Published Date Written by Larry Etter
The Middletown Blue Raiders boys' junior varsity basketball team evened its record at 3-3 with a pair of victories last week over Camp Hill and Dover.
The Raiders posted a 55-50 triumph over visiting Camp Hill on Tuesday, Dec. 16, then followed that up with a 48-39 win at Dover on Thursday, Dec. 18. In both games, the Raiders played well from start to finish.
Against Camp Hill, the Raiders took an early 4-0 lead before the Lions rallied to claim a 19-13 advantage. Luke Mrakovich and Mike Mattes scored 11 of Middletown's points in the opening period.
An 11-7 scoring advantage in the second quarter by the Middletown offense cut into Camp Hill’s lead and the Raiders trailed by two, 26-24, at the halftime break. Tre Michel joined Mrakovich and Mattes in the scoring during the period.
Chris Plummer tied the score for Middletown early in the third quarter and Brandon Miller’s putback gave the Raiders a 28-26 edge at the 5:16 mark.
After Camp Hill went back in front 33-32, Mrakovich scored to ease the Raiders back into the lead.
But a pair of turnovers and a missed shot by Middletown allowed the Lions to gain a 41-36 upper hand. The Raiders got a big lift heading into the final period, however, when Jimmy Fitzpatrick threw in a halfcourt bomb at the buzzer just as the third quarter ended to make it a four-point game at 43-39.
After the Lions went up 45-41 early in the fourth quarter, the Raiders used a 9-5 scoring advantage to tie the score at 50-50 with 1:42 left on the clock.
From there, the Middletown defense pitched a shutout by forcing several turnovers down the stretch. Michel’s field goal and three free throws from Ryan Divittore and Mrakovich sealed the victory for the Raiders.
At Dover, the Raiders jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the opening quarter before the Eagles rallied to tie the score at 9-9 by the end of the frame.
Fitzpatrick’s trey off a Mattes pass 1:05 into the second stanza kicked off a 13-point offensive outing by the Raiders and led to a 22-16 halftime advantage for the Middletown team.
Although the Eagles earned an 11-10 scoring edge in the third quarter the Raiders still led by five points, 32-27, heading into the final period.
The Raiders scored the first five points of the final frame, all by Plummer, and helped the Blue and Gold to a 37-27 lead with 5:17 left. That 10-point spread turned out to be big as the Eagles tried to rally and managed to collect 12 points during the balance of the quarter. But, with Mrakovich, Divittore, Mattes, Plummer and Fitzpatrick teaming for 11 points down the stretch, the Raiders held off Dover and claimed the victory.