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Senior Night honors for Blue Raiders

Middletown Area High School seniors and their relatives were honored on Senior Night.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 02 February 2017 12:26

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Raider wrestlers down Camp Hill, travel to New Oxford

webIMG 3643Nate Brady took down Camp Hill’s Gus Latorre in their Jan. 18 match.


The Middletown varsity wrestling team traveled to Camp Hill on Wednesday, Jan 18, and won an important conference matchup.

This brought the squad’s season record to 8-4 with a 5-1 record in the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division. 

The Blue Raiders then headed south to New Oxford for a two-day tournament on Jan 20-21.


Middletown 42, Camp Hill 31

Senior Logan Stoltzfus got the Blue Raiders started with a 10-1 major decision victory over Parker Rice at 132.

Nathan Brady followed up with a gutsy 5-4 win over Camp Hill’s Gus Latorre at 138. Middletown’s Devin Martin would make quick work of Brody Bezanilla at 145 pounds, earning a pin and bringing the team score to 13-0 in favor of Middletown.


IMG 3810Ryan Berstler wrestles against Camp Hill.


Middletown freshman Joey Spear would drop a close 9-6 decision to Anthony Rini at 152 before Abel Botterbusch would earn the Raiders another important pin at 160 pounds.

Camp Hill gained the momentum in the heavyweights, earning back-to-back pins at 170 and 182 and a major decision win at 220 pounds.  

Middletown was without some starters and would surrender forfeits at 195 and 285 pounds, bringing the team score to 31-19 in favor of the Lions.

The Raider lightweights responded. Luke Fegley and Mason Stoltzfus would each receive wins by forfeit at 106 and 120 pounds. Ryan Berstler showed his speed by scoring 22 points and a technical fall for the Raiders at 113. Chris Joseph would seal the Blue Raider victory with an impressive first-period pin over Ryan Foerster at 126 pounds.


8 on podium at New Oxford

The Raider wrestlers traveled to New Oxford on Jan 20-21 for a two-day tournament offering 30 wrestling teams from around the state.

The Raiders, who were without three starters, would end up placing six wrestlers in the varsity division and two wrestlers in the JV division in route to a 16th place finish.

In the varsity division, senior Logan Stoltzfus led the Raider wrestlers with a second-place finish in the 126-pound weight class. Stoltzfus scored three impressive wins in route to the finals, defeating Troy’s Bailey Cohick 10-0, Waynesboro’s Laken Rouzer 6-4, and Southern Columbia’s Jake Renn 5-0. 

Stoltzfus would eventually drop a close match in the finals to Zakaria El Fernani of Marple Newton.

Freshman Chris Joseph remained in the varsity lineup for the Raiders and put up an impressive fifth-place finish. Joseph started with a 6-4 decision over AJ Knobloch of Delone Catholic and a quick pin over Brandywine’s Klint Harpel. Although Joseph would suffer a setback in the semifinal round, he responded with a win and a fifth place finish overall.

Nathan Brady and Devin Martin earned three match wins in route to their seventh-place finishes at 132 and 138 pounds. Luke Fegley and Ryan Berstler would each score two wins to earn eighth-place finishes at 106 and 113 pounds.

Seniors Abel Botterbusch and Wyatt Smith would also earn two wins apiece, but fell just short of reaching the podium at 152 and 160 pounds.

In the junior varsity division, freshman Zach Malay and junior Zach Dailey each earned fourth-place finishes in the 106- and 145-pound divisions.

The Raiders will visit Milton Hershey for another important conference matchup on Thursday Jan. 26. It might determine which of the two squads will enter the postseason.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2017 12:26

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Blue Raider girls get much-needed victory against Steel-High

image025Makaila Nester spearheads the defense against Steel-High on Friday, Jan. 18.


Despite being only 6-10 on the season, the Middletown girls have suffered some close losses along the way. 

