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Falcon girls get ready for basketball tourney

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The Lower Dauphin girls basketball team, which finished its season on a six-game winning streak for a record of 16-6 overall and 11-3 in the Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division (tied for second behind Bishop McDevitt) will play its next game in the District III Class 5A championships.

The team earned the No. 5 seed and will play No. 12 seed Donegal at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21. Harrisburg is the No. 1 seed, followed by Susquehannock, New Oxford and Lampeter-Strasburg. The top 16 make the tourney.

If they win, they will play at Lampeter-Strasburg or play host to Cocalico on Friday, Feb. 24, in the quarterfinals. The Falcon boys missed the tournament by the slightest of margins, finishing 17th. They had 0.590818 rating points to No. 16 Exeter Township’s 0.591132 points.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 09:14

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Middletown girls win three, sparked by two big performances by Jasper

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The Middletown girls basketball team won three games last week, highlighted by a 32-point outburst by senior Bianca Jasper against Trinity on Tuesday, Jan. 31, and a big comeback vs. West Perry on Friday, Feb. 3.

The Blue Raiders defeated Trinity on the road, 65-56, then followed it up with a home win the next night vs. Milton Hershey, 50-46, and then Friday with a 36-33 win over West Perry at home.

They stand at 9-12 on the season, 5-7 in the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division, and they played host to Boiling Springs on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

At Trinity on Jan. 31, freshman Kate Fitzpatrick continued her stellar play, adding 18 points to Jasper’s 32 (a career high, which included three 3-pointers). Makaila Nester had 8 points. 

The Blue Raiders held a modest lead after the first quarter, 10-7, and extended it to 24-16 at the half. The scoring really picked up in the third quarter, as Middletown nearly matched its point total of the entire first half, registering 20 points. However, Trinity scored 17, meaning the Shamrocks still trailed by 11.

The home team outscored Middletown in the fourth quarter, 23-21, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Trinity is now 4-15 overall, 2-9 in the division.

At home vs. Milton Hershey on Wednesday, Feb. 1, it was Fitzpatrick again who stood out, scoring 18 including two 3-pointers in the win. Nester added 16, including 4 3-pointers. Jasper was held to 9 points.

Atiya McDonald had a standout game for Milton Hershey, with 28 points, but no other Spartan player scored in double digits. 

 

The Blue Raiders had a relatively comfortable lead at halftime, 27-20, but the Spartans outscored then 13-7 in the third to cut the lead to a single point. Middletown managed a 16-13 edge in the fourth to hold on for the win.

Milton Hershey is now 10-7 overall and 6-5 in the Capital Division.

Coming off a 9-point outing vs. Milton Hershey, the standout senior Jasper rebounded quite well vs. West Perry on Feb. 3 — which was Senior Night. She scored 19 points to lead all scorers. 

Fitzpatrick added 7 and Jocilyn Koser 5.

Screen Shot 2017 02 08 at 10.12.08 AMJasper is the only senior on the team.

“It felt great to get the win that night,” Jasper said. “We really pulled through at the end to make a good night a great night.”

It was a scoring outburst in the final quarter that led to the win.

The Blue Raiders doubled their score in the fourth, scoring 18 points to overcome a 7-point deficit after three periods.

Middletown scored only 2 points in the second quarter and trailed 15-9 at halftime. West Perry managed a 10-9 edge in the third quarter to increase the lead to 7 at 25-18. But an 18-8 advantage in the fourth quarter led the Blue Raiders to victory.

“Knowing that my high school career is almost over is surreal. It just felt like not too long ago I was a freshman,” Jasper said. “I am glad that I was able to make an impact to the team and the community throughout the years of me being a Blue Raider.”

 

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Jocilyn Koser at the foul line

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2017 10:24

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Raiders’ shot at division title slips away with key losses

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Setting their sights on a Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division championship, the Middletown boys basketball team had the opportunity within reach. 

With key games against Trinity and Milton Hershey in front of them, the Blue Raiders needed to win one of the two to get a possible share of the title and both to claim the top honors. But the hard-working team could not pull off a victory in either contest.

They stand at 17-4 on the season, 9-3 in conference play.  

On Tuesday at home, the Raiders played with heart and toughness but came up short in a 55-50 loss to the visiting Shamrocks. 

Just one night later, Middletown had to face host Milton Hershey while trying to register a much-needed victory. But, that, too, turned out to be a huge disappointment as the Spartans played a fantastic start-to-finish game and ran past the exhausted Raiders in a surprising 90-68 triumph. 

Screen Shot 2017 02 08 at 10.04.29 AMThe Blue Raiders did manage to pick up their 17th win of the season on Friday at West Perry, but the pair of losses dropped the team out of the top spot in the District III power rankings. 

