Written by Larry Etter
Middletown’s 59-43 victory at Boiling Springs in the regular season finale on Tuesday, Feb. 7, in all honesty was really nothing much to brag about.
The Blue Raiders easily beat a young and struggling Bubblers team in a game where the outcome was never in doubt. By jumping out to a 24-6 lead by the end of the first quarter and a 41-14 advantage at halftime, the Middletown starters barely broke a sweat before giving way to their backups for most of the second half.
But the win was big because it signified the team’s 18th of the season and solidified the Raiders’ No. 4 spot in the District III power rankings. It also earned the team a first-round bye in the playoffs that start Monday, Feb. 20. The Blue Raiders will open district play with a home game against Eastern York on Thursday, Feb. 23. And that could turn out to be a huge matchup.
The Blue Raiders finished the regular season 18-4, and 9-3 in the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division (third place, behind Trinity and Milton Hershey).
The meeting is something that head coach Chris Sattele and his squad really wanted. Last year, the Blue Raiders were knocked out of the playoffs by the Golden Knights, suffering a heart-wrenching 45-44 loss on Eastern York’s home court. And, in 2011, the Raiders suffered the same fate, getting tossed from the postseason at Eastern York in a 77-52 loss. As it stands, everything points toward a much-anticipated clash in Middletown’s new gym.
Prior to last Tuesday’s finale, the Raiders were coming off a win over West Perry following a pair of tough losses to Capital Division leaders Trinity and Milton Hershey. With the division title out of reach, the Middletown squad still had the high-ranking district finish to aim for. Boiling Springs, a team that started three sophomores, was not equipped to stand in Middletown’s way. And it showed from the opening tipoff.
With all five of their starters scoring, the Raiders jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the game’s first two and a half minutes before the Bubblers picked up their first points of the game. Chris Plummer started it off with a trey at 7:22. Tyreer Mills converted a Bubbler turnover into another Middletown basket 20 seconds later, Ryan Hughes scored following a Boiling Springs miss and Luke Mrakovich and Trey Leach added foul shots to complete the early run.
Another Middletown scoring streak later in the opening period pushed the lead to 23-4 as the blue-clad Raiders cashed in on Bubbler turnovers and missed shots. In the run Plummer and Mills drained threes, Leach drove inside for a bucket and Mrakovich hit another triple off a Michael Mattes rebound and outlet pass. Kyle Truesdale made one of two free throws to close out the first quarter with the Raiders on top 24-6.
Freshman Gavin Donley made two foul shots for Boiling Springs to start the second stanza but the Raiders answered with another run of 7 points over the next minute of play.
Plummer hit another trey and added a layup off a steal by sub Tristen Maxwell and Hughes scored from the baseline to lift the Raiders to a commanding 31-8 lead. Dylan Lanoue broke the string with a jumper at 5:59, but a slick behind-the-back pass from Hughes to Plummer offset the Bubblers’ score at 5:33. Mattes added a pair of baskets, the second one coming with 40 seconds left and the Blue Raiders took an overwhelming 41-14 lead into the halftime break.
Middletown’s starting five played about half of the third quarter and built up a 52-18 lead before Sattele sent in his backups to finish the game. Taking advantage of the changes, Boiling Springs outscored their guests 12-2 in the last four minutes to narrow the gap. By the start of the final frame the Bubblers had pulled to within 24 points, 54-30.
Truesdale scored on a drive to the basket at 6:58 of the fourth quarter and the Bubblers ran off the game’s next 9 points to give themselves a lift.
But it was not enough.
With time winding down and 42 seconds on the clock senior Trey Michal hit a trey that caused the Raider bench to erupt in a raucous cheer. It was his only points of the game; he has 7 points on the season and 12 in his career.
Plummer led the way with 17 points (including three 3-pointers) and Ryan Hughes added 10. Nine players scored for Middletown.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 09:49
After dropping a close opening match to Donegal, the Middletown Blue Raiders varsity wrestling team came back to win over Octorara and Twin Valley in the Twin Valley Duals on Feb 11.
This brought their season record to 10-6 with a 5-2 record in the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division.
Donegal 39, Middletown 34
Donegal jumped out to an 18-0 lead with pins at 195 and 220 and a Raider forfeit at 285. Middletown’s Luke Fegley picked up an 8-4 decision over Jesse Thomas at 106. Ryan Berstler followed up with a quick 54 second pin over Donegal’s Dylan Bowers at 113.
Logan Stoltzfus kept the Raider momentum going with a 12-2 major decision over Davon Brantley at 120. Middletown’s Nate Brady scored a pin over Joseph Fox at 126 pounds, and put the Raiders in front by a score of 19-18. Donegal’s Austin Burkholder earned a 5-0 win over Middletown freshman Mason Stoltzfus, who bumped up to 132 pounds this week.
At 138 the Raider’s Devin Martin earned a win by forfeit over Chris Dacenzo, and at 145 Middletown freshman Joey Spear scored a pin over Will Small, which brought the Raider lead to 31-21.
Middletown senior Wyatt Smith defeated Ian Rineer 5-2 at 160 pounds, but it would not be enough to hold off Donegal, which won three of the last four matches to knock off the Raiders 39-34.
In JV matchups, Middletown’s Zach Malay earned an 8-1 win over Aidan Halulko at 106, and Middletown’s Zach Dailey scored a pin over Gavyn Waltmeyer at 145.
Middletown 34, Octorara 31
Action started at 220 pounds, where Octorara earned a pin and took the early lead. After a double forfeit at 285, Middletown’s Luke Fegley scored a 41-second pin over Kyle Quinn at 106.
