By Charlie Sisian and Brendan Fahey
The Conestoga Pioneers Varsity traveled to Springfield on Thursday night for their final regular-season game. Riding a two-game win streak, Stoga looked to continue their winning ways against the Cougars to finish off the regular season.
Following the 7pm tipoff, Stoga dug in defensively, using a 3-2 zone defense to force contested three-point attempts by Springfield, many of which were missed. On the offensive end, Stoga spread the Cougars’ defense thin with smart passing, and by the quarter’s end, Stoga led 16-10.
In the second quarter, Stoga ran away with the game, thanks in part in part to their big men who Springfield struggled to contain. During the quarter, the Pioneers outrebounded the Cougars 11-2, and went to town in the post, scoring inside on one possession after another. On top of this, Stoga continued to impose their will on the defensive end, leading to a 21-5 run throughout the quarter and a 37-15 lead at the break.
Stoga continued their torrid pace in the 3rd quarter, mostly thanks to more dominant post play by the Conestoga big men. To keep pace, and due to occasional lapses in Conestoga’ zone, Springfield relied on 3 pointers, with some of them finding their mark. Eventually, timely defense, including a flurry of blocks and steals, put Stoga on the offensive, leading to long stretches without missed field goals. The boys finished the quarter leading Springfield 59-43.
Despite the large lead, there was still a quarter left to play. As the starters got some well-deserved rest, the Pioneers’ bench maintained – and even extended – Stoga’s lead. As the Pioneers took to the locker room, they had their most dominant victory of the season, defeating Springfield 72-44. Stoga remains the 1st seed in the Central League playoffs and will hope to use this momentum to win the Central League title. Roll Neers!