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Hughes’ buzzer-beater downs Trinity; Blue Raiders gain needed momentum

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

Posted 1/10/18

Just when it appeared as if the season was taking a turn south, the Middletown boys basketball team turned in an amazing effort Friday night with an exciting and dramatic overtime victory over …

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Hughes’ buzzer-beater downs Trinity; Blue Raiders gain needed momentum


Just when it appeared as if the season was taking a turn south, the Middletown boys basketball team turned in an amazing effort Friday night with an exciting and dramatic overtime victory over Trinity.

The huge win, secured with a basket by senior Ryan Hughes (32 points on the night) with three seconds left in the extra period, got the Blue Raiders back on track following a disappointing loss at Camp Hill three days prior, 67-65.

The Raiders then followed up that win with a victory over Annville-Cleona on Saturday to improve their record to 5-4 in a much-needed shift of momentum.

The Blue Raiders were scheduled for a pair of road trips this week, first a Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division contest at West Perry on Tuesday and a longer trek to Mifflin County on Saturday.

The game against Northern Lebanon that was postponed from Dec. 12 because of the football season extending to the state championship game will be played Thursday, Jan. 18, at Penn State Harrisburg.

Middletown 65, Trinity 64 (overtime)

Following the loss at Camp Hill and having to face Trinity (7-2) without a pair of regular starters, the Raiders were certainly dealing with adversity when the one-loss Shamrocks came visiting. But despite the problems the Middletown squad, along with a fantastic job of coaching by Chris Sattele, turned in an outstanding team effort.

The Raiders led 18-15 at the end of the first quarter and held a 34-28 lead at the halftime break. The Shamrocks squeaked ahead 49-47 right before the finish of the third period but the Middletown team, refusing to buckle under to their visitors, knotted the score at 55-55 with 1:09 left in regulation and turned away Trinity’s attempt to pull out a win in the closing seconds. A 10-9 scoring edge by the Raiders in the extra period made the difference between victory and defeat and the joyous team and their fans celebrated big time.

“These kids are amazing. They worked really hard for this,” an extremely happy Sattele said following the win.

Getting quality minutes from Brady Fox and first-time starter Mitch Lee in place of two missing players, along with regular starters Hughes, Kyle Truesdale and Tre’ Leach, Sattele had every reason to be happy with the outcome.

Senior Chris Plummer underwent surgery for an ear problem and is expected to miss as much as two weeks of action.  Tyreer Mills decided to leave the team.

With David Alcock, Antonio Gamble, Jerrod Myers and Tyler Petroski coming off the bench at key moments, the team concept was quite evident on the court.

The Raiders took an early 5-0 lead on a pair of free throws by Leach and a trey by Hughes to get the game started on a positive note for the home team. Hughes scored 8 of his game-high 32 points in the opening frame and Alcock added back to back goals 26 seconds apart late to push the Raiders to an 18-13 lead.

A buzzer-beating bucket by Trinity’s Sean Good, who will play his college ball at Lafayette, pulled the visitors to within 18-15 to start the second stanza. But for Good, Trinity’s 6-foot-10-inch leader, his 7 first-quarter points would be all he would get in the game as several Middletown players defended him well despite the size difference.

Along with that, the excellent defensive play of Middletown’s guards kept the Shamrocks from feeding Good inside for easy baskets. And that outstanding defensive scheme turned out to be a huge key to the win.

In the second period, Hughes collected 9 points, Leach added 4 from the foul line and Myers drained a huge three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Raiders a 34-28 advantage at the intermission.

In the third, Mike Scarpelli registered 6 of his team-high 16 points, Jack Bucher hit a pair of threes and Anthony DeFrank added another to lead the Shamrocks to a 46-43 lead with 2:25 left. Truesdale and Alcock went back to back to edge the Raiders back in front before Scarpelli scored three more points to close out the frame with the visitors ahead 49-47. Lee scored on a back door layup off a Hughes assist to start the fourth quarter and Hughes added a foul shot to push the Raiders up 50-49.