Entering a visit to Steelton-Highspire’s historic Marty Benkovich gym Friday night as part of a boys/girls varsity doubleheader, the Lady Raiders needed a win to lift their spirits. And they got just that after recording a 66-58 victory over the Rollers. 

With Bianca Jasper registering 24 points, Makaila Nester scoring 21 and Kate Fitzpatrick adding 18, the Blue Raiders had their offense on track. On the defensive side the Raiders forced seven fourth-quarter turnovers that proved to be a big plus as the Rollers tried to mount a winning rally. 

By outscoring their hosts in three of the four periods, the Raiders picked up the much-needed win for themselves and head coach Ron Stetler and assistants Amanda Jones and Mike Thomas. 

In the first meeting of the year, the Lady Raiders came up short in a 57-54 loss to the Rollers at home. In that one, a pivotal third quarter proved to be their undoing. But not this time. After slipping behind by a single point at halftime, a 16-10 scoring edge in the third set the stage for the victory. And a clutch 21-18 advantage in the final frame secured the big win. 

image026Bianca Jasper drives vs. Steel-High.Nester, a sharp-shooting junior guard, was on her game right from the start hitting a trio of triples to lead the Raiders in the early going. After Steel-High took the lead at 11-8 with 2:01 left in the opening segment, Jasper and Nester went back-to-back with triples to push the Middletown side up to a 14-11 lead by the end of the period. 

But, in the second stanza, Steel-High’s Xaria Isom caught fire and scored 11 of her 24 points to lead the Rollers. With the Middletown offense having a bit of trouble finding the net, the Rollers forged ahead, taking a 28-22 lead with 1:31 left in the first half. Fitzpatrick’s triple at 1:10 cut the gap and a pair of late goals by Nester and Jasper pulled the Lady Raiders to within one, 30-29, at the break. 

There were a number of missed shots by both teams in the third period after Fitzpatrick’s goal off a Jasper assist eased the Raiders back in front 31-30. But the Rollers still managed to regain the lead with a triple by Leona Borrelli and a putback by Isom. Down 35-31 at that point, the Raiders rallied as Jasper and Fitzpatrick teamed for 9 straight Middletown points. That successful rally put the Lady Raiders in front to stay. After the Rollers cut the lead to 40-35 Nester and Jasper again went back-to-back to make it a 44-35 game with 2:10 left in the third. Heading into the final frame the Middletown side held a 45-40 advantage. 

Three early points by Isom trimmed the lead to three to start the fourth quarter, but Jasper’s trey off a Morgan Noon assist and Jasper’s drive following a Steel-High miss pushed the Raiders up to a 50-43 lead with 6:20 left. The Lady Rollers stayed close, however, outscoring the Raiders 6-0 while trimming Middletown’s lead to 51-49 with four minutes left. Nester’s clutch three at 3:11 and drive following a Roller turnover 30 seconds later again gave the Raiders some breathing room at 56-49. 

image027Kate Fitzpatrick brings the ball upcourt vs. Steel-High.Noon made one foul shot and Fitzpatrick popped in a short jumper at 2:10 for a 59-50 Middletown lead that proved to be a key edge in the win. 

After Isom scored to make it a 59-54 game with 1:27 left, Jasper dropped in two free throws, scored from the baseline following a Roller turnover and added two more foul shots after the Rollers missed a late shot. That six-point run lifted the Raiders to a 65-54 lead with 23 seconds left and locked up the win. Isom and Kayana Chisolm scored late points for the Rollers but they were not enough to overcome the comfortable Middletown lead.  


Milton Hershey 41, Middletown 25

Poor second and fourth quarters doomed the Blue Raiders in a 41-25 loss at Milton Hershey on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Middletown was outscored 10-2 in the second and 14-4 in the fourth.

Kate Fitzpatrick scored 10 for the Blue Raiders, including two three-pointers. Bianca Jasper added 7.


East Pennsboro 50, Middletown 41

The Blue Raiders, playing at home Monday, Jan. 23, couldn’t hold a six-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

Middletown was outscored 21-6 in the final period to lose 50-41.

