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Raider boys basketball team earns fifth, sixth victories

By Larry Etter

Press & Journal Staff

Posted 2/5/20

The Middletown boys basketball team picked up its fifth and sixth wins of the season last week to get back on the winning track.

But, on Saturday, the Blue Raiders fell victim to host Gettysburg …

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Raider boys basketball team earns fifth, sixth victories


The Middletown boys basketball team picked up its fifth and sixth wins of the season last week to get back on the winning track.

But, on Saturday, the Blue Raiders fell victim to host Gettysburg in a makeup game rescheduled from Jan. 18.

The victories came against West Perry on Jan. 28 at home and against non-league opponent Pequea Valley on Wednesday, which came as no real surprise.

At Gettysburg on Saturday in what was listed as a YIAA/Mid-Penn Showcase, the Raiders had to face the host Warriors who came into the contest with an unbeaten record. While the Raiders gave a good account of themselves, Gettysburg showed that its unblemished record was for real as they gave the Middletown squad its 13th loss of the year while moving to 21-0.

The Blue Raiders (6-13) were scheduled to host Milton Hershey on Tuesday of this week before closing out the season with away games at Annville-Cleona and Lower Dauphin on Thursday and Friday.

Middletown 53, West Perry 45

The Blue Raiders broke out of a six-game losing streak on Senior Recognition Night with a 53-45 decision over visiting West Perry.

As the season progressed, the Middletown squad’s last victory was against these same Mustangs back on Jan. 3 in Elliotsburg.

The win came following a rough two-week stretch where the Raiders had to face Milton Hershey, Elizabethtown, Steel-High, Camp Hill and Trinity. In the middle of that run was also a disappointing setback to East Pennsboro.

Chris Bradford’s team consists of five seniors (Jarrod Pugh, Ryan Goff, Omarion Fanus, Quintin Miles and Brandon Burgos), and he started all five on Tuesday against the visitors as an honor and thank-you for their contributions.

Fanus got the Raiders on the scoreboard first with a three-pointer off a Pugh assist 30 seconds into the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division contest. After the Mustangs forged ahead 6-3 at 5:16 Pugh scored on a drive to make it a one-point game.

Halfway through the opening period, Bradford began making substitutions and it took some time for the regulars to get into a rhythm. Meanwhile, West Perry’s Jordan Erbacher recorded 11 of his 18 points in the opening frame as the guests built a 15-9 lead.

But Erbacher was shut down in the second stanza, thanks to the tenacious defensive work by Tate Leach. And, although West Perry’s Dante Beddia struck for a trio of threes in the quarter, the Middletown offense got into a scoring groove and put up 16 points to draw within a basket, 27-25, at the halftime break. A key play came right at the end when Tajae Broadie passed to Julian Nester and Nester tossed the ball to Tymir Jackson, who hit a step back trey at the buzzer.

In the third quarter, the teams locked up in a near stalemate with the Blue Raiders earning a 13-12 scoring edge in the frame. Jackson collected 9 of his game high 22 points in the period to lead the home team while the Mustangs picked up a pair of triples from Beddia and Liam Moyer to hold onto the slim lead, 39-38, heading into the final quarter.

At the start of the fourth, the Blue Raiders really locked into what they needed to do and, after opening up the final segment with a 7-0 run, established the needed dominance to rally for the victory.

All 7 of those points came from Jackson who hit a pair of threes off assists from Nester and Leach along with two free throws that gave the Middletown squad a 46-39 lead with 4:41 left.

The Mustangs picked up three points from the foul line to make it a 46-42 game, but Leach drove the lane off a T.J. Daniels assist at 1:16 and Broadie added a free throw with 38 seconds left to push the home team to a 49-42 lead.

Erlacher hit a three with 26 seconds left but Broadie scored on a drive and then sank two foul shots with 7 seconds left to lock up the victory.

Middletown 76, Pequea Valley 48

The Blue Raiders’ road trip to southern Lancaster County turned out to be a good one as the Middletown crew dominated the Pequea Valley Braves in an easy 76-48 triumph on Jan. 29.

The host Braves, who compete in the Lancaster-Lebanon League’s Division 4, came into the game with an overall 5-10 record with their last win coming on Jan. 13 against Berks Christian.