At 113 pounds, Donegal’s Seth Hoopes held off Ryan Berstler to earn a 4-3 win. Middletown went on to win the next four matches with brothers Logan Stoltzfus and Mason Stoltzfus each receiving forfeits at 120 and 132 pounds.
Sophomore Nate Brady put up an impressive scoring display by earning seven takedowns en route to a 18-6 major decision at 126. Devin Martin made quick work of Donegal’s Troy Sharpless at 138, earning a 21-second pin, and bringing the Blue Raider lead to 28-9.
Donegal battled back to win the next five weight classes and seize a 31-28 lead over the Blue Raiders.
Coming down to the final match at 195 pounds, Middletown’s Ethan Miller faced off against Lucas Thompson. Miller and Thompson traded scores into the second period where Miller locked up a pin and secured the Raider victory.
Middletown 32, Twin Valley 31
With no contest at 285, action started at 106 pounds. Middletown’s Luke Fegley wasted no time, pinning Tony Madonna in just 20 seconds.
At 113 pounds Twin Valley’s CJ Morten secured an early takedown on Ryan Berstler and managed to hang on for a 2-0 win.
Logan Stoltzfus would get the Blue Raiders rolling with a solid 10-6 win over Mason Bennett at 120 pounds.
Middletown’s Nate Brady had another high scoring match and earned an 18-2 technical fall over Stanley Goff at 126. Mason Stoltzfus scored the Blue Raiders an important 11-3 major decision over Jack Hickman at 132 and extended the team score to 18-3.
At 138 pounds, Devin Martin battled Twin Valley’s Finn Tinsley and came out on top of an 18-13 decision. Middletown freshman Joey Spear defeated Twin Valley senior Joe Boeckel by major decision 14-3 at 145 pounds.
At 160 pounds, Middletown senior Abel Botterbusch made quick work of Chase Luciano, earning the pin in 25 seconds, and extending Middletown’s lead to 31-7. Twin Valley’s heavy weights put up a solid performance and came back to tie the score at 31-31.
The match came down to criteria D, and Middletown won by having seven match wins against Twin Valley’s six match wins.
The Blue Raider wrestling team will be in action next on Feb 18 at the Sectional Championship tournament at CD East High School.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 09:44
The Middletown girls basketball team will play host to Tulpehocken at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 as the District III Class 3A girls basketball tournament gets under way.
Middletown is the No. 3 seed, behind York Catholic and Delone Catholic. Hanover is No 4, Pequea Valley is No. 5 and Tulpehocken is No. 6.
The Blue Raiders wrapped up the regular season by beating Boiling Springs at home on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 59-30.
Kate Fitzpatrick continued her stellar freshman season, with 21 points including two 3-pointers. She is averaging more than 12 points a game on the season. Bianca Jasper, in her last regular season game, added 11. She is averaging close to 17 a game.
Makaila Nester had 9, all on 3-pointers. Jocilyn Koser had 8.
Eight players scored for Middletown.
Middletown jumped out to a 17-8 lead after one quarter and then really put the game away in the second, holding the Bubblers scoreless to go up 33-8 at the half.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 09:32
Written by Larry Etter
With a season-ending 52-38 victory at Boiling Springs last Tuesday night, the Middletown junior varsity boys basketball team put the wraps on an outstanding year.
By recording a 15-6 record, the young Blue Raiders gave coach Matt Kleinfelter and assistants Dave Coffey and Aaron Lupia a successful finish to the eventful season.
“This is my winningest year since I’ve started at Middletown. Great season,” Kleinfelter said.
What were his highlights?
“Beating Trinity in our gym, having a streak of holding opponents in single digits for nine consecutive quarters, and beating Steel-High on their home court.”
Kleinfelter also picked up a varsity victory against Camp Hill in early January while filling in for the ailing Chris Sattele.
At Boiling Springs on Tuesday, the Raiders started off a bit out of sync in the first quarter and came up on the short end of a 14-12 score after one period. The Bubblers took advantage of the early miscues of their guests on their way to a 9-3 lead with 4:10 left in the frame.
But a 9-5 Middletown scoring advantage from that point on pulled the Raiders back into contention. Kyle Truesdale scored 4 points in the span while P.J. Sidhu added a basket and Jerrod Myers hit a late three to close the gap.
The Blue Raiders controlled the game on both ends of the court in the second stanza using good defensive pressure and smoother offense to outscore their hosts 12-4 adding to the momentum they had generated in the first quarter.
A 6-0 run of points from Mitchell Lee and Sidhu pushed the Middletown side up to an 18-14 lead with 4:46 left in the first half.
After the Bubblers broke the string Lee scored again to keep the Raiders four points ahead. At the break the Blue Raiders held a 24-18 advantage.
Boiling Springs found its offensive footing in the third quarter and matched the Middletown squad point-for-point in the seven-minute span. With each team scoring 10 points in the segment the 6-point difference held firm heading into the final period. Truesdale and Trayvon Joseph each scored 4 points while Lee added the others to keep the Raiders in front.
Truesdale opened up the final quarter by scoring 7 of his game-high 21 points as the Raiders climbed to a 41-29 lead. Lee, Sidhu, Truesdale and Myers teamed for 11 points in the final four minutes, more than enough to offset the 7 points the Bubblers put up.
Aiding in the Middletown victory and the season’s success were Kobe Brown and Antonio Gamble, along with David Alcock and Ariel Paulino, who did not get to play in the final game.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 09:20
State Reps. Ron Marsico and Tom Mehaffie played host to the state champion Lower Dauphin boys soccer team at the state Capitol last week. They received a tour and were honored with a citation from the Pennsylvania House sponsored by the representatives.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 09:17