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Lancaster Mennonite (22-7) punched their ticket to the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals on Tuesday after defeating Chartiers Valley, 68-64 in a roller coaster of a game in Bedford.

After 618 miles of traveling so far in the playoffs, the Blazers will finally play a little closer to home when they face fellow District Three team Susquehanna Township (21-7) at Milton Hershey High School at 8pm on Friday.

Blazers coach Geoff Groff expressed that he was happy about playing closer to home mainly because it means more Mennonite fans can travel to the game.

"It'll be nice to stay closer to home. The road trips have worked out for us pretty far but it'll be nice for our fan base," Groff said. "We certainly enjoy the support of our fans and expect an even bigger following on Friday night."

While the Blazers eeked into the state playoffs, the Indians ran the table in the District Three Tournament and are most likely favored to win this game.

Much like Mennonite, the Indians can have a well-balanced team which makes it difficult to key in on one player. Sophomore guard Nehemiah Mack, who head coach Vince Rogers called one of the best point guards in Pennsylvania after the district tournament,  took control of Susquehanna’s last game with 22 points while senior Gabriel Mack chipped in 11. In Susquehanna’s first-round game against Imhotep, Joe Marshall knocked down 10-of-11 shots and led the team with 21 points while Gabriel Mack registered 18 and Nehemiah scored 12.

Susquehanna is an athletic team than can stretch the floor and score in bunches but Mennonite is type of team than can handle such pressure. Chartiers Valley was a team that could get white hot from beyond the arc and go on massive runs but Mennonite’s ability to take care of the basketball and limit the Colts to one-and-done possessions stifled any potential rhythm.

6’3 forward senior Zach Lehman pulled down 11 rebounds against Chartiers Valley while Julian Collazo racked up 9. If the Blazers can win the glass game, they will be in a good position down the stretch.

Mennonite is also a well-balanced offensive team than can go on stretches. On Tuesday, Collazo led the Blazers with 22 points but the other four starters all registered double-digits with Matt Hess scoring 13, Lehman with 11 and Darris Bair and Tyler Constein with 10.

As long as the Blazers don’t disappear for a significant period of time on Friday night, they have a chance to win. If they stumble out of the gates however, it could prove to be a long night.

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