Heading into this week, the Raiders had one regular-season game remaining, at Boiling Springs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7. Following the Mid-Penn tournament, which the Raiders will not be part of, the Middletown team will likely start district play with a home contest on Monday, Feb. 20. They are 4th in the PIAA District III 4A boys rankings. 

 

Trinity 55, Middletown 50

In the season’s first half, Trinity beat the Blue Raiders by 19 points. This time, the improved Middletown team was determined to not let that happen the second time around. 

After falling behind by 8 points at the end of the first quarter, the Raiders outscored the Shamrocks 10-4 in the second and trailed by just two points, 22-20, at halftime. 

But in the third period Trinity ran up 20 points to Middletown’s 10 and appeared to be on its way to another dominating win. The Raiders, however, had other thoughts in mind heading into the final 8 minutes. Their efforts paid off as they picked away at Trinity’s lead and, with 2:43 left in the game, the Raiders had pulled to within five, 50-45. 

From that point on it was a dead heat and, despite the home team’s efforts, the visitors managed to hold the five-point margin. 

Junior Ryan Hughes nearly carried his team to victory, scoring a career-high 33 points, with 26 of them coming in the second half. But it just was not enough. Hughes’ basket with 1:06 left in the second quarter ended the scoring in the first half and made it a two-point game at the break. 

Scoring for the Raiders in the first half was tough to come by as the team made just 9 of 23 shots from the floor. Fortunately the Middletown defense turned in a superb effort, limiting the Shamrocks to just 4 points in the second period. 

After Hughes scored to start the second half, the Shamrocks ran off 7 straight points, 5 by Austin Gilbertson, to earn a 7-point lead. After the Raiders cut Trinity’s lead to just two points, 32-30, on a pair of free throws by Hughes, Trinity closed out the period with a 10-point streak, including six by Jack Bucher, to jump up to a 42-30 advantage to start the final frame. A 12-8 scoring edge that included a pair of treys by Hughes and Chris Plummer in the first half of the fourth quarter made it an 8-point game. Hughes’ three point play cut the gap to five, 50-45, with 2:43 left. 

Another trey by Hughes off a Trinity turnover cut the spread to four, 53-49, with 37 seconds left, but the Shamrocks made two of four free throws in the final 20 seconds to turn back the Raider rally. 

 

Milton Hershey 90, Middletown 68

Despite the strain of having to play the Spartans of Milton Hershey on their home court just one day after the strenuous battle with Trinity, the Raiders played a good first half on Wednesday. But everything went the other way in the second half as the fatigued Middletown team simply could not keep up with the running Spartans. 

The 22-point loss was disheartening for coach Chris Sattele and his troops, who on Jan. 17 had claimed a 74-60 victory over the visiting Spartans.

Five Middletown players scored double figures, but the accumulated points were just not enough to offset the 90 that the Spartans put up. Milton Hershey’s big man Chris Sampson, who was a non-factor in the first matchup, turned in a career night by leading his team with 27 points and a ton of rebounds. The Spartans also had four other players put up double digit points in the win. 

The Blue Raiders got off to a good start by scoring the game’s first 8 points. Tre Leach, Hughes and Luke Mrakovich teamed for that early run. After the Spartans picked up their first points Tyreer Mills drained a triple to give the Raiders an 11-2 lead. But the Spartans outpointed the Raiders 17-8 during the following five minutes of the first quarter, tying the score at 19-19 with 50 seconds left. Leach’s turnaround jumper off an offensive rebound at the buzzer gave the Raiders a 21-19 edge. 

Screen Shot 2017 02 08 at 10.07.45 AMThe two teams battled evenly through the second quarter and the Spartans ended up with a slight scoring edge in the frame on their way to a 43-38 halftime lead. Sampson, with 6 points coming from the foul line, scored 10 of his total in the frame while Leach collected 8 of his 14 to lead the Middletown scoring. 

The deep, talented and athletic Spartans came out running in the second half and scored the first 6 points of the third quarter to expand their lead to 49-38. From that point on the tiring Blue Raiders could not keep up. 

Although a late six-point run by Mrakovich, Plummer and Michael Mattes cut Milton Hershey’s lead to 62-56 in the final minute of the third, the Spartans scored twice to earn a 66-56 lead heading into the fourth quarter. 

From that point on it was a Milton Hershey offensive and defensive show. The Raiders made just 4 of 14 shots from the floor, getting no second looks as the Spartans controlled the boards, and suffered a handful of turnovers in the last 8 minutes. Milton Hershey rang up 24 points in the span while holding the Raiders to 12 and cruised to the win. 

 

Middletown 66, West Perry 46

Following those two grueling games, the Blue Raiders needed a break and pretty much figured they had one coming with a road trip to West Perry. 

The Mustangs, with just 7 wins to their credit, were blitzed by the Raiders 61-35 on Jan. 10, and the Middletown squad was, perhaps, expecting an easy victory. But the Perry County team had other ideas. 

