Pequea Valley Overcomes Sluggish Start, Uses Homecourt Advantage To Score Key Divisional Win Over Lancaster Country Day
Written by: Andy Herr on Saturday, January 11th, 2020
Let’s be honest here for just a second. Yes, while the window of a high school basketball season may seem long given that the regular season creeps into the span of three calendar months, the season likely seems a whole heck of a lot longer when you find yourself coming up short more often than not. That said, there surely had to be a prevailing sense of shared-feeling concerning Lancaster Country Day and Pequea Valley up until this point in the season.
For Country Day, it certainly hasn’t been all doom and gloom of late for the Cougars. In fact, Country Day has certainly found themselves well within reach their last handful of contests, including an agonizingly-tough comeback against Kutztown that ended on a NBA 3-ball hurled in at the buzzer in overtime courtesy of Kutztown’s Marlon Creech that sent Country Day packing back on the afternoon of December 21st, 50-47. All in all, the Kutztown defeat was just one in the span of a current seven-game losing streak that Country Day found themselves lugging around into their Friday night contest. Yet as fate would have it, their opponent on the opposite bench was understandably commiserating in many of the Cougars’ exact sentiments.
Say what you will about Pequea Valley the last handful of years, but the fact of the matter remains that the Braves bring them with them plenty of fire power to compete on a consistent and nightly basis given what’s found in their holster as highlighted by the talents of table-setter, Devon Colyer. To be sure, the Braves’ junior guard is arguably the best player that the greater Lancaster-Lebanon League audience is largely not aware of for the most part. And while Colyer’s 18 points per game clip is understandably overshadowed by PV’s 3-8 overall record, the opportunity most certainly remains there for the Braves to conjure up some magic and make some noise in the Section Five landscape with the season now over the midway point.
Sure enough, there was indeed a little bit of that magic on display for all to see come Friday on a mild winter’s night in Kinzers.
With Pequea Valley struggling to come out of the gates to a, shall we say “rousing start,” Lancaster Country Day quickly saw their opportunity to pounce. And once they did, the Cougars’ early blitzkrieg would all come courtesy of 5’9 sophomore sharp-shooter, Grant Landis, as the Cougars’ burgeoning sensation proceeded to fire in the first five points of the evening which helped usher Country Day out to the early 5-0 lead just three minutes into the contest.
Over the span of the next two minutes and change, the homestanding Braves would continue to struggle in terms of breaking through the scoring seal. Yet once they did, it would prove to be all too familiar suspect who did so as Pequea Valley’s Devon Colyer proceeded to fire in a 3-ball, PV’s first points of the entire night, trimming Country Day’s lead down to 5-3 with 2:40 left to play in the opening period.
Needless to say, the three-point show proved to be a key point of emphasis in the game’s initial eight minutes. So, with that in mind, it was not that much of a shock to see Country Day come right down the floor and rifle in one of their own, something that Cougars’ 5’10 senior guard, Adam Majid, then did while working himself free against the Braves’ 2-3 zone, reupping the Country Day lead back to five points before the first quarter would later expire with Lancaster Country Day still maintaining their lead, 8-5.
As stated, while both team’s proficiency to shoot the rock was undoubtedly one of the more impactful storylines that had resonated within the opening stanza, Lancaster Country Day’s sheer domination in terms of cleaning and owning the offensive glass was equally damning as well. For that, the Cougars leaned heavily on the efforts of 6’5 junior post presence, Greg Mizii, with Mizii continuously coming down with the lion’s share of the Cougars’ offensive boards. In fact, one of Mizii’s offensive boards then quickly resulted in an offensive stick-back from point-blank range, a bucket that enabled Country Day to then double-up their hosts at 12-6 with 4:35 left to play before intermission.
Yet for as well as the Cougars had started things off inside on Friday night, Pequea Valley began to lean on their bread and butter — getting out and running in transition — in hopes of trimming the Cougars’ lead back down to a much more manageable size.
Sure enough, that is precisely what took place over the next few minutes of game action – all of which came courtesy of Pequea Valley junior guard, Tony Lazar – as Lazar’s personal 5-0 retaliation helped trim Country Day’s lead down to the slimmest of margins, 14-13, with 1:40 still to go before the half.
From there however, Pequea Valley was able to keep their foot planted firmly on the gas pedal as a timely 3-ball dialed up in front of the Country Day bench by junior guard Josh Jarvis gave the Braves their first lead of the night at 16-14, which is exactly where things would remain once the final 1:08 ticked off the first half clock with both teams retiring to their respective dressing rooms.