Bianca Jasper had 17 points and Makaila Nester added 11. Jocilyn Koser scored 8 points.

Only three players scored for East Pennsboro, led by 28 for Sunshine McCrae. Madison Ernst and Cailey Joyce each had 11.

The team, now 2-5 in the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division, will play host to Camp Hill on Friday and travel to Trinity on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

3M1A6506Jordyn Dupes on defense

3M1A6571Jocilyn Koser takes a shot.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2017 09:57

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Hughes hits 1,000 points, and Blue Raiders win at Steel-High


image004Ryan Hughes watches his 1,000th point drop through the basket, on the road at Steel-High on Friday.

Huge victories over Milton Hershey and Steelton-Highspire highlighted an exciting week as the Middletown boys basketball team swept three games to run their record to 12-2. 

The Blue Raiders started off the week Tuesday, Jan. 17, with a 74-60 victory over visiting Milton Hershey and capped the five-day span with a streak-breaking 61-60 triumph at Steelton-Highspire on Friday evening. In between, the Raiders stepped out of the league for a road trip to Northern Lebanon and came home with a 71-54 decision on Thursday. 

In the process, junior Ryan Hughes broke the 1,000-point barrier, joining the ranks of elite players in the area. 

The Blue Raiders were scheduled for a four-game set this week against East Pennsboro, Eastern Lebanon County, Camp Hill and Tulpehocken as they work toward the top of the District III power ratings and a playoff spot. 

They are 6-1 in the Mid Penn Conference Capital Division.


Middletown 74, Milton Hershey 60

With a share of the lead in the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division at stake, the Blue Raiders spotted the visiting Spartans a 16-13 lead at the end of the first quarter on Tuesday. But, thanks to a 23-12 scoring reversal in the second stanza, the home team took over the lead and held onto it the rest of the way while handing their guests their first division loss of the season. 

Senior Luke Mrakovich led all scorers with a game-high 22 points, Hughes added 17 and Chris Plummer and Tre Leach teamed for 23 more in the victory. Don’Yea Baylor-Carroll led the Spartans with 16. 

web3M1A6029Michael Mattes goes up against Milton Hershey on Tuesay, Jan. 17.The Raiders got out to a 4-3 lead on goals by Hughes and Plummer before the Spartans ran off the game’s next 7 points to go ahead 10-4 just past the midway point of the opening period. Going just 2 for 11 from the floor hurt the Middletown offense in the stretch. But a trio of scores by Plummer, Hughes and Michael Mattes tied the game at 10-10 at 2:29. 

The Spartans then grouped another run of 6 points from Baylor-Carroll, Keonte Lucas and Pedro Rodgiguez to make it a 16-10 game. A buzzer-beating trey by Mrakovich cut the gap to three heading into the second period. 

After the Spartans led off the period with a basket, Mrakovich drained another triple and Leach converted a Tyreer Mills assist for two points following another Lucas bucket. A Spartan turnover then led to the tying basket by Hughes at 5:59. Spartan coach Mark Zerbe rotated players in and out during the frame, using his bench. So, too, did Middletown coach Chris Sattele and sub David Alcock pushed back a rebound for the go-ahead points with 5:11 left in the half. The Raiders would not trail again in the game. 

With Hughes and Mrakovich teaming for 15 points in the period, and the Middletown defense keeping Baylor-Carroll and his teammates in check, the Raiders piled up 23 points in the frame while holding their guests to 12. And those efforts led the home team to a pleasing 36-28 lead at halftime. 

After Dom Parker scored early in the third quarter for the Spartans, Hughes and Leach went back-to-back to put the Raiders up 40-30. Following a Lucas goal, Mrakovich hit another triple off a pass from Kyle Truesdale before Plummer converted a Hughes steal into a 45-32 Middletown lead at 4:06. And, although the Spartans edged the Raiders in scoring at 16-15 in the period, the home team had a 51-44 upper hand to start the final frame. 

