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MAHS boys basketball team loses title game of Donegal tournament

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

Posted 12/11/19

In the second game of the Donegal High School Tip Off Tournament on Friday night, the Blue Raiders were forced to work hard against the host Indians and finished on solid footing in their 52-46 …

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MAHS boys basketball team loses title game of Donegal tournament


In the second game of the Donegal High School Tip Off Tournament on Friday night, the Blue Raiders were forced to work hard against the host Indians and finished on solid footing in their 52-46 victory.

The win placed the Raiders in the championship game Saturday against Penn Manor, a winner over Palmyra in the opening game of the tourney. But the team could not generate that winning effort in the title game, falling to the Comets 58-49 to finish second in the tourney.

Middletown 52, Donegal 46

With just one scrimmage prior to the season opener, the Middletown team showed signs of trying to establish itself. It was obvious that coach Chris Bradford has a bit of fine tuning to do, but it was also obvious that the team has much more depth and talent than last year when Bradford took the reins of the program and the Raiders won only twice.

As it turned out, the depth and athleticism of this year’s squad keyed the win over a pretty good Donegal team that gave the Raiders all they could handle throughout the game before finally fading in the final four minutes.

Junior Jules Nester scored a game-high 20 points, sophomore Tajae Broadie collected 13 and six others combined for the balance of the scoring in the win. A 15-9 point advantage in the final period made the difference.

Although the Blue Raiders scored just 18 seconds into the game on a goal by T.J. Daniels, the next four-plus minutes were rough for both teams. The long scoring drought was broken by Nester’s short jumper at 3:30. A slick reverse layup by Nester then gave the Raiders a 6-0 lead with 3:02 left.

Donegal’s Joe Haas got the Indians on the scoreboard with a pair of foul shots at 2:48, but Derrick Wall’s tap-in made it an 8-2 game with just more than two minutes left in the opening frame. The Indians came right back, taking advantage of missed opportunities by the Raiders. They ran off the last 7 points of the frame to grab an 11-8 lead at the end of the quarter.

The Blue Raiders came out charging in the second stanza and scored 6 straight points to retake the lead, 14-11. Daniels scored off a blocked shot by Nester to start it. Nester then converted a steal into a breakaway dunk at 6:13 and then turned a Donegal miss into a 14-11 Raider lead 30 seconds later.

Donegal’s Khalil Mosten, who finished the game with 18 points, broke the string at 5:22. But the defensive-minded Raiders dominated play during a three-minute span and scored 11 straight points on their way to a 25-13 lead with 2:27 left. The run started with a Broadie bucket off an assist by Jarrod Pugh and ended with Tymir Jackson’s steal and goal.

Still, the scrappy Indians came right back and closed out the first half with a 10-2 scoring advantage to pull within three, 27-24, at halftime. A trey by Pat Summers with 2 seconds left capped the rally.

The Indians carried that momentum into the second half and tied the game at 27 less than a minute into the third quarter. Marred by turnovers and misses by both teams, the period ended in a 37-37 stalemate.

Just prior, a mad scramble for a loose ball on the floor was settled by Nester, who scored to give the Raiders a 37-35 lead. However, Mosten drained a pair of free throws with 14 ticks left to forge the tie.

The game went back and forth in the early minutes of the final period and the score was locked up at 42 with 6:16 left. Pugh’s putback off a missed Middletown free throw broke the tie with 5:01 left.

From that point on, the athleticism of the Raiders proved to be the difference. With 1:40 left, Tate Leach made one of two foul shots to give the Raiders some breathing room at 48-42.

Jackson made one of two free throws following a basket by Mosten to keep the Raiders ahead and then grabbed a defensive rebound that led to another slick reverse by Nester with 37 ticks left that pretty much sealed it for the Raiders.

Penn Manor 58, Middletown 49

Middletown’s good start to Saturday’s championship game showed some positives for the Blue Raiders, who earned a 6-0 lead at the midway point of the opening period.

Broadie’s foul shot with 6:24 left broke a scoreless deadlock. Omarion Fanus turned his steal into a 3-0 lead and his three-pointer made it 6-0 at the 4:32 mark.

The Comets turned the ball over eight straight times in that span, but the Raiders missed several shots and failed to build on their lead.

Ethan Hine hit a jumper with 3:41 left to break the ice for Penn Manor and, following a pair of missed free throws by the Raiders, the Comets scored five straight points to go ahead, 7-6.

Brock Welsh made one of two foul shots with 19 seconds left to tie the score at 9 heading into the second stanza.

Hampered by 8 turnovers and a number of missed shots, the Raiders were held to just 5 points in period two.

Fortunately, the Comets collected just 7 points themselves and took a slim 16-14 lead into the halftime break.

The scoring picked up on both sides in the third quarter. The Blue Raiders scored 14 points, but the Comets registered 17, including an 8-0 run to start the second half on their way to a 24-14 lead. Broadie made one of two foul shots and Nester converted a steal into a layup to break the string.

In the second half of the third quarter, Derrick Wall, Fanus, Jackson and Nester led a 9-7 scoring edge, but the Raiders still trailed by five, 33-28, to start the fourth period.

The Middletown team could not find any consistency on either end of the court in the final frame and things got a bit ugly in the end. Nester, Broadie and Daniels each fouled out, and the Comets were hot from the charity stripe. In all, 15 of Penn Manor’s 25 fourth-quarter points came from the foul line.

The Raiders made just 6 of 14 free throws, missing out on chances to close the gap. In the last minute, Welsh scored on a putback and Jackson hit his second triple of the period, plus a foul shot, that pulled the Blue Raiders to within six, 54-48.

But the Comets closed with a 4-1 advantage to hold off their opponents and claim the tournament title.

Jackson finished with a game-high 21 points in the loss.