Robinson’s game-winner lifts Conestoga past Pennsbury in OT

TREDDYFFRIN >> Milton Robinson knew he had the game in his hands. And with a drive down the lane and a trip to the bank, the Conestoga senior sent the Pioneers into the second round of the District 1 Class 6A tournament.

In a game that had more than its share of ups and downs and thrilling plays, Robinson provided the final highlight reel, taking a pass from Shane Scott and driving right at Pennsbury’s Gary Francis. The ball hit the glass and rolled through the twine with a little over three seconds to go in overtime, giving Conestoga a thrilling 58-56 win. 

Pennsbury’s desperation heave fell short at the buzzer, and the Pioneers (15-8) advanced to yet another all-Central League showdown with Lower Merion Tuesday night.

“I just wanted to isolate and attack the basket,” Robinson said. “And I got the ball over the defender and it went in. When we were down going into the last quarter I told the guys this might be the last eight minutes we play together, and that it was time to go.”

Conestoga trailed, 40-33, after three quarters, largely on the inside play of the Falcons’ (14-9) Francis, who led all scorers with 25 points to go along with eight rebounds. Francis was a handful all night for the Pioneer defenders, but a renewed sense of defensive urgency fueled a 15-8 Conestoga advantage in the fourth quarter, sending the game into overtime. 

Also big for the Pioneers was a torrid 22 for 26 night from the free throw line, while Pennsbury was just five for eight from the charity stripe.

Both Robinson and fellow senior Zach Lezanic led the way for Conestoga, who also got good defensive play from Evan Medley, who battled Francis inside all night. Lezanic drained four big free throws in the last two minutes of the fourth to put Conestoga ahead. But with six seconds left in regulation, Francis scored in the lane, putting the game into the extra session.

After Pennsbury’s Collin Connor drained a three, his fourth of the night, the game was tied at 51-51 early in overtime. But Lezanic took the ball at the top of the key and rolled to his left and darted to the basket for an old fashioned three-point play and a 54-51 Conestoga lead.

“In the fourth period it was like we have to get going,” Lezanic said. “Playing with these guys is awesome and we did not want it to end and we turned up the intensity.”

After a Pennsbury turnover, Robinson drove the basket, got fouled, and hit two free throws for the 56-51 lead. But, the Falcons did not quit. Francis scored inside for a 56-53 game and after a Robinson miss inside, Pennsbury brought the ball up the court and found Francis, who drove hard to the hole, scored, got fouled and hit the free throw for a 56-56 game. That forced Conestoga to call timeout and set up the last shot.

“We were going to be happy with either Milton or Zach isolating,” Conestoga coach Mike Troy said. “And we got Milton the ball and he made a real nice move to the basket. This team showed its senior leadership by turning up its level of intensity in the fourth quarter and overtime. We have been talking about how you have to be tough as a team in districts and states, and to accomplish things you have to raise your level of play and tonight the kids did that right in time.”

Conestoga 58, Pennsbury 56 (OT)

PENNSBURY (56): Francis 10 5-8 25, Arnold 1 0-0 3, Connor 4 0-0 12, Miller 4 0-0 9, Barron 1 0-0 3, Richard 2 0-0 4,Johnson 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 5-8 56.

CONESTOGA (58): Robinson 5 7-11 18, Lezanic 2 10-11 14, Medley 2 3-4 7, Martin 1 0-0 3, Brace 4 0-0 8, Scott 2 2-2 6, Rush 1 0-0 2, Steele 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 22-26 58.

Pennsbury 12 11 17 8 8 – 56
Conestoga 10 11 12 15 10 – 58

3-point goals: Arnold, Connor 4, Miller, Martin, Robinson.