 24 hours later.
As far as Pequea Valley was concerned, they too needed to enter their friendly confines equipped with those very same objects as well against Columbia, albeit for very different reasons. You see, fifth-year head coach Thad Rittenhouse is still trying to build up the Braves’ program. To his credit though, his work does not appear to be in vain considering that the Pequea Valley was able to make the District 3 playoffs last season -ironically falling to Columbia on the road in the opening round as fate would have it- effectively serving notice that the Braves seem to be on the right trajectory with Rittenhouse at the helm. This year though, the road for Pequea Valley has unfortunately been filled with plenty of speedbumps along the way for the Braves to try and navigate past, something perhaps best evidenced by PV only being able to snag a pair of wins this season against West Perry and Annville-Cleona respectively heading into their midweek tussle against Columbia. Suffice to say, claiming a win over the likes of the surging Crimson Tide unit would certainly do wonders for a team still on the prowl for that signature-type winthis season.
But on this night however, there was little doubt at the end of the 32 minutes of play. To put it bluntly, Columbia put all their weaponry on display for everyone in attendance to bear witness to.
Almost right for the moment the ball itself was thrown into the air on Wednesday night, the Tide appeared to be playing in an entirely different stratosphere. In fact, behind an absolutely dizzying brand of in-your-face defensive pressure that lent itself to a litany of forced turnovers that the visitors eventually turned into points in transition, Columbia wasted little time in asserting their dominance. Not only that, but the Crimson Tide seemed to take turns with one another in regards to sharing the wealth, especially considering seniors J’Von Collazo and Kerry “Hov” Glover proceeded to return the favor amongst themselves with assists with the other going on to score within the opening few minutes of the contest, the last exchange of which between the 12th grade duo came via an old-fashioned Glover three-point play that made it a 7-0 affair in favor of Columbia just 2:52 into the contest.
From there though, the Tide only continued to keep the pedal down. In fact, the Crimson Tide advantage would only build itself higher in size and stature as the opening frame moved along.
Case in point, two straight buckets chipped in by way of Collazo as the Tide’s 6’1 long and rangy guard helped make it a 16-0 Columbia bulge before a Brelon Miller deuce would just as quickly follow suit, effectively making it a 19-0 gap between the two sides with Pequea Valley being forced to call another early timeout in the face of the oncoming Crimson Tide onslaught. Unfortunately, as far as the Braves were most concerned, there was even more Columbia-inflicted damage yet to come.
Granted, while Columbia had already opened up a rather sizable difference to say the least by that point in time, the Tide simply kept going about their business from there on out. In fact, the guests’ lead would balloon up to 24-0 following yet another steal and subsequent finish at the cup, this one courtesy of 6’0 rising sophomore, Jordan Poole, before the Crimson Tide would proceed to polish off the remaining 1:34 of the first quarter unscathed seeing as how the Tide emphatically marched into the second quarter by posting the extremely rare shutout to the tune of a 26-0 count at the conclusion of the game’s initial eight-minute offering.
Finally, in the opening stages of the second stanza, PequeaValley got themselves into a bit of a groove offensively.
Albeit while looking up at the scoreboard and seeing a 29-0 deficit at that point in time, the Braves turned a familiar and reliable face, Nevin Stoltzfus, as the veteran key cog in the Pequea Valley rotation proceeded to deliver when called upon by authoring the Braves’ initial points of the evening by way of a 3-ball to make it a 29-3 contest just 45 seconds into the second quarter. Then, shortly following the Stoltzfus spark, Jackson Neff proceeded to get into the act as well given that the Braves’ sophomore would go to tally his own personal 5-0 run, a key salvo which allowed PV to get back within that 30-point gap.
However, as they would prove to do nearly all night long, there simply was no answer for the deflections and pure length that seemed to overtake every inch of the floor that the Crimson Tide would possess while operating within their trademark zone.
Sure enough, with turnovers seeming to present themselves for the taking at nearly every turn, the Tide would immediately take off and run to bucket with their newfound prize once given the opportunity. Speaking of which, a 5-0 blitz authored by Glover -the newest member of the esteemed Crimson Tide 1,000-point club who achieved the mark in his most recent appearance against Susquehanna Township on Monday night- proceeded to make it a 38-8 Tide advantage near the midway point of the second frame before a key trifecta immediately answered down on the other end by way of another PV sophomore, Myles Furlong, quickly followed suit for the Braves in retaliation. However, going back to Glover for just a moment, he would go on to finish the evening with an effort that seemed apropos of his watch list nomination to the McDonald’s All American Game that was extended earlier that same afternoon by going on to share team-high scoring honors alongside a freshman, Dominic Diaz-Ellis, as each would contribute a respectable 21-point effort to aid the Crimson Tide cause against PV. From there though, the remainder of the opening half continued to be bathed in nothing but crimson and yellow as 6-0 flurry to close the second quarter proceedings, all of which came via Jordan Poole, allowed Columbia to saunter in the locker room with decisive ownership of the 56-14 lead over Pequea Valley.
In the third quarter though, Columbia seemed totally unimpressed by the large cushion they currently found themselves sitting upon once the third quarter began in earnest.
More specifically, it took the Tide all of a handful of seconds inside the brand-new half to keep imposing their collective will as a nice take to the rack by the vastly underrated handiwork of Brelon Miller capped off the Columbia scoring punch at the conclusion of their opening possession of the third frame proving that not even a respite in between quarters would figure to slow down this bunch in any great way. From there though, the Crimson Tide attack just kept on coming as a 6-0 personal run by way of senior guard, Robert Footman, extended the Columbia lead out to a 70-22 count with three minutes and change left to play in the third with the mercy-rule already having gone into full effect.