With the tension building with each passing minute, neither team wanted to give in. Trinity’s Matt Long hit another trey for the Shamrocks for a 54-50 lead with 2:52 to go but Hughes scored on a drive at 2:34 and Truesdale added a free throw at 2:00 to make it a one-point game.

With 1:09 left in regulation Leach calmly dropped in a pair of foul shots to knot the score at 55. With 49 seconds left, Trinity’s Tresjon Ruiz missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and the Raiders rebounded with time left. But a turnover by the Raiders with 6.7 ticks on the clock foiled a last second chance to pull out a win. A miss by Trinity with 2 seconds left sent the game into overtime.

A pair of missed foul shots by the Raiders led to another triple by Long and a 58-55 Trinity lead with 3:08 left in the overtime session. But Leach again made a pair of free throws at 2:50 before DeFrank made one of two just 6 seconds later to keep the Shamrocks ahead.

At 2:27, Hughes went to the line and made one of two. Following a Trinity miss, Hughes again made one of two at 1:57 to tie the score at 59. Following another trey by Scarpelli at 1:26, Hughes answered with his own triple off a Leach assist and added a foul shot for a four-point play to give the Raiders a 63-62 lead with 26 seconds left.

But Scarpelli was fouled on the inbounds pass and went to the line, making both shots to ease the visitors back in front 64-63 to set up the exciting finish.

With time winding down, Hughes brought the ball down the court as he looked for a teammate to get open. Trinity’s defense did not let that happen and Hughes ended up keeping the ball himself.

Moving into the lane, Hughes made a great spin move around Ruiz and leaped in the air while shooting. The ball went high off the glass, kissed the front of the rim and dropped through for the go-ahead points with 3 seconds left.

A last-chance pass down the court to Good went awry when Truesdale reached in and took the ball away as the clock ran out.

Camp Hill 67, Middletown 65

At Camp Hill on Tuesday, the Blue Raiders never really looked comfortable and fell to the host Lions 67-65.

Although they led 15-12 at the end of the first period and held onto a 29-25 lead at halftime, the Raiders were outscored 22-18 in the third and 20-18 in the fourth in the disappointing loss.

Without Plummer in the lineup, it was safe to say that his absence made a difference. Hughes led the way with 23 points while Leach added 14 and Truesdale 11 to account for 48 points in the loss while the foursome of Josh Goodyear, Jake Perry, Connor Trumpy and Alex Landis teamed for 62 of Camp Hill’s points in the Lions’ win.

The Blue Raiders got off to a good start and led 12-6 with 2:36 left in the first quarter before Camp Hill charged back. And after leading 29-18 with 1:20 left in the first half, the Middletown side got a bit careless after that. With missed shots and turnovers haunting them, the Raiders watched that lead slip away as the Lions closed out the segment with a 7-0 run.

That momentum carried over into the second half as the hosts pecked away at the lead. By the end of the third period, the Lions had tied the score at 47-47. Foul shooting woes in the fourth quarter eventually spelled doom for the Middletown side and Camp Hill forged ahead to steal the win.

Middletown 68, Annville-Cleona 48

Playing in the Rhoads Foundation Classic at Lebanon Valley College on Saturday afternoon following the emotional triumph over Trinity, the Blue Raiders appeared full of confidence and calm as they took on Annville-Cleona in the first game.

The Raiders jumped out to a 23-6 lead by the end of the first quarter and led 39-17 at the halftime break en route to their comfortable win.

The Little Dutchmen, coached by Middletown native and teacher Chris Bradford, Sattele’s former assistant, played a better game in the second half, scoring 31 points to keep the game in reach. But the Middletown side registered 29 points after the break to keep a safe distance on the scoreboard.

Hughes again led the scoring with a game-high 24 points while Leach and Tyler Petroski teamed for 28 more in the non-league contest. Truesdale, Alcock, Lee and Gamble also put up points for the Blue Raiders. Noah Myers paced the Dutchmen with 16.