Pequea Valley made things interesting through the first three quarters of Tuesday’s District 3 Class 3A boys basketball quarterfinal at Columbia’s Elmer Kreiser Gymnasium.
It’s then the host Tide cranked up the intensity on both ends, made three-straight 3-pointers to open the fourth quarter and eventually came away with a 63-49 victory in a playoff game that felt much closer than the final score suggests.
The No. 2-seed Tide advanced to a district semifinal for the third time in five years. They’ll host No. 3-seed York Catholic in Thursday’s semifinal.
Columbia, though, didn’t seem to be in celebration mode after Tuesday’s win, staying in its locker room for several minutes longer than Pequea Valley, who finished 3-10 overall.
“We just talked about staying on the path,” Columbia fifth-year coach Kerry Glover said. “Offense wasn’t the issue. We just have to get stops consistently. Not having basket exchange. We need to play better in all areas on Thursday.”
First half: The No. 7-seed Braves, making their district playoff appearance since 2010, used a 2-3 zone defense for much of the night to prevent Columbia from attacking the paint while pushing out on the Tide’s many perimeter shooters. On the other end, Pequea Valley focused on dribble-drive kickouts. It led to a first half that was pretty much all perimeter shooting, but neither team got hot.
By halftime, the teams combined to shoot 15 for 49 from the floor (30.6 percent). Pequea Valley made 5 of 23 attempts (21.7 percent), with all of their made shots being 3-pointers. Columbia made 2 of 11 from beyond the arc. The L-L Section Five champion Tide (15-4) clung to a 25-20 lead at intermission.
Second half: Columbia scored the first seven points of the third quarter to go up 32-20. Pequea Valley then converted its first 2-point shot at the 5:03 mark of the third quarter. It was the beginning of a Braves’ 10-0 run, with all those points coming inside, cutting the deficit to 32-30. A Devon Colyer step-back 3-pointer at the end of the quarter trimmed the Columbia advantage to 39-34.
"Yeah, we had their backs against the ropes a couple times," Glover said. "We let them back in by two of our guys staying at the top of the key expecting us to get a rebound so they can get out in transition and get an easy basket. It’s the little things like we had the lead at 7, then gave up offensive rebounds and gave up a wide-open three."
Colyer (14 points, four rebounds) and Tony Lazar (10 points, nine rebounds, two steals) paced the Braves. Colyer finished his career with 1,127 points, fifth-most in program history. By the way, Pequea Valley and Elizabethtown played the second-least amount of games of any L-L team this season. For PV, it's largely because of multiple COVID-19 shutdowns.
"I don’t know of any other team in the L-L League that had to go through what we went through," Pequea Valley fourth-year coach Thad Rittenhouse said. "To be in the districts for the first time in 11 years and we took a team that was No. 2 in districts to the fourth quarter. I can’t be more proud of them.”
Footman (16 points, two steals) jumpstarted the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer. It was the first of three-straight Columbia treys to push its lead to 48-34. Columbia was also led by Michael Poole, Jr. (12 points, nine rebounds) and Kerry Glover (11 points, six rebounds, three steals).
“It feels good,” Footman said of Tuesday’s win. “We know we have to take that step further in order to get to our goal. It feels good but we have more work to do.”
"We just need to be rejuvenated," coach Glover said. "I might have these guys come in (Wednesday) and play dodge ball for a little bit. They just need to have some fun. Do something different. Let them have 15 or 20 minutes of some down time and just relax.”