MYERSTOWN - Pick a sports-themed cliché - and there’s plenty out there that will fit rather snugly - and you’ll quickly figure out what happened to Elco.
And we mean quickly.
Whether it’s “they ran into the perfect storm” or “they were severely winded by an early haymaker” or “they shot the lights out early,” they all work rather well.
Plus, they all add up to a disappointing loss.
Connecting on its first five field-goal tries and jetting to a commanding advantage with just over three minutes gone, Lampeter-Strasburg easily claimed the much-anticipated matchup of Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 3 unbeatens Monday night by decking the Raiders 62-42 at stunned Elco High School.
Ben Sandberg pocketed 18 of his 20 points in the first half and Luke Beers added 10 as L-S (8-0, 5-0 L-L) moved into sole possession of first place in the L-L 3 standings.
Matt Achille tacked on nine points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dropped off a handful of assists for John Achille’s Pioneers, who were sporting a 16-0 cushion even before the midway point of the opening quarter had arrived.
Colton Lawrence tossed in 19 points and Mason Bossert chipped in 11 for Brad Conners’ Raiders (7-1, 4-1 L-L), who shot just 14.8 percent in the first half (4-for-27) and just over 30 percent (16-for-53) throughout the 32-minute exercise.
Lawrence, Bossert and Caleb Buchmoyer, Elco’s top three scorers and the main focus of L-S’ defensive plan, shared 13 of the Raiders’ 15 first-half points.
“I just kept waiting,” Conners admitted. “I thought at some point, (our shots are) gonna go. But it just snowballed and it was catch-up from there.
“Give L-S credit. They came to play and they battled us like two undefeateds and they were looking for us.”
As for Elco playing catch-up throughout, put the blame on the 6-4 Sandberg.
Bagging his first four looks from the floor - two treys sandwiched a slick finish at the tin off a neat Beers dish and a jam in transition - Sandberg’s remarkable start had L-S in command at 11-0 with merely 90 seconds gone.
“After I made my first three, I just knew that all of us were gonna shoot well and just have a good game after that,” the soft-spoken Sandberg said.
Even a quick timeout by Conners couldn’t slow down the rampaging Pioneers, who managed to quiet Elco’s student section and the pep band.
Beers’ 3-pointer and a Connor Brown lay-up off Matt Achille’s lengthy outlet continued the Pioneers’ early burst before Lawrence finally cashed in at the 4:07 mark, briefly stemming some serious L-S momentum.
“We had a walk-through yesterday and I just saw it in their eyes,” John Achille recalled. “They were so attentive when we were going over things. They were ready. I know we were 7-0 and I know they were 7-0, but we just felt defensively we could stop their guys.
“Buchmoyer, Lawrence and Bossert can all play, but we’ve always done a pretty good job slowing down the opponents’ top scorers. They were up for the challenge.”
While Elco was able to whack away at its sizable halftime deficit (36-15) and get within 13 (40-27) on Buchmoyer’s trey, the Raiders promptly conceded eight of the next 10 points and trailed 48-29 after three quarters.
“Just a dominating performance,” John Achille said. “I’m so excited and so proud of these guys.”
“Our kids right now, their shoulders are slumped. They’re upset,” Conners said. “And I think that’s OK for tonight. It’s OK for tonight to be upset, but I told the kids, ‘Tomorrow at school, hold your heads up, you’re still 7-1.’”
Lampeter-Strasburg 62, Elco 42
Isaac Beers 2 0-0 4, Connor Brown 3 0-1 6, Luke Beers 3 2-3 10, Matt Achille 4 1-1 9, Ben Sandberg 6 5-5 20, Jordan Boynton 1 2-4 4, Darren Metz 1 0-0 2, Jake Groff 3 0-0 6, Logan Miller 0 0-0 0, George Grau 0 1-2 1. Totals 23 11-16 62.
Mason Bossert 3 4-4 11, Caleb Buchmoyer 3 0-0 8, Nate Beamer 1 0-0 2, Colton Lawrence 8 1-4 19, Ryan Eshleman 1 0-2 2, Devin Stoops 0 0-0 0, Dylan Stoops 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 5-10 42.
Lamp-Strasburg _ 23 _ 13 _ 12 _ 14 _ — _ 62
Elco _ 8 _ 7 _ 14 _ 13 _ — _ 42
3-point shots: L-S 5 (L.Beers 2, Sandberg 3); Elco 5 (Bossert, Buchmoyer 2, Lawrence 2).