And yes, while the outcome of the contest was all but a formality by that point in time, it was not as if Pequea Valley was totally devoid of highlights on this night. Sure enough, while it figured to get lost within the lopsided score that had been constructed by and large, the Braves simply scorched the nets from beyond the arc in the second quarter. And sure enough, that trend would continue into the second half as well considering Nevin Stoltzfus proceeded to bury a key third quarter trifecta, a hoop which would make it a 72-25 ballgame near the waning stages of the third. Then, as far as the official record books would show, the Tide would go on to close the quarter on a 7-0 run from there on out, effectively lugging the commanding 79-25 lead into the final quarter.
Yet even in the fourth quarter as well, the Crimson Tide band only continued to play on.
Yes, even when he too checked into the contest, Artie Poindexter would prove himself worthy of his minutes offered against Pequea Valley on this night as the Crimson Tide sophomore would tally a quick bucket to help usher in the final frame, a basket which upped the Crimson Tide lead to a gargantuan 83-27 difference with nearly every facet of the Tide’s arsenal firing on all cylinders. But speaking of Nevin Stoltzfus, here he was on the scene once more inside the fourth quarter as well to try and help the Pequea Valley troops find some good vibes they can perhaps take with them into their ensuing few contests by pumping in a pair of 3-balls in the waning few minutes of action. On the night, the Braves’ senior would certainly prove himself to be a star worthy amongst all others as Stoltzfus would go on to finish the ballgame by posting a very sound 16-point night of work to pace the Pequea Valley effort.
But by that point, the last bit of excitement that was yet to unfold would be whether the Tide would reach the elusive 100-point barrier. Well, while it may have taken all the way up until the final minute of play to decide it once and for all, Columbia and its fans who had traveled eastward finally had their wish granted as a put-back by Dominic Diaz-Ellis did in fact push the visitors over the top, a fitting exclamation point put on a commanding, resounding, dominating, insert any other adjective you wish, Columbia 101-35 victory over a Section Five divisional foe in Pequea Valley on Wednesday night in Kinzers.
And while Columbia’s performance was impressive from top to bottom in its own right, it grows even more staggering when you consider what Crimson Tide head coach Kerry Glover had to say in the post mortem, a coach who likely feels just at home on the sidelines inside a gym as he does in his own living room given his year-long duties between the AAU and high school circuitsrespectively. “No,” Glover went to say quickly when asked if he had ever been a part of some of the things his crew put forth on Wednesday night. “Never had a shutout in a quarter before. I think we’ve hit in the 90-point area before, but this was the first time getting into triple digits too.”
“The focus today was making sure that we were able to continue to get better with our execution and then to get the younger guys into the mix,” he went on to say in regard to his team’s goals heading into their matchup against Pequea Valley. “It’s a dynamic group we have with our freshmen and sophomores, but varsity is still very new to those guys. People don’t understand that. They look at the success we’re having thus far and saying, ‘You guys have a lot returning.’ I’m like, ‘I got just three guys with varsity experience.’ The rest of those guys, two of the sophomores, they filled out the rotation when it was time for playoffs last year to have them around in that type of environment, but those guys don’t have a ton of minutes or varsity experience,” Glover added. “Games like this, that’s huge for those guys.”
But perhaps the most important element that is the glue that makes up this year’s edition of the Crimson Tide collectively? The fact that while they may appear fun-loving and jovial before the game begins, they have the ability to flip the switch and turn into assassins by the time the ball tips off. Needless to say, thatwill make any head coach and his staff rest much easier at night.
“I tell people all the time, and everybody knows that I’m a York guy, but my three seniors (Kerry Glover, J’Von Collazo, and Robert Footman), I think they are the best trio of guards since the ‘98 York High Bearcat team. They’re different,” said Glover in offering high praise of his battle-tested nucleus. “They’re leaders, but they also understand that everything doesn’t have to be with a drill sergeant mentality. They know when it’s time to get to work and they understand that this was a business trip, so let’s go take care of business.”
And if nights like Wednesday are the type of workmanlike performances that Columbia will continue to make seem rather routine, it may be time to start asking the boss for a raise.
NEXT UP: Finally, come Thursday evening, the matchup that certified L-L basketball fiends have been hoping to see all year long will at long last come into view. That’s right. About 22 hours following the final buzzer against Pequea Valley, Columbia will go right back on the road near that same exact area of the county for their first date with Lancaster Mennonite. To be sure, it’s a matchup will almost assuredly feature the two teams that will clinch berths into the upcoming league tournament next month in terms of what Section Five has to offer. Of course, the elephant in the room remains as to who will take home the section title specifically. Yet regardless of what happens either way on Thursday night alongside Route 30, especially given the way in which the believed to be upper echelon teams of Section One and Two have somewhat stubbed their toes of late, perhaps the door remains open this year more than ever for either of these two Section Five clubs to make a legitimate running at snatching league gold. If nothing else, both squads appear well-positioned for deep runs inside their respective District 3 brackets too which could perhaps open each up to long ventures throughout the state tournament as well.
On the other hand, for Pequea Valley, they too will get right back up on the horse come Thursday night when they welcome Dayspring Christian into town for a nonleague tester before another nonconference tilt against Susquehannock on Saturday night right back at home as well. But more than anything elsefor the Braves, the remainder of this season will be about building and sustaining progress. And while those on the outside may look at Pequea Valley’s overall record and not think of much of it before brushing it off, a deeper dive underneath the surface seems to indicate that Coach Rittenhouse has a plan for making this all come together. With enrollment numbers within the youth program reporting to be on an upswing, plus with a JV outfit that already topped the Crimson Tide JV’s just moments before the varsity contest got underway on Wednesday evening, Pequea Valley Basketball may once again prove itself to be a hot ticket inside these parts for the next few years to come.
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