HERSHEY, Pa. — It's safe to say that Lancaster Mennonite's weekend is off to a good start.
The Blazers raised their school's first-ever PIAA State Championship on Friday afternoon, after beating Aliquippa, 60-44, in the boys 2A state title game.
Lancaster Mennonite set the tone early against the Quips.
Savier Sumrall, Camden Hurst, and David Weaver were key to a fast start as the transition offense had Aliquippa's head on a swivel early in the first quarter.
Weaver picked up two early fouls and headed towards the end of the first, but the Lancaster-Lebanon League's representative held a 15-9 lead.
Coach Seth Buckwalter's team left no doubt about who wanted the title more. Diving for loose balls, fighting for rebounds, and hustling to save balls heading out of bounds helped the Blazers take a three-point lead into the half.
Aliquippa made a run in the third and was able to take a one-point lead, but it only served as a wake-up call for Lancaster Mennonite.
The Blazers quickly used another offensive run to build up a ten-point lead, which grew to 19 late in the fourth.
"I mean, basketball is a game of runs and they're a great basketball team so it was going to go either way," said Camden Hurst. "We stayed level-headed and we got the dub."
Hurst led the way for the Blazers with 23 points. The seniors' euro step and fade-away jumpers proved tough to defend all night.
David Weaver finished with 15 points. The 6'7 senior was a mismatch nightmare for Aliquippa.
Savier Sumrall added 10 in the winning effort.
The Quips hit a long three at the buzzer, but Lancaster Mennonite was already getting ready to welcome the newest addition to their school's trophy case, after the 60-44 win.
"It's great for the program. I grew up in this system. My coach Geoff Groff had 400-and-some wins over his years and he made a program with lots of strength in it," said Buckwalter, a Lancaster Mennonite graduate. "I just kind of built on what he did. His fingerprints are all over everything. You win something like this and it puts you on the map."
The Blazers become the fifth-ever Lanc-Leb League basketball team to win a state title, and the first to do it since 2003.