The Braves rely on outside shooting and made 10 threes against the Blue Raider defense. But, because of their long-range attempts, they also miss shots. Such was the case against their Mid-Penn guests on Wednesday and they were outscored by the Middletown team in three of the four quarters played. Tymir Jackson (17) and Jules Nester (15) led the Raiders who also picked up scores from 10 other players in the win.

Nester, who had been in a two-game scoring funk, got right back into his offense early on, scoring on a crowd-pleasing breakaway dunk off a Braves’ turnover to get the show started.

The Braves dropped in a pair of treys from Nevin Stolzfus and Devon Colyer around a goal by Tony Powell to take a 6-4 lead. A pair of free throws by Sean Liney following a triple by T.J. Daniels put the host team up by one, 8-7, with 5:49 left in the opening period. But Pequea Valley would not lead again in the contest. A 9-0 run by the Raiders’ foursome of Broadie, Nester, Daniels and Powell took care of that. A pull-up jumper by Jackson with two seconds left gave the Raiders a 23-13 lead at the end of one.

In the second stanza, Jackson continued his hot streak, scoring 10 of his points in the period as the Raiders put more distance on the scoreboard from the Braves. Nester added 7 and the Middletown defense held the Braves to just 8 points in the span. The 19-8 scoring advantage led the Raiders to a 42-21 lead at halftime and the fun continued into the second half.

The Braves earned a 14-13 edge in the third as the Middletown side cooled off a bit. But, after the Braves had pulled to within 46-33 on a trey by Tony Lazar with 5 minutes left, the Raiders put together a 9-2 run to close out the third with a commanding 55-35 lead.

Pugh and Broadie connected on four straight free throws early in the fourth quarter and the Middletown side picked up points from Brock Welsh, Pugh (who made a great mid-air adjustment in the lane for the basket), Derrick Wall and Fanus to stretch its lead to 68-40 with 4:22 left in the game.

Down the stretch, subs Ryan Goff and Quintin Miles each hit a trey and Miles tapped in a rebound in the final seconds to close out the victory.

Gettysburg 73, Middletown 59

The Warriors, who had locked up the YIAA 2 crown by sweeping through the division, also turned back other non-league teams on their way to a perfect season. As such, the Blue Raiders knew they had their work cut out for them on Saturday. But, buoyed by the two wins earlier in the week, the Middletown team entered the showcase clash confident and poised.

The Raiders got off to a great start, scoring the game’s first 7 points. A drive by T.J. Daniels off a defensive rebound, a triple by Tony Powell off a steal by Tate Leach and bucket in the paint by Tajae Broadie off a Warriors’ miss accounted for the opening run.

From that point on, Gettysburg leaders Charles Warren and Quadir Copeland teamed for 14 points to lead a rally. Teammate Mike Hankey’s triple gave the host team a 17-13 lead at the end of one period.

Early in the second stanza, Broadie made one of two free throws, Powell hit a jumper off a Jules Nester assist and Broadie put back an offensive rebound that eased the Raiders back in front 18-17 with 6:40 left in the half. After the Warriors went back on top 22-18, Nester hit a pair of treys and Daniels drove inside for a bucket to put the Middletown team up 26-22 with 2:21 left.

After the Warriors regained the lead 27-26, Powell drained his third triple of the game for a 29-27 Middletown lead with 50 seconds to go. But Copeland closed out the half with a short jumper to tie the score and the teams went into the halftime break all knotted up at 29-29.

Leach scored early in the third quarter to break the tie, but Warren’s triple gave the hosts a 32-31 edge. Broadie hit a three of his own to put the Raiders back on top 34-32 at 6:28, but the Blue Raiders went scoreless over the next two minutes, which turned out to be a pivotal point of the game.

The Warriors cashed in on the slump by scoring the next 9 points on their way to a 41-34 lead. The Middletown offense got back on track, but some significant damage had been done and the third period ended with the host team ahead 49-40.

In the fourth quarter, Warren and Copleland proved their value to Gettysburg’s success as they teamed for 15 points in the frame to lead the Warriors to the win. Leach, Nester, Daniels, Powell and Broadie scored a combined 19 points for the Raiders in the final 8 minutes but a pair of threes by Hankey and Taysean Foster and a bucket by Zach Ketterman complimented the scoring of Copeland and Warren as the hosts held their guests at bay to close out the Warriors’ win.