Getting off to a good start against the out-of-focus Middletown squad the Mustangs held a surprising 19-13 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 26-21 edge at halftime. That had the Middletown fans a bit nervous. 

But that all changed after the break. Whatever words of wisdom and direction Sattele gave to his team at halftime paid dividends and the Raiders responded appropriately in the second half. The results were a dominating performance and an eventual 20-point victory. 

Nick Lavenberg and Matt Chiccini teamed for 13 points in the first quarter to lead the Mustangs to the surprising advantage. By taking off-balance shots and turning the ball over four times in the opening frame, the Middletown offense suffered. The defense was not that sharp either and West Perry took advantage by earning the 19-13 lead. Things did not change much in the second stanza, either, and the Middletown shooters made just 3 of 12 shots in the frame. The Raiders did manage to trim one point off West Perry’s lead but trailed by a 26-21 count at intermission. 

The momentum of the game quickly changed at the start of the second half. Hughes led off with a Leach-assisted bucket just 20 seconds in and, following a West Perry goal by Chantz Baum, Mrakovich hit a jumper. Hughes made one of two foul shots at 6:35 and Mills converted a Leach steal into the tying points just 7 seconds later. Following a score by Baum, another steal by Leach led to a tying goal by Plummer. At 4:16 Chiccini’s follow gave West Perry what turned out to be their final lead of the game. 

Mrakovich, Plummer and Hughes made three straight goals for a 36-32 Middletown lead and the Raiders finished up the final three minutes with a 12-2 run that lifted the Blue Raiders to a 48-36 lead to start the fourth quarter. 

In the run, Plummer scored 8 of his game-high 24 points and Mills put back a miss following a steal by Hughes. Plummer hit another triple with 6:50 left in the game to push the Middletown lead to 51-37 and added his fourth of the game three minutes later to kick off an 8-0 run that put the game out of reach at 63-44. A pair of blocked shots by Mattes helped key the streak. 

Kyle Truesdale made one of two free throws with 28 seconds left and then closed out the victory with a layup with one second off a late steal by David Alcock.  

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2017 10:10

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LD, Hershey faculty to square off in hoops to aid Mini-THON

Faculty members from Lower Dauphin High School and Hershey High School will face off on the hardwood on Wednesday, Feb. 15, to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund.

Dubbed the second annual Dunkin’ for Diamonds, the event will he hosted by Lower Dauphin at 7 p.m. 

Admission is $5. All proceeds will benefit the Mini-THON efforts at the two schools.

At last year’s inaugural game 1,104 tickets were sold. When combined with concessions and other fundraising, it brought in $5,569.56 for the Four Diamonds Fund.

Playing for Lower Dauphin will be Aaron Bray, Steff Chortanoff, Kevin Deibler, Clint Fackler, Justin Hanula, Rob Klock, Greg Kratzer, Wade Kurzinger, Dave Machamer, Matt O'Donnell, Scott Payonk, Chad Pellman and Brandon Swords. They will represent “Team Meghan” in honor of high school senior Meghan Johnson, who is battling cancer.

Representing Hershey will be Pete Steelman, Erik Barber, Steve Newell, Mike Gustantino, Mark Painter,  Brian Ferry, Jeff Mackneer, Brendan Hensel, Rob Sterner, Dr. Matt Kirby and John Walizer.

High school Mini-THONs are modeled after Penn State’s THON, just on a smaller scale. Last year, 188 Mini-THONs raised more than $4.3 million for Four Diamonds. 

Four Diamonds Fund supports families of patients at Penn State Children’s Hospital financially and emotionally. 

Since its creation in 1972, Four Diamonds has helped more than 3,400 children and families and supported pediatric cancer research at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

Lower Dauphin’s Mini-THON will be March 17-18. Hershey’s Mini-THON will be March 31-April 1.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2017 10:28

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LD girls extend winning streak to six games

The Lower Dauphin girls basketball team won three more games last week to extend their streak to six.

The Falcons won 28-13 at Mechanicsburg on Tuesday, Jan. 31, then beat Palmyra at home on Friday, Feb. 3, before traveling to Fleetwood for a 45-23 win on Saturday, Feb. 4.

They wrapped up the season at 16-6 overall and 11-3 in the Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division, in a second-place tie with Cedar Cliff one game behind Bishop McDevitt.

In a low-scoring game that seems to suit Lower Dauphin, they held Mechanicsburg to 3 points in the first half.

Amber Schweiger scored 10 and McKenna Lennox had 7. Grace Day added 5. Only four players scored for Mechanicsburg, with none registering more than 5 points.

Against Palmyra, Paulina Malinen poured in 21 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead the way. Lennox added 10 and Day 7.

Schweiger scored 16 vs. Fleetwood and Malinen added 11. The Falcons jumped out to a 14-4 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2017 10:53

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