Boys varsity basketball loses a heartbreaker to Lower Merion in final regular season home game

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On Tuesday Feb. 5, the Pioneers faced the Lower Merion Aces in their final home game of the regular season.

As part of their annual fundraiser, the players sported red Leukemia and Lymphoma Society t-shirts for warmups and on the bench. The crowd also showed their support for blood cancer by wearing red.

“I’m familiar with the people at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” Conestoga Head Coach Mike Troy said. “We have some alums of the basketball program that are sticking with that disease. We wanted to make sure that we could raise money to help find a cure for them as soon as possible.”

The presence of the large crowd was immediately felt when Todd Monastero, a member of the 1988 ‘Stoga Central League championship team, was introduced to sing the National Anthem.

Feeding off of the crowd, the Pioneers jumped out quickly to a 17-3 lead in the first quarter, sparked by a steal by senior guard Milton Robinson and a three-pointer by senior guard Shane Scott.

As the first half progressed, the Pioneers’ scoring slowed down, and the Aces were able to reduce the deficit to 28-25 heading into halftime.

The second half, however, was an entirely different game. The pioneers were plagued with turnovers, and Lower Merion took a 29-28 lead with six minutes left in the third quarter.

With the score 32-28 Lower Merion, Troy was forced to call a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Pioneers made three quick three-pointers. A steal by senior center Wesley Brace followed by a layup by senior guard Zach Lezanic tied the game at 39. At the end of the third quarter, the Pioneers had the lead again, winning 42-39.

However, in the fourth quarter, the Aces took the lead back and never allowed the Pioneers to come close again. With a couple minutes left in the game, the Pioneers couldn’t find a way to score. The Aces made their free throws and won the game 61-50, delivering a heartbreaking loss to the Pioneers, who had the game in their grasp through much of the first half.

“We just didn’t execute well enough in the second half,” Troy said. “We wanted to run certain stuff; we wanted to defend a certain way, and unfortunately, we just didn’t do a good enough job of it.”

The Pioneers have one final regular season game on Thursday, February 7 against Upper Darby High School before Central League playoffs. They will try to bounce back from this loss.

“We’re gonna come to practice tomorrow. We’re gonna look to see what we didn’t do well today, make sure we do it tomorrow, so going into Upper Darby, we’ll be ready,” Troy said.


Matthew Fan can be reached at [email protected].