The thing was, not even the respite in the game’s action proved to do much in terms of slowing down the ongoing Pequea Valley onslaught.
While Devon Colyer routinely steals the headlines due to his high propensity of putting the rock through the net on a routine and consistent basis, it was his ability to be unselfish and get others involved that helped shape the narrative of the opening minutes of the third quarter on Friday evening.
Right out of the chute, PV’s junior sensation proceeded to tally a pair of two consecutive dishes to sophomore forward Sean Liney and Tony Lazar respectively, upping the Pequea Valley cushion to a half dozen at 20-14, not even two minutes into the third frame.
Shortly thereafter, the Pequea Valley lead only continued to swell up even further as a back-breaking triple registered by way of PV sophomore guard, Nevin Stoltzfus, allowed the Braves to flirt with a double-digit lead at 25-17 with 5:20 now left to play in the third.
Suffice to say, the game was now dangerously on the verge of slipping further and further away from Country Day with the home crowd and PV’s frenzied student section, “The Red Zone,” going absolutely bonkers in support of their fellow classmates. Fortunately for the Cougars, they could then lean on one of their key veterans, 6’3 junior forward Lance Lennon, as Lennon more than proved his worth by nailing a pair of back-to-back floaters in the lane, trimming the Pequea Valley cushion back down to size at 26-21 with 3:50 left to go in the quarter.
But just when the Cougars and their contingent likely started to feel better about things, their hosts quickly put a stop of those good feelings. Case in point, a key stretch of stretch of buckets tallied by Nevin Stoltzfus which eventually helped Pequea Valley escalate their lead up to ten points at 32-22, before the third quarter would later expire with PV holding serve at 32-24 heading into the final period.
Once the fourth quarter got underway, the Cougars would be able to cut into the Pequea Valley cushion with a sweet Lance Lennon turn-around, spot-up jumper from the foul line, slicing the Country Day lead down to six at 34-28 with 6:10 left to play in regulation.
Yet right at that very moment, Pequea Valley would proceed to go on a run from which Country Day could not overcome.
In fact, the two key Pequea Valley buckets seemed to mirror one another as a pair of triples sunk from nearly the exact the same spot in the corner, thanks to Tony Lazar and Devon Colyer respectively, helped spur the Braves out to the 40-28 lead with 4:30 left to play.
From there, the Pequea Valley snowball was now clearly rolling downhill at warp speed as a Tony Lazar layup in transition, good for two of his team-high 19 points on the evening, helped usher PV out to the 44-28 lead with 3:18 left to go, prompting Country Day to call a timeout and regroup.
And regroup the Cougars would as a 3-ball popped by Grant Landis, followed by a 3-3 trip to the foul line by Landis, helped Lancaster Country Day roar back to within shouting distance at 49-40 with 1:41 remaining. On the night, Landis would prove to be the Cougars’ key catalyst by pouring in game-high 23-point effort to assist the Lancaster Country Day cause.
That said, the Cougars would continue to claw back even further as another Country Day triple, this one from Lance Lennon, got LCD back within six at 49-43 just 11 seconds later.
But that would prove to be all the closer Pequea Valley would allow their guests to get for the remainder of the evening as a game-saving 4-4 stretch of free throws sunk by Lazar and Colyer helped prove to be the ultimate difference down the final stretch as Pequea Valley would eventually come away with a hard-fought, emotional 58-49 over a persistent and cagy Lancaster Country Day squad within the Section Five standings on Friday night.
NEXT UP: After dispatching Country Day late Friday evening, Pequea Valley will now look to ride their wave of momentum even further onward on Saturday night when the Braves get ready for a date on the road at Brandywine Heights before returning back home to Kinzers for a Monday night showdown with Berks Christian, an intriguing matchup against Kennard-Dale of the York-Adams League at home again on Tuesday night — a matchup between two of the better guards in all the mid-state between PV’s Devon Coyler and K-D’s Carter Day — before the Braves later close out their homestand with another Friday night grudge match, this one against Annville-Cleona.
For Country Day on the other hand, it’s right back to work for the Cougars. After dropping their game on Friday night against PV, LCD must now right the ship pronto on Saturday afternoon at home against Tulpehocken in a game that will carry a lot of weight in terms of Country Day perhaps sneaking back into the District 3 playoffs and opening up a defense of their single-A crown. After Saturday, the Cougars will remain at home within their friendly confines with a pair of Section Five battles against Lebanon Catholic on Tuesday night and a welcoming of the Columbia Crimson Tide on Thursday evening, the latter of which will be livestreamed via LLHoops.com.
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