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Middletown boys have rough stretch, lose 4 straight games

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

Posted 12/27/18

Still feeling the effects of a late start to the season, the Middletown boys basketball team struggled through a rough week, coming up winless during four games in a grueling six-day stretch …

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Middletown boys have rough stretch, lose 4 straight games


Still feeling the effects of a late start to the season, the Middletown boys basketball team struggled through a rough week, coming up winless during four games in a grueling six-day stretch following a season-opening victory Dec. 14.

Playing against four good teams the Blue Raiders could not put together a complete outing .

Dealing with the heavy schedule prior to the Christmas break, the Raiders (1-4) had more game time than practice time.

“Not getting much practice time for us to teach the players has been a problem,” head coach Chris Bradford said during the week. “The kids have had to learn during the games instead.”

The late start was because of another successful season for the football team, and Bradford and his squad have been trying to catch up to everyone else.

On Tuesday, Dec. 18, the Raiders lost to visiting Camp Hill, 72-53, and on Wednesday, also at home, the Raiders fell to Bishop McDevitt, 77-58. A road trip to Trinity on Friday brought on another loss, 71-34, and a Saturday afternoon non-league meeting at Penn Manor resulted in a 61-42 setback to the Comets.

There was time for some rest this week before the action starts back up Thursday and Friday in the E-town Holiday Shootout at Elizabethtown. The Blue Raiders then will play host to West Perry on Jan. 4.

Camp Hill 72, Middletown 53

The Blue Raiders got off to a rough start against Camp Hill on Tuesday, struggling through the first half that pushed the home team into a 39-13 hole by the halftime break.

Even though the Raiders scored 40 points in the second half, that early deficit proved to be too big, especially against the talented Lions.

Tymir Jackson, Tyler Petroski and Jules Nester teamed for 23 of the Raiders’ 28 third-period points in a good run that cut into Camp Hill’s lead.

But that third quarter surge eventually wore down the running Raiders and the Lions controlled the final 8 minutes, outscoring their hosts 16-12 to secure the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division victory.

With 5:30 left in the game, the Raiders had cut Camp Hill’s lead to just 11 points, 59-48, but the Middletown squad would get no closer the rest of the way.

A triple by Petroski with 2:30 left turned out to be the Raiders’ final points of the game. Petroski finished with a team-high 16 points while Jake Perry led with Lions with a game-high 20.

Bishop McDevitt 77, Middletown 58

The Blue Raiders got off to a much better start on Wednesday against visiting Bishop McDevitt and had an 18-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. Five players scored in the opening frame in the balanced offensive attack.

With 5:37 left in the second period, the Crusaders tied the score at 22 before Tony Powell made two free throws to again give the Raiders the lead. But the Crusaders outscored their hosts 15-6 in the second half of the quarter and took a 39-30 lead into halftime.

That late surge by the Crusaders carried over into the third quarter, and McDevitt used a 15-5 run in the first 4 minutes of the second half to jump out to a 54-35 lead that deflated the home team’s hopes of a good second half.

The 26-13 scoring advantage in the third turned the game completely in McDevitt’s favor. Jackson led the way for the Raiders with 14 points while Nester and Trayvon Joseph teamed for 21 in the loss. Jake Kelly recorded a game-high 23 points for the Crusaders.

Trinity 71, Middletown 34

Middletown fans got pretty excited on Friday evening when their Blue Raiders got off to a great start against the heavily favored Trinity Shamrocks.

Historically, winning on Trinity’s court has been comparable to “Mission Impossible” for Middletown teams over the years, and any positive things that come out of the annual short road trip to the West Shore school are reason for celebration.

And, so, when the Raiders played well enough to earn an improbable 16-13 lead by the end of the game’s first quarter, there was plenty of optimism floating through the Middletown fan base. Unfortunately, however, that optimism was short-lived.

Charging back from that first-period deficit, the Shamrocks stepped up their patented solid defensive and offensive dominance on their way to a pivotal 15-0 run in the first 4 minutes of the second stanza and the reeling Raiders never recovered.

Jackson’s 7 points in the first quarter led the way to the Raiders early lead but the Middletown offense was held to just 2 points in the second quarter as the Shamrocks flew out to a 35-18 halftime lead.

Patrick Walker scored 12 of his game-high 22 points in the period and the Trinity defense forced 10 Middletown turnovers in the pre-halftime blitz.

To make matters worse for the Raiders, Trinity opened up the third quarter with another run, this one for 16 unanswered points, before Joseph’s trey at 2:15 broke the string. Jarrod Pugh’s bucket off a Petroski assist produced the only other points for the Raiders who trailed 52-23 heading into the final frame.

Eight players recorded points for the host team in the fourth quarter as Trinity outscored Middletown 19-11 to win the game and continue its long streak against the Blue Raiders. Jackson was high scorer for Middletown with 9 points.

Penn Manor 61, Middletown 42

Bradford and his team were hoping that a step outside the Mid-Penn Conference would be a good break when they traveled to Penn Manor in Millersville on Saturday afternoon. That did not happen, however, as the host Comets scored the first 11 points of the game and outscored the Blue Raiders in each of the first three quarters in the win.

A blocked shot and four straight turnovers led to the opening run by the Comets as the Raiders had trouble getting started. Penn Manor made 5 treys and 11 points from the foul line while taking advantage of 10 miscues by the Raiders in the first half that ended with the home team up 41-24.

Petroski recorded 10 of his team-high 12 points in the first half while Tajae Broadie added 9 to lead the Raiders, but the Middletown squad just could not catch up. Kevin Roldan scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the first half for the Comets.

A 15-9 scoring advantage in the third padded the Comets lead to 56-33 heading into the game’s final 8 minutes. The Middletown defense played better in the final period, limiting a mix of Penn Manor starters and backups to just 5 points in the last quarter. But the Raiders managed to pocket just 9 points themselves and the host team cruised to the win.