In the last eight minutes, Leach collected 7 points and led the way, shutting down Baylor-Carroll on defense as the Raiders padded their lead. Up 58-51 with 5:04 left, the Blue Raiders ran off 12 straight points to put the game away at 70-51 with 3:19 left. That run took the heart out of the Spartans and led to another 23-point offensive outburst by the Middletown squad in the final 8 minutes. The Spartans scored the last 6 points of the game. 


Middletown 71, Northern Lebanon 54

The Middletown team’s road trip to Fredericksburg on Thursday was an interesting one and the Blue Raiders had to shake off a bit of a hangover from the Milton Hershey win against the host Vikings. 

Getting off to a slow start, the Raiders fell behind 15-11 with 2:14 left in the opening period before collecting themselves in the final two minutes. Truesdale, Hughes and Plummer pulled a reversal in that span as the Raiders forged ahead with a 19-15 lead heading into the second quarter. 

With some of his starters resting on the bench, Sattele’s subs held their own in maintaining the lead. The Vikings pulled to within 4 points twice in the final minutes of the first half to give the Middletown squad a bit of a scare. But Leach’s bucket, followed by a Mrakovich goal off a Hughes steal 13 seconds later gave the Raiders some breathing room. Another Hughes steal led to a goal and foul shot by Mrakovich and a 41-30 lead with 33 ticks left. A pair of Viking free throws by Alex Yeager cut the lead to 41-32 at the halftime break. 

The Blue Raiders picked up their efforts on both ends of the court to start the second half, which led to a 20-10 scoring advantage and a 61-42 lead to start the final frame. After tacking on another point to the spread at 67-47 with 5:10 left in the game, Sattele again cleared the bench for the final minutes. Braedon Thomas and Jarrod Myers added late points for the winners in the 71-54 final decision. 


Middletown 61, Steelton-Highspire 60

This was the big showdown that many area fans were looking forward to, and the two neighboring rivals did not disappoint the full house that came to watch. With television coverage also on hand, the Blue Raiders prevailed in the tension-filled scrap, eking out a thrilling one-point victory over the host Rollers in Marty Benkovich Gym. 

image012Tyreer Mills sails in for an easy two vs. Steel-High.And, not only was the huge victory pleasing for the victorious Middletown side, Hughes rang up his 1,000th career point in the second quarter to reach his milestone accomplishment. Needing just 9 points entering the fray, Hughes reached the pinnacle with a foul shot with 3:07 left in the second period. 

The Steelton-Highspire game administrators graciously stopped the contest at that point so Hughes could receive his awards. When play resumed Hughes made the second free throw adding to his total on his way to a 24-point night. 

This was a game that both sides wanted to win badly and the teams went at each other from the opening tipoff right to the final horn. The early minutes turned out to be a real duel between Steel-High’s Jarvai Flowers and Middletown’s Mills. Flowers started off hot and scored 12 of Steel-High’s 17 points in the first quarter while Mills led the Blue Raiders with 8. Flowers ended the game with 27 points while Mills finished with 17. 

Flowers spotted the Rollers a 5-0 lead to start the game before Mills answered with his personal 8-point run to ease the Raiders in front 8-5. After the Raiders had earned a 14-10 lead on three free throws, the Rollers closed out the opening quarter with a 7-0 run from Flowers, Jayshun Ramsey and Malachi Young to forge a 17-14 lead. 

Hughes led off the second with a goal off a Mrakovich assist and Leach followed with a putback after a pair of missed free throws by the Rollers to squeeze out an 18-17 Middletown lead. Following a runner by Flowers at 5:57, Hughes and Mills teamed for 6 straight points, 4 coming off Roller turnovers, to push the Middletown side back on top, 24-19. 

