By Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3)
BENSALEM – On the night where he broke his school’s record for scoring, Nathan Lapp knew he was doing too much.
The Dock Mennonite Academy senior was almost the only one shooting, and pretty much the only one making, any shots in the first quarter of Wednesday’s PIAA 2A second round game against Sankofa Freedom. That’s a good formula to put up numbers, but Lapp really wanted to win the game.
Lapp still scored plenty, his 28 points led all scorers, but he got what he really wanted as Dock won a 60-44 decision over the Warriors to reach the state quarterfinals.
"It means a lot," Lapp said. "Being one of the last eight teams in the state of Pennsylvania is awesome. It's a great feeling, I can't wait for Saturday."
Dock senior Nathan Lapp broke the school's career scoring record in Wednesday's win over Sankofa. (Photo: Andrew Robinson/CoBL)
Lapp didn’t know he broke the school record — his 1,290 career points the most in boys’ or girls’ program history at Dock — after the game. Pioneers coach Mike Fergus relayed the information over later but in the moment, agreed Lapp was probably doing too much early on.
The Pioneers expected a test from Sankofa Freedom and they got one, the Warriors using their size and athleticism to gum up the offense. Lapp had his team’s first seven points and 10 of 12 in the first quarter including a three in the final seconds to put the District I champions in front.
While the offense was limited, they could adjust that. The defense however, was solid from the start.
"We missed some shots early, we were a little high-strung, a little tight and shot a little quick," Fergus said. "The thing with us is our defense, our defense is always there. That team averages close to 57 a game and our defense kept them to 17 at halftime."
Between the first and second quarter, Fergus and his coaches told their team to look for longer possessions, get more touches and be patient.
“We knew we had to break their press,” Lapp said. “That was the key thing going into it and we were able to do that.
“Basketball is a team sport, everyone has a certain role and everyone on our team knows their role and does it to a ‘T.’ That’s why we’re a really good team and we’re in the last eight.”
Zaki Alston battled the entire game, the forward leading Sankofa Freedom with 17 points and it was his back-to-back baskets out of the press that chopped Dock’s lead to 45-36 with 4:24 left to elicit a timeout from Fergus. Ryan Hardy was ridiculous on the defensive end, the rangy forward rejecting seven shots and most of them emphatically while Asim Hardy scored seven points with three steals and Nasir Williams had nine points.
The Warriors battled to tie the game 17-17 with 2:44 left in the first half. With Sankofa Freedom then going into a zone defense, the Pioneers struck on basically the same action on back to back plays with both ending the same way, a couple ball reversals setting up a drive and kick to a shooter for an open corner three.
Lane Bergey, off a Vaugh Martin feed, and Lapp off an AJ Washington assist connected on the two big shots, sending Dock to the break in front 23-17 and with a lead it wouldn’t give back.
“I felt like we played with poise down the stretch and we made our free throws,” Fergus said. “We’re a good free throw shooting team, we shoot 70 percent as a team, Nate’s at about 90, Vaughn’s about 88, so we handled that part of it really well.”
Dock didn’t make a field goal after Lapp’s layup with 6:04 left in the game. The Pioneers didn’t need to, not with the way they were connecting from the foul line.
Lapp was 12-of-14 in the game and a perfect 10-of-10 in the fourth quarter while Vaughn Martin, who totaled 16 points, hit on 7-of-8 in the fourth and 9-of-10 for the contest. As a team, Dock shot 25-of-33 from the stripe, pulling away steadily after Alston powered for a score to make it a nine-point game with 3:01 left.
The Pioneers, back in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2020 — a game they never got to play due to Covid-19 ending the season early — will face District 2 champion Holy Cross on Saturday.
“That’s what wins high school basketball games, layups and free throws,” Lapp said. “We made big free throws, which is why we won the game.”
DOCK MENNONITE ACADEMY 12 | 11 | 14 | 23 || 60
SANKOFA FREEDOM 10 | 7 | 9 | 18 || 44
D: Nathan Lapp 28, Lane Bergy 4 Hoyt Bultje 8, Tony Martin 4, Vaughn Martin 16
SF: Zaki Alston 17, Asim Hardy 7, Nasir Williams 9, Khris Coleman 3, Nasir Brown 5
Wed., March 15
(11-1) Parkland vs. (1-7) Garnet Valley (6 PM)
(1-2) Spring-Ford 43, (3-3) Hempfield 39
(12-1) Roman Catholic 60, (1-3) Lower Merion 56 (OT)
(7-2) New Castle 65, (1-4) Downingtown West 56
(3-1) Reading 86, (1-6) Upper Darby 58
(1-9) Coatesville 61, (1-8) North Penn 55
(12-3) Archbishop Wood 72, (3-6) Chambersburg 45
(1-1) West Chester Rustin 49, (2-2) Abington Heights 46
(12-1) Archbishop Wood 42, (1-2) Villa Maria 29
(1-3) Bishop Shanahan 43, (2-1) Pittston Area 35.
(11-1) Bethlehem Catholic 34, (1-4) Gwynedd Mercy 24
(1-1) Bishop Shanahan 69, (2-1) Scranton Prep 57
(12-1) Lansdale Catholic 79, (4-2) Jersey Shore 42
(3-5) Trinity 67, (12-2) Audenried 50
(2-1) Scranton Prep 51, (1-1) Nazareth Acad.47 (OT)
(3-1) Wyomissing 40, (12-3) Neumann-Goretti 33
(12-3) Devon Prep 82, (2-2) Mid Valley 52
(12-1) West Catholic 56, (2-1) Holy Redeemer 47
(3-1) Trinity 91, Math, Civics & Sciences 84 Girls 3A
(2-1) Dunmore 52, (12-1) Imhotep Charter 34
(11-1) Mahanoy Area 58, (12-1) Constitution 40
(1-1) Dock Mennonite 60, (12-2) Sankofa Freedom 44
(4-2) St. John Neumann 40, (1-1) The Christian Acad. 37
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