The Reporter (Lansdale, PA)
Dock takes a district Lapp, wins title
There’s not much that Nate Lapp can add in describing what Dock Mennonite unleashed in the first quarter Saturday.
Lapp hit four 3-pointers in the opening eight minutes of the District 1 Class 2A final against Delco Christian, and his only miss went halfway down before reluctantly spinning out. His team connected on seven of nine 3-pointers in a rip-roaring first quarter and 10 of 16 in the opening half.
What for a while looked like a tidy cushion proved necessary in the second half, when Delco Christian made its move. But there was no reclaiming Dock’s early damage, on the way to a 65-55 win at Harriton.
“It obviously helps when you’re hitting 3s,” Lapp said, swishing in a bit of understatement. “We knew coming into the game that they were going to play a zone, and we knew we needed to hit a couple of shots early on, and we were able to do that.”
A couple, sure. Will-theyever-miss levels, yeah that’ll play, too. Lapp and Vaughn Martin made it 6-0 after two possessions. Lapp couldn’t miss in stretching the lead to 14-4, then 23-6 on his fourth. The Pioneers (24-2) led by 17 at half and by 22 early in the third on – what else? – a triple by Tony Martin.
The shooting touch would eventually descend from the stratosphere. But even at 11-for-21, it remained in rarefied air, enough to stun third-seeded Delco Christian (14-12) to a degree that the Knights wouldn’t recover until it was too late.
“Trying not to get frustrated, you’ve got to keep playing through it,” Delco Christian guard Khamai Orange said. “We let them have open shots, free shots, and we didn’t play good defense.”
Lapp helped fuel Dock’s balance. Despite his hot hand, he was still willing to keep the ball moving. He shot 7-for-10 from the field for 20 points, but, with Tony Martin, he added a team-best four assists. The Pioneers had seven players with six or more points and approached 50 percent from the field (21-for-43).
“It allows me to get other guys open,” Lapp said. “When I touch the ball or usually when I drive, there’s two or three guys covering me, and I know someone else is open and I’ve got to kick it out. I just take what the defense gives me, look at my options and make the right read.”
The game shifted once Delco Christian started to make stops. They caused 16 turnovers, and turning up a 1-2-2 full-court press in the third finally ate away at a deficit that surged to 5029. A 10-2 run, with and1s from Orange and Caleb Jameson, drew the Knights within 13 after three. Jameson curled to the glass to get them within single digits with five minutes to play, and they nudged within five in the final two minutes.
“It brought us back up,” Orange said. “We saw they were a little rattled, and we cut the score down. I think if we would’ve played like that in the first half, we would’ve done better.”
But the shooting disparity proved decisive. Delco Christian, which averages 7.3 made 3-pointers a game, shot just 4-for20 from range. Orange led them with 15 points, shooting just 3-for-18 from the field. He added 11 rebounds and three steals. Jameson scored 13 points, Josiah Gaines had 11 before fouling out and Cole Pruessner and Beau Lyren tossed in eight apiece. It just wasn’t enough to make up ground, even when the defense clicked on.
The win is Dock’s first district title since 2020, when Lapp was a freshman. They were in Class 3A for the last two-year cycle, which meant being shoehorned into a regional with District 11 school. The champions of the Bicentennial League’s regular season and postseason tournaments — plus two in-season tournaments — haven’t gotten bored with celebrating hardware just yet.
“It’s a district championship,” Lapp said. “Any time you win a championship, it’s a great feeling. It’s our fifth championship this season, so it’s always good to win a championship. … It felt really good this year to leave my basketball career with a district championship.”