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MIDDLETOWN GIRLS' BASKETBALL: New coach leads experienced Raiders

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Since the 1990s, he's worked in the shadow of a head basketball coach. He's served as an assistant coach, a junior varsity coach, the coach of the freshman team.

Now Ron Stetler Jr. is a head coach, snagging the enviable job of piloting the Middletown girls' basketball team. The Blue Raiders return just about everyone from last season's 19-5 squad that brought basketball playoffs back to Middletown, including four impressive sharpshooters.

Perhaps he would have applied for the job even if the Raiders didn't seem to be on the verge of an amazing season.

"I felt like it was time,'' Stetler said of his first head coaching job. "It's a good opportunity, a good challenge.''

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 December 2014 16:20

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MIDDLETOWN WRESTLING: Raiders young but aggressive

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Dan Riggs launches his era as coach of Middletown's wrestling team with a roster of young, though experienced, wrestlers that he hopes will be competitive against some tough opponents this season.

Those threats of boycotts that came from some parents in protest of the Middletown Area School Board's refusal to rehire long-time coach Mike Nauman last spring didn't pan out. Twenty-four wrestlers showed up this season, enough to fill each starting spot in duals, though the Blue Raiders will not send a wrestler onto the mat at 195 pounds at a season-opening tournament at Cumberland Valley.

With only three seniors returning this season, the Raiders will count on a number of freshmen and sophomores to improve on last season's 5-10 dual-meet record. Fortunately, Middletown's young wrestlers have experience, thanks to middle school and elementary school wrestling programs.

"We're very young but our guys are pretty aggressive – always pushing the pace,'' Riggs said.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 December 2014 16:16

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They looked like underdogs. A dismal 6-16 record. No true star. It appeared that the Steelton-Highspire girls' basketball team was over its head when it entered the District 3 Class A playoffs last season.

But playing basketball in a tough division paid off for the Rollers. Steel-High knocked heads with Class AAAA and Class AAA schools all season – so when the likes of teams such as the Christian School of York came along in the Class A playoffs, the Rollers were conquerors.

With different players stepping up each game, Steelton-Highspire swept four teams en route to the district championship, beating Halifax 57-49 in the title game at the Giant Center. Those underdog Rollers made it to the PIAA state championships, where they narrowly lost a first-round game to St. John Neumann, 51-49 in Dillsburg.

Many of last year's players return this season, along with one or two promising freshmen. It will be a challenge to repeat last year's Cinderella run to the district title, however – though the Rollers remain in the Mid-Penn Conference's tough Capital Division, and again play a list of Class AAAA and Class AAA teams, they will step up to Class AA this year, facing tougher teams who will try to out-race them for post-season playoff spots.

"It'll be a challenge for us,'' admitted Coach Jeff Chisholm.

The Steelton-Highspire boys' basketball team hopes to compete in a tough Capital Division as well.

Rick Binder, one of the Rollers' most successful coaches, returns for a third stint as coach this season. Last year, Steel-High went 17-7, losing a first-round District 3 Class AAA playoff game to Lancaster Mennonite, 71-48 last January.

Binder has won three state titles and six District 3 Class AAA titles in two previous terms as the Rollers' coach.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 December 2014 16:12

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 The Lower Dauphin girls' basketball team is so deep that the Falcons could play 9 or 10 players each game and not lose a step. But there's a problem with their depth: Who should start?

Three spots have been claimed, but two starting spots remain. So far, none of the remaining candidates for the spots have stood out from the field. Ask Coach Bob Heusser who will win those jobs, and he admits, "We haven't figured that out yet.''

webbowen12 3 14"Every day we change our minds,'' he said.

It's the price Lower Dauphin is paying after losing six of its top eight players to graduation in June. The Falcons, who missed the District 3 Class AAAA playoffs after posting a 10-10 record last season, could play "9 to 10 deep if we want,'' Heusser said.

The Lower Dauphin boys' basketball team may count on underclassmen to overcome graduation losses. The veteran-loaded Falcons qualified for the District 3 Class AAAA playoffs last season with a 14-8 record, and eliminated Central Dauphin East in an opening-round game, 48-42. Lower Dauphin was eliminated in the second round by Wilson, 49-39.

Gone are starters Luke Rutledge, Kaylor Kulina, Colten Nagy and Ryan Naccarato, but the Falcons return a couple of players with height.

Matt Seip and Tommy Bowen, both 6-5 senior forwards, return, as well as football standouts Ben Ross, JR Borelli and Tommy Klock.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 December 2014 16:02

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Raiders throttle Spartans in season opener, 6-2


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The Middletown Blue Raiders boys’ soccer team started off the 2014 season on the right foot with a strong 6-2 win over Milton Hershey on Tuesday, Sept. 2 in Middletown.

Middletown’s Bubba Finsterbush had a hat trick in the victory, the first of his career.

The Blue Raiders (1-1, 1-1 in the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division) led at halftime 2-1, then tacked on another goal to take a 3-1 lead early in the second half . . .

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 September 2014 20:10

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