The Pioneers fell to the Warriors, 59-45 in the second round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Afterwards L-S coach John Achille spoke on the Pioneers' season and coaching his son Matt for the last time. Video by John Buffone.
COATESVILLE – In a winnable game against a District 12 champion, the Lampeter-Strasburg Pioneers suffered a few too many wounds from dagger 3-pointers.
Though Tuesday night’s 59-45 loss to Del-Val Charter at Coatesville High School in Chester County didn’t come down to any last-minute buckets, there were several earlier in the game that ultimately doomed John Achille’s tough bunch.
So the Pioneers’ terrific season ends in the PIAA Class AAA second round, and Jason Harrigan’s streaking Warriors (26-4) march forward into Friday’s quarterfinals against fellow Philadelphia power Imhotep Charter, which housed Lewisburg 72-47 in another Tuesday night battle.
Makhi Morris’ game-high 21 points included buzzer-beating 3-pointers from the corner that ended both the first and second quarters.
And, when the Pioneers (24-5) survived those buckets to grab their first and only lead, 27-26 early in the third quarter, Semaj Motley answered immediately with a 3-pointer of his own from the top of the key.
That triple by Motley, who scored 14 to go along with four steals, started an 11-2 run that ultimately swayed this tight contest in the Warriors’ favor.
L-S wouldn’t get any closer than six points in the fourth quarter.
“Definitely disheartening a little bit,” Achille said of Morris’ clutch first-half 3-pointer. “I could see the way they were walking off [at halftime] like ‘Not again.’ That hurts. I think that took a little of our momentum away going into halftime.”
Said Harrigan: “That’s a play that we typically run against a zone in that type of situation. We’re looking for [Morris], and that’s his spot.”
Del-Val Charter, which ran its winning streak to 19 games, knocked down nine of 17 shots and 13 of 18 free throws in the second half.
Antwuan Butler added 10 points and three assists for the Warriors, while Dwayne Coleman posted four points, nine rebounds, six steals and four blocks.
“I think we were able to convert more offensively,” said Harrigan, whose team led 26-22 at intermission. “The first half we had trouble. The second half we also sped the game up a little bit. We were able to speed them up with a little press and by changing our defense a little bit.”
Ben Sandberg, one of six seniors to play Tuesday night, led the Pioneers with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Classmate Luke Beers offered up 11 points, six rebounds and three dimes, and the coach’s son, Matt Achille, finished with four points, four boards, three assists and three steals while battling foul trouble.
“It’s tough,” an emotional John Achille said of coaching his son for the last time. “Just fun to watch him play this year. I enjoyed that. I’m always being his coach, yelling at him, ‘Do this, do that.’ But I just enjoyed watching him play this year. He’s a gamer, plays hard, and he’s a smart kid. Definitely going to miss that. No doubt.”
And, Achille said, when the sting wears off from this loss, his Pioneers can be proud of the season that included a Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 3 title and trips to both the L-L and District 3 tournament semifinals.
“It’s an incredible year,” he said. “We were 11-11 last year, and we’re 24-5. When they look back on this, it’s just an incredible year. So proud of them. They all worked their butts off from March until now. When you work hard, you win a lot of games.”
Morrow on Twitter: @RageAgainstGMo
Del-Val Charter 59, Lampeter-Strasburg 45
Isaac Beers 3-6 0-0 8, Connor Brown 3-4 0-0 6, Luke Beers 2-9 6-6 11, Matt Achille 2-10 0-0 4, Ben Sandberg 5-12 5-7 16, Logan Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Jake Groff 0-1 0-0 0, George Grau 0-3 0-0 0. Totals — 15-46 11-13 45.
DEL-VAL CHARTER (59)
Wade Lowman 2-3 1-4 5, Semaj Motley 4-10 4-5 14, Makhi Morris 6-14 6-7 21, Antwuan Butler 2-8 6-9 10, Dwayne Coleman 2-2 0-0 4, Rashae Nixon 1-2 0-0 2, Waheem Lowman 1-8 0-0 3. Totals — 18-47 17-25 59.
Lampeter-Strasburg _ 8 _ 14 _ 11 _ 12 _ — _ 45
Del-Val Charter _ 17 _ 9 _ 13 _ 20 _ — _ 59
3-point goals — LS 4-12 (I.Beers 2-4, Sandberg 1-2, L.Beers 1-5, Achille 0-1); DVC 6-16 (Morris 3-7, Motley 2-5, Wah.Lowman 1-3, Butler 0-1). Rebounds – LS 34 (Sandberg 7); DVC 31 (Coleman 9). Assists– LS 11 (L.Beers 3, Achille 3, Sandberg 3); DVC 9 (Butler 3). Steals – LS 7 (Achille 3); DVC 13 (Coleman 6).Blocks – LS 2 (L.Beers, Sandberg); DVC 4 (Coleman 4). Turnovers – LS 17; DVC 11. Fouls – LS 16; DVC 13. Fouled out: None.