Lancaster Country Day vs Lancaster County Christian-D3 Boys 1A qtr

Lancaster Country Day's Will Lisk (21) goes for the steal on Lancaster County Christian's Christian Hansen (21) during first half action of a District 3 boys 1A basketball quarterfinal at Lancaster Country Day School's Parents Fieldhouse Thursday Feb. 21, 2019.

Despite a bit of a layoff, there was no letdown for the Lancaster Country Day boys basketball team Thursday night in the District Three Class 1A quarterfinal round.

The Cougars sprinted out to a quick first-quarter lead over Lancaster County Christian before pulling away in the second half en route to a dominant 71-39 victory.

The win advances the No. 3 Cougars (17-4) into Monday’s semifinal game at home opposite No. 7 Greenwood — a 64-50 upset winner over No. 2 Conestoga Christian on Thursday night — while also locking up a PIAA tournament berth.

“This is a team that was in the district finals last year and from day one they wanted to get back there,” LCD coach Jon Shultz said. “We said tonight is like a championship game for us; win this and we’ve got another championship game on Monday.”

The Cougars opened the contest on an 8-0 run, sparked by Luke Walling’s steal and subsequent putback bucket from Lance Lennon, and culminated by a pair of 3-pointers from Walling and Will Lisk.

But Charles Hall and Justin Peifer answered with 3-pointers of their own for the No. 6 Lions (18-8), who crept within 14-9 after one quarter of play.

“Charles Hall has hit some really big shots for us. Peifer has hit some big shots,” Lions coach Nate Long said. “Caleb Heck has, but they knew if they could lock Caleb down that would make our lives difficult. (Walling) is a great defender and did a really good job.”

Meanwhile, a steady press defense kept the Lions off-balance while leading to points on the other end for Country Day.

Cougars guard Andrew Williams went 6 for 6 from the free-throw line in the second quarter, with a coast-to-coast lay-in by Lisk pushing LCD’s advantage to 24-13.

“Tonight we really put it together,” Shultz said. “We played a complete game, we played a smart game, we played a fast game. That’s the kind of stuff that we wanted to do.”

Again, though, Lancaster County Christian would answer behind five points from Seth Stoltzfus, closing within 28-20 by halftime.

Yet the Cougars opened the third quarter on a 7-0 burst, and the lead ballooned to 47-25 entering the fourth quarter.

“They create havoc and they’re good at it,” Long said of LCD. “They had a lot of fun and we didn’t.”

Williams paced the balanced Cougars attack with a game-high 16 points, with Lennon adding 15, Lisk 14 and Walling 13.

Hall bucketed a team-high 11 points for Lancaster County Christian, with Stoltzfus and Xavier Shea adding eight points each.

The Lions will look to punch their own ticket to the PIAA tournament with a win in Monday’s consolations opposite Conestoga Christian, a familiar foe.

“We’ll play them for the fourth time,” said Long, whose team knocked off Conestoga Christian in the CCAC semifinals the previous week, a game in which Heck passed the 1,000-point miletsone for his career. “They (the players) know if you win, you’re in.”