Following another pair of missed Roller foul shots, Hughes went to the line needing just one point to hit 1,000. With 3:07 left in the first half, Hughes swished the first free throw for his personal historic point. After the brief ceremony ended he dropped in the second and the Raiders led by a 26-19 count. But Flowers kept his team right in it, scoring 8 late points to cut the Middletown lead to 29-27 at halftime. Mattes and Hughes chipped in points to keep the Raiders ahead. 

After a scoreless minute and a half to start the third quarter the Raiders broke the ice on a triple by Mills and a goal by Leach that pushed the Middletown side ahead 34-27. But the Rollers came charging back and turned an 11-3 scoring advantage into a 38-37 lead with 3:32 left in the third. 

And, after the Raiders misfired on three free throws, the lead grew to 41-37 with 3:09 on the clock. Leach broke the drought with a jumper at 1:56. Hughes converted a Steel-High miss and Mills assist into a momentum-swinging three pointer at 1:10 and then popped in another trey at the buzzer after picking up a loose ball on the offensive end to push the Raiders in front 45-41 with 8 minutes to play. 

Defensive pressure by both teams kept the score unchanged in the early minutes of the fourth. Held scoreless through the first three periods Mrakovich finally registered his first points on a driving layup 1:45 into the final frame. Likewise, Steel-High’s Tim Kater collected his first points 16 seconds later. For good measure, Mrakovich threw down a triple at 5:01 to give the Blue Raiders a 50-43 lead. But the Raiders could not put the Rollers away and Steel-High scored 4 straight points by Jelani Isom and Ramsey to keep it close. 

A Mills basket at 2:55 was answered by another Kater score at 2:16 and the Benkovich gym crowd was really into it, both sides cheering on their teams as the tension mounted.

Hughes went back-to-back, scoring at 2:03 and 1:45 to make it a 58-51 game and then sank one of two foul shots following a bucket by Ramsey to keep the Raiders ahead. Young scored with 50 seconds left to cut the lead to 59-55 and the Raiders dodged a bullet following a miss at their end when Mills picked off a Roller pass with 40 ticks left. 

Hughes scored off an inbounds pass from Mills and the 6-point spread proved to be enough for the Blue Raiders to hang on for the win. A putback by Isaiah Lockette with 10 ticks left and a triple by Ramsey with :01 left rounded out the scoring as the Middletown side claimed the tense, hard-fought victory.

3M1A6794Parents Chris and Leslie Hughes celebrate Ryan Hughes’ 1,000th point as a Middletown Blue Raider.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2017 09:44

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Lower Dauphin boys win one game, lose one

The Lower Dauphin boys basketball team split two games last week, holding off Hershey before falling by a point to Bishop McDevitt. 

They now stand at 9-5 overall and 6-4 in the Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division.

A furious fourth-quarter charge by Hershey wasn’t enough to catch the visiting Lower Dauphin Falcons on Tuesday, Jan. 17, in Keystone Division action.

Lower Dauphin had five players in double figures, led by Ryan Becher at 18. Will Bowen added 17, Brian Swist had 16. Brady Wilson scored 14 and Jackson Becher had 11.

The Falcons built an 18-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. But Hershey managed to outscore Lower Dauphin 36-22. Jacob Wilson had 25 and Sean Collier 20 for Hershey.

Against Bishop McDevitt on Friday, Jan. 20, it took overtime for the Crusaders to come out with a 65-64 win.

A late basket by Bowen, who led Lower Dauphin with 21 points, sent the game into overtime. But the visitors managed to outscore the Falcons 9-8 in the extra time.

It was a close game all the way: 19-18 McDevitt after one period, 30-28 at halftime, tied at 42 after three periods and tied at 56 at the end of regulation. 

Wilson added 16 and Swist 12 in the losing effort.

The Falcons visited Susquehanna Township on Tuesday, Jan. 24 to start a busy week. They play at Milton Hershey on Wednesday, Jan. 25, the play host to Cedar Cliff on Friday, Jan. 27, and Mechanicsburg on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2017 09:12

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