Nyagwegwe’s last-second shot sends Dock Mennonite to District 1-2A final

TOWAMENCIN >> With the clock running down and the season on the line, Miz Nyagwegwe found himself with one option left driving to the basket.

“I was looking pass at first and then the last second threw up the shot,” the Dock Mennonite junior said. “Hoped it went in.”

Nyagwegwe’s hope got help from the backboard, as his running floater in the final seconds banked in, capping the second-seeded Pioneers boys basketball team’s rally from eight down in the fourth quarter to edge visiting No. 3 Delco Christian 59-58 in the District 1-2A semifinals Friday night.

“Just unbelievable,” said Nyagwegwe of his shot. “It was just amazing.”

Nyagwegwe scored nine of his 17 points in the fourth while Deins Bergis posted 15 of his team-high 19 points in the second half as Dock clinched its first PIAA Tournament berth since 2008.

“We just kept battling and every they’d come down and make a play, we wouldn’t quit, we’d come back and make a play on the other end. It was like two heavyweights slugging it out,” Dock Mennonite coach Mike Fergus said. “And at the end Miz just made the play. We ran the play that we called and I don’t know how he made that shot.”

Jackson Scialanca added 16 points as the Pioneers (16-9) advance to face Church Farm School in the district final Saturday, March 4 at Council Rock South. Top-seeded CFS rolled past Bristol 71-47 in the other semifinal.

Dock lost to its Delco Christian — its Bicentennial Athletic League Presidents Division rival — 64-50 on Jan. 9. Friday night, the Pioneers trailed by as much as 11 and were still down eight with 4:45 in the fourth before outscoring the Knights 15-6 the rest of the way. Dock’s only lead of the contest came courtesy of Nyagwegwe’s game-winner.

“Just the way we won. To be down and make a run and they’d make a run and we’d make a run and they’d make a run,” Fergus said. “And I told them at some point in the third quarter when we cut it to five I said if we ever take lead we’re going to win. And we did with 1.9 seconds.”

T.J. Tann had a game-high 21 points for Delco Christian, which ends its season at 13-12 and a win short of reaching states for the fifth straight year – qualifying the previous four in Class A. Jordan Parks finished with 15 points, 11 coming in the second quarter.

“We as a team had every expectation to get back to the PIAA Tournament,” Delco Christian coach Don Davis said. “I’m just saying with what we lost last year just incredibly proud of this group with all that still coming together, playing hard, overcoming all that and getting to this point, one shot away from getting back to the PIAA Tournament for the fifth time in a row.”

Two Parks free throws gave Delco Christian at 52-44 lead with 4:45 left in the contest, but the Pioneers scored six of the next eight points, cutting the margin to 54-50 when Bergis hit two from the foul line at 3:06.

Jacob Bronkema’s basket inside put the Knights up six before Nyagwegwe’s three-point play off a drive at 2:40 and Bergis slicing down the lane for two pulled Dock to within 56-55.

“We’re just thinking leave it all out on the floor,” Nyagwegwe said. “Just play and leave it all out on the floor. No regrets.”

Parks gave Delco Christian a 58-55 edge but Bergis answered to make it one-point game once more. A steal by Nolan Bolton gave the Pioneers a chance to go ahead in the last minute, yet Bergis was off target as he collided with Tyler Penley — neither whistled for a foul — and Tann grabbing the rebound.

But with 28. 4 seconds remaining, Parks missed the front end of a 1-and-1, giving Dock another opportunity to take the lead. The Pioneers called a timeout at 19.4 seconds, then again at 6.9. From midcourt, Nyagwegwe drove in and unleashed a shot from the left edge of the lane that dropped.

“We wanted to attack the rim. We wanted to try to get to the line, Fergus said. “We ran something similar the play before and didn’t – nothing, no whistle, like it was a block/charge, but we still wanted to take it at them. The kid guarded him fine, he didn’t foul him, Miz just had to make an acrobatic shot.”

The clock stopped at 0.6 seconds for a DC time out. It was at 0.2 when the Knights tried an inbounds heave which went too long for Bronkema and corralled by Dock’s Justin Burkholder.

“They made a run, they made a push, we had some shots not go in, they had some shots go in and you got to take your hats off,” Davis said. “They played really well, they executed in some way and they got some stops. They’re a good basketball team and we battled the last time we met and it came down to the last-second shot this time.”

In the first quarter, a Jackson Piotrowksi basket and a Penley triple gave Delco Christian a 14-8 lead before Bergis scored to make the margin four after eight minutes.

Nyagwegwe made it 14-12 before the Knights went on an 8-0 run – Parks contributing five points – to go up 22-22 after Bronkema grabbed an offensive rebound and found Tyler Smith inside for two.

Five straight from Dock cut Delco Christian’s lead in half, but the Knights had their advantage back in double digits when a Tann bucket made it 29-19.

Dock was within 29-22 after a Scialanca three only for Parks to collect the last four points of the half, giving the visitors an 11-point lead at the break.

“I thought we had better spacing and Jordan was going downhill at the rim,” Davis said. “So when Jordan’s going downhill to the rim we’re play better. And we just didn’t have those same opportunities in the second half.”

Delco Christian was up 11 again in third quarter at 39-38 after a Piotrowski three but Dock proceeded to rattle off 10 straight points — a Scialanca three then the next seven from Bergis — to pull within one at 39-38.

Scialanca’s short jumper off an inbounds had Dock’s deficit at 41-40, but Tann came up with steal after  a Pioneer defensive rebound, made two free throws at 34.1 seconds then knocked down a three for a 46-40 DC lead entering the fourth.

The Knights extended their advantage to eight three times in the final quarter, the last on Parks’ two free throws at 4:45.

(2) Dock Mennonite, (3) Delco Christian
Delco Christian  14 19 13 12 — 58
Dock Mennonite              10 12 18 19 — 59
Delco Christian: T.J. Tann 7 4-6 21; Jordan Parks 4 7-9 15; Jackson Piotrowski 4 0-1 9; Tyler Penley 2 0-0 6; Jacob Bronkema 2 0-0 4; Tyler Smith 1 1-2 3. Totals 20 12-18 58.
Dock Mennonite: Deins Bergis 7 4-4 19; Miz Nyagwegwe 8 1-2 17; Jackson Scialanca 6 1-2 16; Justin Burkholder 1 2-3 4; Caleb Pfleiger 1 0-0 3. Totals 23 8-11 59.
Three-pointers: DC-Tann 3, Penley 2, Piotrowski; DM-Scialanca 3, Bergis, Pfleiger.

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