HOOPS LOGO 1.jpg

Lampeter-Strasburg's Austin Stoltzfus watched his 3-point attempt from the corner arc through the air early in the fourth quarter against visiting Cocalico Tuesday. The shot clanked off the rim and bounced off two sets of fingertips before Stoltzfus devoured the rebound and deposited it into the basket. The two points gave him 10 at that point in the night — he finished with 14 to lead all scorers — and helped the Pioneers hold off Cocalico for a 57-41 victory in a showdown between the top two teams in Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Three boys basketball standings.

"He's just rounding into basketball shape now," Lampeter-Strasburg coach Ed Berryman said of Stoltzfus, who missed time early in the season with a separated shoulder suffered during the football season. "We're seeing what he can do on the court. He's making some plays for us."

The first-place Pioneers (7-0 L-L League, 9-5 overall) set the tone with four 3-pointers in the opening quarter, including three from Darin Landis (12 points) in the first five minutes.

"That really got us moving," Berryman said. "They're a good defensive team. We know we've got to execute, and when they had their two bigs out there, we tried to spread the floor a little bit just to make them cover outside."

Meanwhile, the Eagles (5-3, 8-6) went cold at the other end, trailing 28-11 after making two field goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

"We had a couple 3s that rattled out," said Cocalico coach Seth Sigman. "We had a couple layups that were right there, and we just missed them. You just have to play through it and keep fighting, and I was proud of our effort in the second half."

The Eagles rallied in the second half behind 11 points from sophomore guard Trey Rios. They cut the L-S lead to 31-21 with 2:54 left in the third quarter before Stoltzfus stemmed the tide with a basket off a feed from Landis and a 3-pointer on the Pioneers' next possession. A Rios 3 pulled the Eagles to within 10 points again before a pair of free throws from Caleb Smoker (10 points) and Stoltzfus' putback off his own shot gave the Pioneers the cushion they needed. Seth Beers sealed the game by going 6-for-7 from the foul line in the fourth quarter en route to 13 total points.

"Our No. 1 goal this year was to win the section," Berryman said. "This gives us a little bit of breathing room, but everybody's getting better. Our next game is going to be just as important."