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Middletown girls basketball team falls to Delone in tournament

By Larry Etter Press And Journal Staff
Posted 2/28/17

The Middletown girls basketball season — and the career of Bianca Jasper, one of only seven players to score 1,000 points in Blue Raider girls history — is over.

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Middletown girls basketball team falls to Delone in tournament

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The Middletown girls basketball season — and the career of Bianca Jasper, one of only seven players to score 1,000 points in Blue Raider girls history — is over.

The Blue Raiders lost Friday night against Delone Catholic at South Western High School in the District III Class 3A girls basketball tournament. They played a consolation game Tuesday night vs. Pequea Valley.

Against Delone, Middletown stayed close early, with the score tied at 16 after one period. But a 16-7 deficit in the second quarter was followed by a 24-5 margin in favor of the No. 2 seed and the game was far out of reach.

Jasper led the team with 18 points to reach 1,197 in her career prior to Tuesday’s matchup. She averaged 16.6 in her senior season, after a 16.7-point average as a junior. She will play college basketball at California (Pa.).

Jocilyn Koser scored 8 for Middletown and Makaila Nester registered 7 against Delone. Katie Fitzpatrick closed out a stellar freshman year with 5 points. She averaged more than 12 points a game this season.

Middletown 48, Tulpehocken 30

To get to the game vs. Delone Catholic, the Middletown girls basketball team claimed a District III-3A opening round victory over Tulpehocken last Tuesday night, Feb. 14.

With the Lady Blue Raiders (seeded third) and the Tulpehocken Lady Trojans (seeded fourth) both entering the tournament with identical 10-12 overall records, the game had all the indications of an interesting matchup.

But, after a close first period and a half of action, the Raiders stepped up their game and went on to outscore their guests 27-5 in the middle two quarters, keying their 48-30 win. Senior guard Bianca Jasper scored a game-high 20 points and freshman backcourt mate Kate Fitzpatrick added 19 to lead Ron Stetler’s charges to victory.

From the opening tipoff, it appeared as if the Lady Raiders were going to have an easy time against the Trojans from the Berks County League. By jumping out to an early 7-0 lead in the opening quarter it appeared that way. But the Trojans came charging back from that early deficit by outscoring the Raiders 8-2 in a span of 1:39 to tie the score at 12. Jasper’s goal off a baseline drive with one tick left gave the home team a 14-12 edge heading into the second stanza.

Despite that late goal by Jasper, the Middletown team’s slump continued into the second quarter. While the defense held Tulpehocken to one basket that tied the score at 14-14 at the 6:51 mark, the offense struggled at the other end. After going 0-for-7 from the floor in the first half of the period the Raiders finally broke the scoring drought with a basket by Jasper at the 4:12 mark.

Jasper added two foul shots 23 seconds later and scored again at 1:16 following a scoreless stretch by both teams.

Fitzpatrick’s runner off a Trojan miss with 52 seconds left lifted the home team to a 22-14 lead at the halftime break.

Jocilyn Koser’s putback 30 seconds into the second half made it a 10-point game and kicked off a dominating third quarter for the Blue Raiders, a stretch that fired up the large home crowd. Jasper’s trey following a Trojan turnover pushed the lead to 27-14 before Tulpehocken’s Allyson Yoder broke the ice with a triple at 6:25. But that turned out to be the only points the visitors would get in the segment. With Jaelynn Keller pulling down rebounds off of Tulpehocken misses the Raiders took off on a 12-0 run to add to the gap on the scoreboard.

In the run, Fitzpatrick scored 10 points, including 6 off a pair of 3-pointers, and Jasper scored in the middle of the streak. Caroline Gill had a pair of assists in the run. Makaila Nester’s layup off a Fitzpatrick steal with 22 seconds left put the game out of reach at 41-17 to start the final 8 minutes.

Tulpehocken snapped the Trojans scoreless run with another triple by Yoder early in the fourth quarter and Keller answered with a putback 30 seconds later. Subs Jordyn Dupes and Camryn Russ picked up quality minutes in the fourth and Jasper scored her final points of the game on a trey with 5:24 left. Against the Middletown reserves the Trojans scored the final 7 points of the game but the gap was much too big to overcome.

About that slump in the first half, Stetler noted that his team was taking long shots that simply were not falling.

“That’s their game. They like to shoot from outside and it’s great when they are making the shots so we let them shoot,” he said.

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