The mood at halftime inside the gym at Seneca Valley was apprehensive the Eagles faithful had cause for concern. Their boys, who had run through the playoffs for the last two years to earn a spot in the Final Four were trailing by 10 points at halftime.
Seneca Valley led by an experienced group of seniors, including stand-out point guard Triston Price and Harold Dotson were able to clamp down defensively and reign in the Walkersville Lions to come back and win 58-57 to advance to the 2A West Regional Semi-Finals where they will travel to face the top-seeded Williamsport Wildcats from Washington County.
By the end of the first quarter, it was apparent that Monday’s 2nd round playoff game was going to be a barn burner, with Seneca leading 12-9 after a last second three-pointer by sophomore Mazae Blake. Blake would finish the game as the Eagles’ leading scorer with 23 points, on seven field goals, and three long-range shots from beyond the arc.
However, in the second quarter, the Lions came roaring back scoring 24 points, thanks in large part to Josh Polce’s eight points and Zack Matthis’ two three-pointers. Walkersville took a 10 point lead, 33-23, into the locker room.
The Eagles came out in the second half and tightened up defensively to allow just 24 points the rest of the way. Sophomore Mazae Blake scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half, hitting two threes and three field goals accounting for 12 of the Eagles 18 third-quarter points. Walkersville scored 13 points in the third which allowed Seneca to cut the Lions’ lead in half by the end of the third, 46-41.
Both teams played a relatively clean game as the referees allowed the boys to play. Walkersville was awarded five foul shots in the second half, and the Lions made two.
Seneca Valley held Walkersville to just 11 points in the fourth quarter, while scoring 17 to edge the Lions. Walkersville’s Jerimiah Sweet had eight points in the fourth, to finish with 22 points to lead the Lions. Zack Matthis finished the game with 12 points for Walkersville.
Seneca had three players in double digits, Blake’s 23 points, and Price and Dotson each had 12 points in the victory. Blake added six points on three buckets in the final quarter, and Dotson sank two three-pointers to allow the Eagles to survive and advance to the regional semis for the fourth straight year.
The Screamin’ Eagles improved their record to 16-7. Williamsport, who finished the regular season 17-5, defeated Middletown High School 55-36 Monday night to earn their date with Seneca Valley. The Eagles will have to play the remainder of their games on the road. Wednesday’s game in Williamsport will tip off at 7:00 pm. The other half of the bracket has Oakdale hosting Liberty.
Top: Seneca Valley sophomore Mazae Blake (5) dribbles the ball as he is defended by Walkersville’s Josh Polce (2). Blake led the Eagles with 23 points in the game.
Next: Seneca’s senior leader Triston Price (2) with a breakaway layup during Monday’s playoff victory.
Next: Seneca Valley senior Maurice Whitsett (23) with a jumper.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.