By Brendan Fahey and Charlie Sisian
The Conestoga Varsity boys basketball team tipped off the 2021 Central League Tournament today after coming off a bye from the first round, hosting the Upper Darby Royals at home for a quarterfinals matchup in the Central League tournament.
Despite some early struggles and turnovers, Stoga was able to get their offense started through strong play down low. The Stoga guards successfully fed their big men in the post, making it hard for Upper Darby to contain. On the defensive end, Stoga’s size was once again a big factor, as Upper Darby was unable to operate in the paint and was forced to settle for outside jumpers, many of which missed the mark. As the first quarter ended, the Pioneers lead 8-7.
As the second quarter opened, Stoga continued to utilize their size to their advantage. In response, the Royals began double teaming the Pioneers in the post to try to stop them. However, this opened up Stoga shooters on the outside, who connected on their shots. Upper Darby used a barrage of 3-point attempts to try to climb back into the game, but the Pioneers zone defense did a great job limiting their opportunities and contesting the shots. During the quarter, Conestoga only conceded 2 points, and going into the half they lead 17-9.
Stoga opened the second half just as they did the first half – forcing the ball deep into the post and getting easy buckets over the smaller Royals’ defenders. To stifle the Pioneers bigs, Upper Darby continued to send double teams, creating some turnovers, but ultimately doing little to slow down the offensive attack. On the other end, Stogas’ zone defense continued to smother Upper Darby’s offense, leaving them scoreless with 2 minutes left. Late in the quarter, however, Upper Darby hit two tough 3-pointers and forced a few turnovers. Momentum seemed to swing to the Royals’ side for the first time all game. Nonetheless, Stoga entered the 4th quarter with a large lead of 28-15.
Luckily for the Pioneers, Upper Darby’s momentum was short lived in the fourth. The Royals ramped up their defensive pressure, but their offense was unable to capitalize. Stoga quickly put the game out of reach for the Royals with timely 3-pointers and by getting to the free throw line.
As the clock hit zero, Stoga led 41-22, and will now move on to the semifinals of the Central League Tournament, where they will face the winner of Strath Haven and Haverford. Roll Neers!