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Blue Raider boys basketball team stands at 3-3 after finishing 2nd in own tourney

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

717-944-4628
Posted 1/3/18

The Middletown boys basketball team hosted a holiday tournament last week and finished in second place after coming up on the short end of a 75-51 score against Lampeter-Strasburg in the championship …

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Blue Raider boys basketball team stands at 3-3 after finishing 2nd in own tourney

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The Middletown boys basketball team hosted a holiday tournament last week and finished in second place after coming up on the short end of a 75-51 score against Lampeter-Strasburg in the championship game on Thursday night.

The Blue Raiders reached the title contest after defeating Susquehannock in the second game on Wednesday. Lampeter-Strasburg had rallied past Northern York in the tourney opener to earn the right to face their hosts Thursday.

With the win and loss, the Blue Raiders evened their season record to 3-3 overall as they head into 2018 still trying to find some consistency in their game. Weather canceled Saturday’s contest at Pottsville. Games this week include at Camp Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 2, home to Trinity on Friday and at West Perry next Tuesday.

One of their main concerns is foul shooting, a factor that showed up again in the championship loss. The Raiders are also having difficulties getting balanced scoring among the ranks. While Ryan Hughes and Chris Plummer have been leading the way on the offensive end, points from their teammates have been few and far between. Those two main areas of concern have head coach Chris Sattele searching for answers. 

Middletown 64,
Susquehannock 49

Plummer led the way with 22 points and Hughes added 17 as the Blue Raiders fought off an upset bid by the Warriors in the second game of the tournament on Wednesday with a strong second half in the victory.

The game was knotted at 17 after one quarter and the Raiders held a slim 31-27 lead at halftime. But the Middletown five took control with a 15-7 scoring advantage in the third quarter that keyed the win.

After the Raiders had jumped out to a 7-2 lead and held a 15-10 advantage with 2:30 left in the opening period, Susquehannock’s Hunter Sentz scored five straight points for the Warriors to tie the game with 1:35 left. A Hughes jumper at 1:01 pushed the Raiders back in front, but Sentz added two late free throws with 3 seconds left to again knot the score 17-17. Sentz recorded 10 of his team-high 16 points in the quarter.

Hughes scored just 18 seconds into period two off a David Alcock assist to push the Raiders back on top at 19-17. The Middletown squad did not trail after that point.

Plummer scored following a foul shot by Sentz, and Antonio Gamble converted a Tre’ Leach assist into a 23-18 Middletown lead at the 5:03 mark of the quarter. After going up 30-22 on a pair of free throws by Hughes with 1:47 left the Raiders had trouble scoring in the late going, picking up just a single point on a foul shot by Gamble the rest of the way.

Late points by Kyle Orondorff and Jordan McMillon pulled the Warriors to within four, 31-27, at the halftime break.

Plummer started off the scoring in the third quarter with a trey and, after McMillon drove inside for a bucket with 6:00 left, the Blue Raiders ran off 7 straight points to climb up to a 41-29 advantage with 3:20 left. The Warriors made just two of 10 shots in the period and the Raiders made 6 of 15, including Plummer’s third triple of the game and a late basket by Tyreer Mills off a Kyle Truesdale assist. The 15-7 scoring advantage gave the Raiders a comfortable 46-34 lead heading into the final frame.

While scoring did not come easy for either side, the Raiders did manage to outscore the Warriors 10-4 in the first half of the fourth quarter as they built up a 56-38 lead. Late scores by Mitch Lee, Brady Fox and Alcock kept the Raiders out in front as they cruised to the victory.

Lampeter-Strasburg 75, Middletown 51

The Pioneers, who had rallied from a 33-24 halftime deficit to claim a 69-53 win against Northern York in the opening game of the tournament, outscored the Blue Raiders in every period in the tourney final to walk away with a 75-51 victory and the trophy on Thursday night.

Led by Tournament MVP Ryan Smith’s 24 points and 17 from Isaac Beers, Lampeter-Strasburg’s dominance on both ends of the court proved to be too much for the Blue Raiders, who struggled to match up with their guests.

When not getting the ball inside to the 6-foot-8 Smith for layups, the Pioneers shot well from outside by hitting 6 three-pointers. The Blue Raiders, still plagued by foul shooting trouble (20 for 40), also had trouble scoring from the floor, shooting just 33 percent in the loss. That simply was not good enough against a very good Lampeter-Strasburg team that had suffered just one loss entering the tournament.

While Hughes (17 points), Plummer (11 points) and Leach (10 points) teamed for 38 points, their totals were not equal to the 41 that Smith and Beers put up. Ten Pioneers scored in the game.

The Raiders tied the score at 6-6 midway through the opening period but Lampeter-Strasburg ended the segment with a 16-10 lead.

A good start to the second stanza by the Raiders pulled the home team to within 18-16 with 6:23 left in the first half. But the Pioneers outscored the Raiders 16-7 in the balance of the quarter and eased into the break up 34-23.

After the Pioneers opened up the second half with a three-pointer by Jordan Sweger, things simply did not get any better for the Middletown team as it tried to catch up. By the end of the third quarter, Lampeter-Strasburg had climbed to a 50-32 lead and the Pioneers were never threatened the rest of the way. The Raiders collected just one point on a free throw by Hughes in the first two minutes of the final segment while the Pioneers dropped in 11 on their way to a  61-33 lead. And that was more than enough of a gap to essentially lock up the win early.

Hughes, Jerrod Myes, Fox, Plummer, Leach and Tyler Petrovic chipped in points for the Middletown side in the final 8 minutes but Lampeter-Strasburg registered 25 points in the span to wrap up the victory and the tournament championship.