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Dock Mennonite shuts down Halifax in PIAA-2A first round

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EAST PENNSBORO >> Dock begins with ‘D,’ and it’s a virtue that followed the Pioneers all the way out to packed East Pennsboro Area High School Saturday.

Said 6-foot-4 center Darius Ellis after Saturday’s contest: “Our defense blew the doors open.”

And the Pioneers went stomping through, earning an impressive 67-45 victory over District Three Champion Halifax as Dock Mennonite locked down the first state playoff win in the program’s history.

“Going to the second round, it’s amazing,” said Ellis, a rebounding leader and inside force all afternoon. “Whoever we gotta play, we know what we gotta do. We gotta go to work.”

Dock (24-5) advances to the second round of the PIAA-2A Tournament to face Math, Civics & Science on Wednesday.

The Pioneers stretched their lead to 10 by the half Saturday and then doubled that to 20 in the third.

“We figured in the third quarter, we could start off without guys in foul trouble. We actually took the press off because they were calling it pretty tight,” coach Mike Fergus said. “We thought we could guard them in the half court still and turn them over, and we did.”

Dock forced a decisive 14 turnovers in the second half.

The Pioneers raced out of the halftime break, turning takeaways into breakaway baskets. Miz Nyagwegwe scored in transition and moments later Nolan Bolton converted a steal into a three-point play.

Dock’s 11-0 run to begin the third widened the gap to 41-20.

“That’s our M.O. Our defense is what wins games for us,” Fergus said.

The Wildcats (24-3) were held to just eight points in the third quarter. Nate Blasick’s 15 points were the team high for the game.

“It’s amazing,” Ellis said. “We worked our butts off this whole season to get to where we are today.”

Ellis scored 15 points inside, Jackson Scialanca hit a trio of threes for nine, Bolton added nine, and Miz Nyagwegwe led all scorers with 20.

In his fourth season with the Pioneers, Fergus has not only led the team to its first state win but the most wins in a single season in the program’s history.

“It was a sweet win for us,” Fergus said. “I was really happy for the guys, especially our seniors. I coached Miz as a freshman, Caleb as a freshman and Dan (Loveless) as a freshman, so they’ve kind of grown up in the program.”

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