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Raider boys basketball struggles, drop pair

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

Posted 1/3/19

The Middletown boys basketball team suffered a pair of losses in last week’s Elizabethtown Holiday Shootout tournament.

After getting off to a late start due to the extended football …

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Raider boys basketball struggles, drop pair


The Middletown boys basketball team suffered a pair of losses in last week’s Elizabethtown Holiday Shootout tournament.

After getting off to a late start due to the extended football season, the Blue Raiders won their first game, 66-52 over East Pennsboro. But the team has not won since and is 1-6 on the season.

Those losses, however, are understandable. The records of the teams they played include more than 30 combined wins against just a couple of losses.

That has proved to be some very tough competition for the young Blue Raiders to face. In each of the losses the team has not been able to put together complete games, despite showing some brief flashes of good play. In the last two games the starting five consisted of one senior, two sophomores and two freshmen.

This week, the Blue Raiders were scheduled to play at Palmyra on New Year’s Eve afternoon before hosting Steelton-Highspire on Thursday and West Perry on Friday in a pair of Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division contests. 

Lampeter-Strasburg 64, Middletown 43

Following a loss to Northern York on Thursday in the first night of the tournament, the Raiders showed much improvement against Lampeter-Strasburg on Friday, despite a 64-43 loss.

“The kids had a much better attitude tonight,” first-year coach Chris Bradford said following Friday’s setback.

The big difference was the outside shooting of the Pioneers, who made 11 shots from behind the 3-point arc.

“We used four different zone defenses against them to try to stop the outside shooting,” Bradford said.

When the Raiders went man-to-man, it did limit those threes, but the Pioneers adjusted and were able to score from inside by using their height advantage.

Middletown fans were encouraged as the Raiders earned a 13-12 lead by the end of the first quarter and by a 15-15 tie score early in the second. But the Pioneers, led by Zack Kingsley’s 3 triples and a pair from Patrick Holmes, went on to outscore the Raiders 19-9 in the second quarter on their way to a 31-22 halftime lead.

Offensive rebounding helped the Pioneers keep the ball in their hands, leading to the scoring advantage. Tyler Petroski, Jarrod Pugh, Tony Powell and Tajae Broadie scored deuces and Trayvon Joseph added a free throw for the Raiders.

In the second half, the Pioneers outscored the Blue Raiders 33-21 to secure the win, but the Middletown team stayed in the game by limiting turnovers (five in the second half) on offense and playing solid defense.

The scoring, however, was hard to come by. The team made just 8 of 19 shots from the floor in the last two periods.

Lampeter-Strasburg opened up the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run to expand its lead to 55-32 before Powell broke the string with 5:24 left in the game. Jules Nester made two foul shots with 2:27 left, Pugh scored on a drive at 1:22 and sub Brock Welsh drained a triple with 36 seconds on the clock to round out the scoring.

Petroski led the Raiders with 11 points while Kingsley and Chase Broderick teamed for 28 points to lead Lampeter-Strasburg.

Northern York 80, Middletown 49

In Thursday’s matchup, Northern York put on a good show of basketball skills in its 80-49 victory over the Blue Raiders.

With burly 6-foot-4-inch senior forward Ryan McGill leading the way, the Polar Bears jumped out to a 40-14 halftime lead. But, despite those early struggles, the Raiders put together a much-improved second half, scoring 35 points after the break, to gain some much-needed confidence.

Northern collected 40 more points in the second half to stay safely in front to hold the hard-working Middletown team in check. Obviously the first half was not good for the Raiders, who committed 12 turnovers and shot just 4 for 24 from the floor in the game’s first 16 minutes.

In the third period, the improved offense made 7 of 17 shots while scoring 17 points. Petroski scored 9 of his team-high 21 points in the frame to lead the way. But the Polar Bears racked up 22 points in the period to stay comfortably in front 62-31 to start the fourth quarter.

In the final segment, the two teams battled to an 18-18 stalemate as the Blue Raiders closed with a solid finish. Nester, Tymir Jackson, Broadie and Petroski teamed for 13 points to trim Northern’s lead to 24 points (68-44) with 5:17 left in the game, but the Raiders would get no closer the rest of the way.

The final Middletown points of the contest came on a triple by freshman Anthony Stains with 1:27 left.