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Things get heated as Raiders pick up first win vs. Steel-High in boys basketball

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

Posted 12/20/17

Chaos broke out in the final seconds of the Middletown boys basketball game at Steelton-Highspire on Monday night and carried over into the crowd after the final buzzer sounded.

As the Blue …

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Things get heated as Raiders pick up first win vs. Steel-High in boys basketball


Chaos broke out in the final seconds of the Middletown boys basketball game at Steelton-Highspire on Monday night and carried over into the crowd after the final buzzer sounded.

As the Blue Raiders and their excited fans celebrated their 47-46 come-from-behind victory over the Rollers, trouble broke out between fans from both sides, some of which carried over into the parking lot.

Charges expected to be filed over 'large fight' that followed game between Middletown, Steel-High

The win evened the Blue Raiders’ record at 1-1, after a season-opening loss to Milton Hershey on Friday.

The Steel-High game was a hotly contested clash throughout and got a bit heated in the second half. Unfortunately, the game officials did little to settle things down and it carried over into the stands. But, despite the ugly aftermath, the Raiders had much to be happy about after erasing a 10-point Steel-High lead with 6:37 to play and pulling off the win in the closing seconds.

Kyle Truesdale recorded his only two points of the game with a pair of foul shots that tied the score at 44 with 2:20 left and Ryan Hughes made one of two free throws to set the stage for the crazy finish.

After Steel-High’s Jelani Isom gave the lead back to the Rollers, Hughes scored the winning basket with 32 ticks left and the Middletown defense turned away a last second attempt by the home team, enabling the Raiders to hang on for the tension-filled victory.

The Rollers, with a few games — all wins — already played, got off to a 5-0 start on goals by Isom and Amig Jenkins before the Raiders broke their scoreless drought on a driving layup by Hughes at the 4:56 mark of the opening period. A pair of threes by Chris Plummer and Hughes around a putback by Brady Fox kept the Raiders within three, 13-10, at the end of the first quarter.

Ahmari Randolph’s bucket 1:30 into the second stanza gave the Rollers a 15-10 lead, but Tre’ Leach hit a triple 18 seconds later to close the gap to two.

With neither team shooting well during the second quarter (the Raiders made just 4 of 12 from the floor, while the Rollers made just 4 of 15), the score stayed close until halftime. The three-point Steel-High edge that started the period held fast at the end as the Rollers took a 24-21 lead into the break.

The Blue Raiders really had trouble scoring in the third quarter and collected just 8 points for their efforts. As the game got a bit rough in the segment, turnovers kept the host team from building on its lead. The Rollers did manage to outscore their guests 11-8 and led by a 35-29 count heading into the final 8 minutes of action. Five players scored for the Rollers while Tyreer Mills registered all of his 4 points in the frame for Middletown.

Isom and teammate Malachi Young scored the first 4 points of the final period and pushed the Rollers up to a 39-29 lead. But Hughes hit both ends of a one-and-one at 6:36 and then added a driving layup off a Rollers turnover 27 seconds later to cut the Steel-High lead to 39-33. Tim Kater, however, drained his third trey of the game to increase the spread to 9 with 5:46 left. Not to be outdone, the Blue Raiders responded with a triple by Hughes. Leach converted another Steel-High miscue into two foul shots as the Rollers advantage was trimmed 42-38, at 4:50.

Over the next two minutes the Rollers were held to a single basket by Isom as the Raiders started their rally. Hughes made one of two foul shots and added his third trey of the game off an assist from Leach following yet another Steel-High turnover. The huge basket pulled the Raiders to within 44-42 with just more than three minutes left in the game.

After Jayshun Ramsey missed two free throws, Truesdale made both of his after getting fouled pulling down an offensive rebound. Hughes was then fouled on the defensive end and calmly dropped in both tosses to give the Raiders their first lead of the game.

But Isom pushed his team back on top at 46-45 by converting an assist from Young with 1:02 on the clock.

On their end of the court, the Blue Raiders worked the ball around until Leach connected with Hughes in the lane, the play resulting in the go-ahead points and a 47-46 lead for the Blue Raiders with 32 seconds left. The rest was up to the Middletown defense and the hustling five held off the Rollers who were forced to call a timeout with 7.9 seconds on the clock. The Rollers could not come up with the winning goal as a pair of shots missed their mark and the clock ran out.

Milton Hershey 83, Middletown 71

With just a couple full-team practices held due to the extended football season, the Middletown basketball team had little time to prepare for the start of its 2017-2018 season.

While a pair of early games were postponed, the Blue Raiders were faced with the unenviable task of starting off the new year by hosting Milton Hershey, one of the favorites in the Capital Division.

And, as it turned out, the lack of workout time proved to be a major factor in the Spartans’ 83-71 victory over the host Raiders on Friday. But with a solid number of returning players on the roster, the Middletown squad was really not an easy out for the visitors who came into the contest having already played three games, all wins.

In fact the Blue Raiders led 22-21 after one quarter, trailed by just six points at the half and stayed within striking distance midway into the fourth period.

But Milton Hershey’s well-conditioned athletes were able to outplay the tired Blue Raiders in the end, closing with a stronger finish to claim the victory.

Donyae Baylor-Carroll proved to be the catalyst for the Spartans as the talented senior finished with a game-high 35 points, slightly overshadowing Middletown senior Ryan Hughes, who led the home team with 32 points. Tre’ Leach (21 points) and Chris Plummer (14) joined Hughes in double figures while Josh Parra and Pedro Rodriguez teamed for 35 points for the Spartans.

Baylor-Carroll gave the Spartans a  4-0 lead and, three minutes into the game, the guests led 8-5. But Plummer scored three straight baskets for the Raiders with a trey, a baseline goal off a Hughes assist and a steal that he converted into a 12-8 lead with 3:40 left in the opening frame.

After the Spartans edged ahead at 1:09 on three free throws by Baylor-Carroll, Hughes scored with 37 seconds left and Leach sank two foul shots with less than two seconds on the clock following another goal by Baylor-Carroll to give the Raiders the 22-21 lead heading into the second stanza.

The Spartans, however, outscored the Raiders 21-14 in the second period to earn a 42-36 lead at halftime. Baylor-Carroll scored 15 of his points in the quarter to lead the visitors while Leach and Hughes teamed for 13 for the Raiders.

A late run by the Spartans in the third quarter stretched the visitors’ lead to 57-44 while the Middletown offense suffered through a three minute scoreless drought. Hughes popped in a pair of late triples to cut the deficit, but Parra’s baseline goal gave the Spartans a 61-50 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.

The Blue Raiders opened up the final frame with a 6-0 run to cut Milton Hershey’s lead to 61-56. With 4:09 left following back-to-back scores by Leach and Hughes the Raiders trailed by just four points, 67-63.

But the Spartans ran off the game’s next 11 points to gain some breathing room at 78-63 with 2:33 left.

Hughes broke the string with a triple just 9 seconds later and Leach added two free throws to cut the Milton Hershey lead to 10 at 2:02. From that point on, the weary Blue Raiders could not find enough energy to pull off a rally and the Spartans held on for the win.