Manheim Central vs. Lampeter-Strasburg - L-L boys basketball

Lampeter-Strasburg's Ty Burton (3) drives on Manheim Central's Connor Fahnestock (24) during first half action of an L-L League section three boys basketball game at Lampeter-Strasburg High School Thursday Dec. 16, 2021.

Lampeter-Strasburg scored the first seven points in Thursday’s boys basketball home opener against Manheim Central. The visiting Barons eventually cut their deficit to one point midway through the second quarter. But L-S can score in bunches.

The Pioneers did just that in closing the second quarter on a 13-2 run and quickly building on their lead in the third quarter en route to an eventual 70-47 victory.

“We got our butts kicked tonight,” Manheim Central fifth-year coach Charlie Fisher said. “But it’s the softest butt-kicking you can have. … Any inch you give them (L-S), they take whatever they need to gain that lead. That’s why they’re so dangerous.”

Manheim Central (0-1 Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Three, 0-2 overall) cut its deficit to 17-16 midway through the second quarter. L-S (1-0, 3-0) led 30-18 at intermission and 49-32 at the end of the third quarter.

The Pioneers entered the year knowing senior forwards Nick Del Grande and Beau Heyser weren’t returning, as both are using the winter to focus their attention on preparing to play football at the next level.

As a result, the L-S boys basketball team essentially starts five guards. All are comfortable shooting from the perimeter, evidenced by the 10 3-pointers in Thursday’s win. 

Nearly everyone is comfortable handling the ball, too, including Luka Vranich (11 points, seven rebounds, five assists) and Berkeley Wagner (eight points, six rebounds). Vranich was a top cross country runner last fall for a Pioneers team that won the District Three Class 2A crown and competed at the state tournament. Wagner was the starting quarterback for a football team that competed in the District Three Class 4A title game. In other words, both players are battle-tested and provide leadership.

Then there’s sophomore guard Ty Burton, a Class 5A all-state selection as a freshman a year ago. Burton put up a game-high 27 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists in Thursday’s win. L-S junior guard Ben Wert also chipped in 14 points.

“We obviously like to run,” Burton said. “We can space the floor out because every guy on the team can shoot, which is big. And then on the defensive side. …we have big guards. We have a lot of big guards who know how to rebound.”

Meanwhile, Manheim Central entered the year with two starters out to injury, one of them for the season. Then the Barons faced two of the league’s best teams out of the gate in Warwick and L-S. Both have been lopsided defeats.

“We’re putting guys in positions they weren’t expecting to be in,” Fisher said. “We just have to get comfortable.”

Trey Grube (12 points) was No. 2 in the league in 3-pointers a year ago. Grube made an emphasis on getting to the hoop in Thursday’s defeat, with all of his points coming from inside the arc.

“In order to get Trey going and get everybody going, our offensive possessions need to be better,” Fisher said. “We need to pop that ball around and make the extra pass.”

Collin Thompson (13 points) and Judd Novak (10 points) also paced the Barons’ scoring.

Up next: L-S travels to Solanco on Friday. Manheim Central travels to Northern Lebanon on Saturday.

BOX SCORE

What to Read Next