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Valley Forge Military holds off Dock Mennonite to reach BAL final

TOWAMENCIN >> Despite a game-high 26-points from the record-setting Jackson Scialanca, Valley Forge Military Academy escaped Dock Mennonite Academy with a 66-55 victory Thursday night in the semifinal round of the Bicentennial Athletic League Playoffs.

The win advances Valley Forge to the BAL Final Saturday, 3 p.m. at Morrisville.

Duane Satchell scored down low to break a 47-47 tie early in the fourth quarter and Valley Forge would hold the lead from there. Satchell was a force inside with 16 points, Rye Ahronson led the way with 19, Kobie Reid had 14 and Matt Daulerio 13 in a balanced effort by the visitors.

“That’s a good team,” said Pioneers coach Mike Fergus, whose team was coming off a thrilling, double-overtime victory over Delco Christian in the quarterfinals Wednesday night. “It just didn’t look like we had our legs — we missed a lot of layups. And I felt like we were just a step slow defensively.”

Scialanca, who needed 13 points going into the game to become Dock’s all-time leading scorer, accomplished that in the first half.

A pair of free throws by Darius Ellis brought the Pioneers within 53-49 late, but Daulerio’s drive and three-point play was key, pushing the lead to 56-49 with 2:41 to go.

A pair of free throws by Reid moments later iced it for Valley Forge.

“I thought we played hard,” Fergus said. “I thought we were just a step slow and a little indecisive. And (Valley Forge) is a good team so part of that was them.”

Valley Forge jumped out to an 8-2 lead. Daulerio found Ahronson on his way to the hoop and Satchell hit a jumper to help provide the early push.

A three by Ahronson later extended the visitors’ lead to 11-4.

Dock would make its move.

Scialanca got going for the Pioneers, scoring seven first-quarter points, including a three that bounced off the rim and in, cutting the margin to 15-11 after one.

Valley Forge immediately increased its lead, as A.J. Migliarini fed William Anozie to make it 17-11. But the Pioneers stayed close the entire second quarter.

Scialanca would have 18 points by halftime, driving, hitting and burying a three pointer. A basket by Scialanca deadlocked things at 17 apiece and he later weaved through defenders to narrow the margin to 26-23.

His baseline jumper tightened things to 26-25.

Ahronson came up with a steal and scored, part of a late push by Valley Forge and a 30-27 advantage at the break.

Scialanca’s ball fakes and quick moves netted him another basket late in the third, before Valley Forge took a 45-40 lead into the fourth.

Dock can now get ready for the District 1-2A Tournament — the top-seeded Pioneers host No. 4 Church Farm on Wednesday.

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