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  • Val T.

Slow start plagues Pioneer in loss to LaVille

Klepinger, E. Lewellen score 7 each, but Panthers fall to 0-5


Sports Editor, RTC

LAKEVILLE –- Pioneer boys basketball coach Darren McKaig expected an intense effort from host LaVille when the teams met at Dale E. Cox Gymnasium Friday.

He thought that because LaVille was coming off a loss to Bremen in its season opener Tuesday. The intensity proved too much to handle.

Bobby Good scored a game-high 16 points, and Leyton Czarnecki and Andrew Dill scored 13 each to lead the Lancers to a 51-35 win over the Panthers.

LaVille improved to 1-1 overall and 1-0 in the Hoosier North.

Hunter Klepinger and Ezra Lewellen scored seven points each to lead Pioneer, who fell to 0-5, 0-2. Christian Scott added six off the bench.

LaVille jumped out to a 16-2 lead and led by as many as 25 points in the third quarter.

The 16-point final margin was as close as Pioneer got in the second half.

“I think it had a lot to do with LaVille and how hard they played,” McKaig said. “And we weren’t ready for it. They played on Tuesday and got beat and only scored 33 points, and I think they got a pretty stern talking-to this week, and they just came out and played as hard as I’ve ever seen them play. And we were not ready to match that.”

LaVille plays a switching man-to-man defense – Lancers coach Michael Edison inherited the defense from his father and assistant coach Jack Edison – so no LaVille defender has to fight through screens so much as they have to switch on to the player that just screened them.

It’s a unique defense that has carried LaVille to 10 consecutive winning seasons. LaVille is 62-12 in their last 74 games.

“We don’t face anything like that early in the season,” McKaig said. “So it was tough for us.”

Czarnecki had the primary defensive responsibility on Lewellen, who was coming off back-to-back 14-point games against Triton and North Miami last weekend. He also outscored the entire Pioneer team 7-4 in the first quarter.

“Leyton did a nice job because he’s not as quick as Ezra Lewellen, but he’s got angles, and that’s what we wanted him to do,” Edison said. “Because I feel like Ezra’s best at 15 feet in. That’s his best game. You might have to give up a little bit at the 3-point line. If he hits a couple, you might have to shore up a little bit, but that’s what we really wanted him to do is to keep him on angles.”

Good, who at 6-4 is LaVille’s tallest player, scored on a post move after an offensive rebound and hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the second quarter as the lead reached 29-8.

A Scott steal and acrobatic layup while being fouled, a Lewellen short turnaround and a Klepinger putback after picking up a loose ball got Pioneer within 32-14 at halftime.

LaVille then scored the first seven points of the second half to get the lead to 25.

Pioneer came out in a 3-2 zone defense. McKaig said they were hoping to force turnovers out of the zone. As it turned out, LaVille hit six 3-pointers in the first half with Dill draining three of them.

“We’re struggling with pretty much everything,” McKaig said of his team’s defense. “Covering shooters, cutting off the drives, helping and recovering, helping the helper. We’re working pretty hard on that in practice, but we’re going to have to narrow it down to six or seven guys who can get the job done probably.”

LaVille also won the JV game 34-29. Caleb Sweet led the Panther JV with 10 points. Eli Miller had eight, Drew McKaig had three, and Rylahn Toloza, Wyatt Zeider Beau Mersch and Brayden Erickson had two each.

LaVille 51, Pioneer 35

PIONEER (35) (0-5, 0-2)

Ezra Lewellen 3 1-2 7, Gavin Clem 1 1-2 3, Addai Lewellen 2 0-0 4, Oscar Solano 0 0-0 0, Hunter Klepinger 3 0-1 7, Cayden Hill 0 0-0 0, Eli Miller 0 0-0 0, Jacob Zeigler 1 0-0 2, Drew McKaig 2 0-0 4, Christian Scott 2 2-3 6, Caleb Sweet 1 0-1 2

TEAM: 15 4-9 35

LAVILLE (51) (1-1, 1-0)

Ayden Doyle 1 0-0 2, Leyton Czarnecki 5 1-1 13, Andrew Dill 4 2-2 13, Collin Allen 1 0-0 2, Bobby Good 7 0-0 16, Ryan James 0 0-0 0, Ross Wagoner 0 1-2 1, Lucas Plummer 1 0-0 2, Alec Coleman 1 0-0 2, Owen Smith 0 0-0 0, Connor Henry 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 20 4-5 51

Three-point field goals:

Pioneer 1 (Klepinger),

LaVille 7 (Dill 3, Czarnecki 2, Good 2)

Total fouls: Pioneer 10, LaVille 11

Turnovers: Pioneer 16, LaVille 16

Score by quarters

Pioneer 4 10 10 11 35

LaVille 19 13 11 8 51

JV: LaVille 34, Pioneer 29

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