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Dock Mennonite’s season ends in PIAA-2A second round

Dock Mennonite's Miz Nyagwegwe drives to the hoop as Math, Civics and Science’s Anthony McFall defends during their PIAA-2A second round game at Harriton High School on Wednesday, March 13, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

LOWER MERION >> Dock Mennonite had an idea what it was getting into with Math, Civics and Science but didn’t really understand until the teams took the floor.

The Mighty Elephants owned the second quarter and their advantages in speed and athleticism showed why they’re able to hang tough in the Philadelphia Public League year after year. Dock certainly didn’t play its best, but sometimes there’s just no way to stop a stampede of elephants coming downhill.

Dock’s season came to an end in a 92-38 setback Wednesday night at Harriton High School in the second round of the PIAA 2A playoffs. It was a tough way to end what had been an otherwise good year for the Pioneers.

“They shot the lights out,” Dock coach Mike Fergus said. “They’re not a particularly great 3-point shooting team so that really helped them out with a couple big early threes, and they were contested threes. It seemed to get them motivated defensively.”

Dock Mennonite’s Caleb Pfleiger pulls up to shoot as Math, Civics and Science’s Tealang Lloyd II defends during their PIAA-2A second round game at Harriton High School on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Pioneers point guard Jackson Scialanca gave his team a 3-0 lead 27 seconds into the game, but that was the only time all night Dock would be up. MCSC tied the game on the next possession and then added the next five points to give itself the lead for good.

Dock did hang tough for the first quarter, despite missing a couple of good looks inside the arc and got within 12-10 on Scialanca’s second 3-pointer of the first frame. The District 1 runner-up would get within four again late in the frame before the District 12 champs scored the final five points of the first and the first four of the second.

“We missed some shots we normally make and that’s the difference,” Fergus said. “Their hot start and the way they shot the ball set the tone for the night. Most nights, that team isn’t that many points better than us, but tonight they were. You take your hat off to them and credit them, they played great.”

After Scialanca, who scored 11 points in the first half, scored to stop that run, Math, Civics and Science went on the backbreaking run. The Elephants ripped off 15 straight points from the 5:32 to 1:12 mark of the second frame, turning a 25-14 lead into a 40-14 advantage.

 

Even after Nolan Bolton snapped that run, the Elephants scored six more for total of a 28-4 run running back to the first quarter. MCSC did it with balance too, as eight players scored in the first half, led by 12 from Semaji Mills.

The second half was much like the first, with the Elephants moving the ball and burying their open shots. Dock didn’t quit and traded small runs with the Elephants throughout the third and fourth quarters.

“They’re more athletic than most teams, we’ve played athletic teams this year but maybe not quite as athletic or as deep as that team,” Fergus said. “I’ve watched them nine different games and they never shot the ball that well.”

Even with the setback, Dock still put together a terrific season. The Pioneers made states for the second straight year, won a state playoff game for the first time in history and won a school-record 24 games.

Dock Mennonite’s Nolan Bolton during the Pioneers’ PIAA-2A second round game against Math, Civics and Science at Harriton High School on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

On top of that, the Pioneers put together a memorable run through the BAL tournament, winning their first league title.

“I’m proud of these guys, they are a joy to coach,” Fergus said. “I love coming to practice every day and the team we had. We lose three seniors, two starters but have a lot of good, young players coming back.”

Scialanca led Dock with 12 points while Darius Ellis scored eight of his 10 in the second half.

“We’ve got a plan and found out what we have to do in order to have a successful year and we’ll have a good nucleus coming back,” Fergus said. “We have kids who know how we want to play and I’m proud of them. It’s tough in the moment when you lose but it’s like I told them, there’s only one team that doesn’t end their season with a loss.”

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