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Raider boys basketball's losing streak reaches 11

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

717-944-4628
Posted 1/16/19

Chris Bradford’s young varsity basketball team is still looking to break out of its long winless streak following another pair of losses last week that ran their losing streak to 11 games. …

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Raider boys basketball's losing streak reaches 11

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Chris Bradford’s young varsity basketball team is still looking to break out of its long winless streak following another pair of losses last week that ran their losing streak to 11 games.

The Blue Raiders (1-11) fell to visiting Milton Hershey on Friday and then came up short at Manheim Central on Saturday.

While at times the team shows progress, it’s the youthful mistakes that have led to inconsistency as victories continue to elude the Middletown squad. Now, at the halfway point of the season, the Blue Raiders hope to find some positives in the remaining weeks.

If there is any consolation to the Raiders’ woes, it can be noted that the teams they have lost to so far have a combined 89 wins with just three of their opponents owning losing records. Simply put, the competition has been very good.

The team was scheduled to go on the road to face always-dangerous Steelton-Highspire on Tuesday and East Pennsboro, the only team they beat, on Friday. Saturday, they play South Western at a tournament in Gettysburg, and they travel to Camp Hill next Tuesday.

Milton Hershey 76, Middletown 41

Tyler Petroski, Middletown’s lone senior on the squad, was forced to sit out the entire second half due to a hip injury suffered against Milton Hershey on Friday at home, and his absence was obvious as the Blue Raiders managed to score just 17 second-half points in the loss to the Spartans.

While the home team did register 24 points in the first half, the athletic Spartans collected 54 in the first two periods to earn a 30-point cushion by halftime. From there it was just a matter of the visitors maintaining the pace to insure the victory.

Jules Nester scored 11 of his team-high 15 points in the first half and freshman Tajae Broadie collected 10 of his 11 after the break, but the Spartans used their defensive and rebounding dominance throughout to key the win.

Following that first-half explosion of points, the Spartans were held to just 22 in the second half as the Raiders tried to get back in it. But it was Milton Hershey’s depth and experience that took its toll on the young Raiders.

The Raiders trailed by just five, 25-20, following a pair of free throws by Petroski with 6:23 left in the second quarter. But the Raiders faltered after that and, hurt by turnovers and missed shots, the game got away from them.

The Spartans went on to outscore the Middletown squad 29-4 in the last 5:45 of the half to blow out to a 54-24 halftime lead.

A scoreless streak that carried into the second half finally was broken by a foul shot by Tony Powell with 5:23 left in the third quarter.

Manheim Central 60, Middletown 34

In the day-long Lancaster-Lebanon League vs. Mid-Penn Conference Showcase on Saturday evening, the Blue Raiders faced host Manheim Central in the finale. And, once again, the Blue Raiders were able to make things interesting through the first two and a half periods before hitting the wall in the third as they fell to yet another loss.

Central got off to a good start as Colton Book scored the game’s first 6 points. Petroski, playing through the discomfort of his ailing hip, broke the string with a trey at the 5:30 mark and closed out the scoring with a bucket with 31 ticks left to keep the Raiders close at 11-7.

A 13-9 scoring edge by the Barons in the second period gave the hosts a 24-15 advantage at halftime. Broadie sank two foul shots 15 seconds into the second half and scored again off a Nester assist following a triple by Central’s Cameron Sell to keep the Raiders in the hunt, down 27-20.

But any hopes of a rally for the lead fell apart as the Blue Raiders made just two points, on a short jumper by Jarrod Pugh, through the balance of the quarter. During the same span, the Barons scored 13 points and jumped out to a 40-22 lead.

The scoring woes, along with a rash of turnovers, haunted the Raiders in the final 8 minutes as the Barons outscored their guests 20-12 to win going away. Ten of their points came from the free throw line.

Two foul shots by Brock Welsh closed out the scoring for the Raiders in the late going.

Petroski finished with 9 points, Broadie had 8 and Powell had 7 in the loss. Book had a game-high 20 points for the winners.