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High School Boys' Basketball -
Tri-Valley League Championship
Upper Dauphin Area 64, Millersburg 39
Trojans win Tri-Valley League Title
By Garrett Derr, CONTRIBUTING WRITER 


Upper Dauphin Area's Travis Deitrich makes the basket as he is surrounded by Millersburg's Christian Keiter, Chrisstian Wingard and Paeton Warfel. (Sentinel photo by Ron Schmick)

NEWPORT • It was the fourth meeting of the 2015-16 season for Millersburg and Upper Dauphin Area, this time for the Tri-Valley League championship.

The Trojans won the first three matchups, with the Tribe, and the fourth would be no different, as UDA  dominated the Feb. 13 contest for a 64-39 win and its second-straight TVL title.

The Trojans hit the ground running in the opening quarter, thanks to stellar play from Jordan Gessner. UDA’s team captain made his way into the paint for high-percentage buckets early on to set the pace for his teammates.

When the Indians collapsed on Gessner, he kicked the ball out to an open shooter. The Tribe’s defense struggled to stop UDA’s sharp shooting. Even three first-quarter timeouts couldn’t slow Gessner and company and after just one quarter of play, the Trojans were up 19-1.

A combination of cold shooting and UDA’s zone defense caused trouble for the Indian offense. Forced to take shots beyond the perimeter and outside of the paint, the Indians failed to put together a string of buckets. Instead, it was the Trojans who continued to put the ball through the hoop in the second quarter.

Matthew Miller knocked down back-to-back jumpers and Travis Deitrich got in on the scoring affair as well. Alex Uhler, who poured in 24 points in the semi-final matchup against Newport, brought the heat on defense. Maxwell Snyder and Gessner forced a turnover which ended in another Miller bucket.

At the break, the Trojans led 37-9, but the Indians would not go away. In the third quarter, Todd Wingard’s club finally found some rhythm.

Christian Wingard and Paeton Warfel ended the scoring drought with buckets on consecutive trips up the floor. Warfel made his way to the charity stripe for two more points for the Tribe, and Wingard followed it up with another field goal. Christian Keiter grabbed an offensive rebound and found Wingard for another bucket.

Just like that, the Indians were beginning to steal the momentum from the Trojans, but when the third quarter came to a close – despite winning the third frame 21-14 – the Indians still trailed on the scoreboard, 30-51. While the Indians never threw in the towel, the Trojans’ early dominance proved to be the game-changer when all was said and done.

UDA would steal back the momentum in the fourth and final quarter and began to take time off the clock. When the final buzzer rang, it was the Trojans who would retain the TVL crown.

Miller led all scorers with 20 points, while Gessner chipped in with 17 points. It was Gessner’s stellar play on the defensive end of the floor that would be the difference maker for his team.

“When we’re playing our best, there are not many teams that can stop us,” Gessner said. ‘‘It’s hard to stop us when we are able to get in a flow. Congratulations to Millersburg on a great regular season.”

Wingard and Warfel each scored 11 points apiece, while Matt Snyder chipped in with 10 points.

Both local teams earned byes for the opening round of the District 3 playoffs.

With the win, the fourth-seeded Trojans host fifth-seeded Hanover Saturday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in a D3-AA quarterfinal game.

The Indians are second-seeded in D3-A and host a quarterfinal Friday, Feb. 19, also at 7 p.m. The Tribe will meet the winner of the High Point Baptist and Greenwood contest Feb. 16.

TVL SEMIFINALS

UDA 82, Newport 74 (OT), Feb. 11. It took a total team effort for the Trojans to escape from Foster Gymnasium with a narrow overtime victory over the Buffaloes in one of the two TVL semifinal contests.

Anthony Weaver’s ball club entered having won 15 consecutive games, while Newport was catching heat with four straight of its own.

The Trojans rolled through the Buffaloes with ease in the opening quarter, outscoring their opponent 27-15. The Newport defense had no answer for Matthew Miller and Jordan Gessner, who drove and dished all evening long.

When the Buffaloes attempted to take away the Trojans’ two leading scorers, it was Alex Uhler who stole the show. Uhler went on fire early on and continued his hot hand throughout the evening. Gessner continued to feed Uhler and the Trojans were off and running.

It appeared, however, that the break in action after the first quarter would slow the Trojans down. Newport bounced back with the help of Trevan Dorman and Eli Amengual. UDA abandoned its strong defense in the second, allowing 24 points. Uhler and Miller responded with back-to-back buckets, but it was Dorman who knocked down another short-range jumper.

When action reached intermission, the Trojans held a 45-39 lead, but the Buffaloes were anything but down and out. The high tempo offense began to slow in the third quarter, but the defensive efforts were alive and well.

Gessner forced a turnover and found Uhler for another bucket. On the next trip down the floor, Dorman answered with a bucket of his own. The back-and-forth battle brought the best out of both teams, as the a ticket to the TVL championship was just eight minutes away.

The Buffaloes stole the third quarter, 15-13, and needed to outscore the Trojans by four points in the final frame to force overtime. With two field goals and a pair of foul shots from Dorman, the Newport offense did just that. The Trojans appeared frazzled as they watched their double-digit lead after one quarter evaporate.

Gessner got the Trojans back in the lead by finding Miller for a high-percentage bucket. Travis Deitrich and Maxwell Snyder forced a turnover on the next trip down the floor, and Uhler extended the Trojans lead. UDA would never look back as they outscored the Buffaloes 10-2 in the overtime period.

Gessner cashed in on a career night with 16 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists.

“Gessner has been huge for us all year long,’’ Weaver said over the  game. “He’s grown so much as a player over the years. He’s the guy we want to have the ball when its crunch time.’’

Uhler led the Trojans with 24 points, including 11 field goals. Miller (13), Deitrich (11), and Snyder (10) all cracked double digits for the Trojan offense.

Dorman scored a season-high 31 points for the Buffaloes in a losing effort.

Millersburg 60, Juniata 59 (OT), Feb. 11. In yet another semifinal thriller that went past the regulation time, the East Division runner-up held off the West Division champion by one point in a game played on Juniata’s home court.

The Indians rolled through the opening quarter, but it was Juniata who battled back to nearly even the tides in the second frame.

Millersburg led 22-21 at the half, and things were about to get interesting. Juniata stormed out in the third frame, scoring a game-high 19 points during the eight-minute stretch.

Christian Wingard and Christian Keiter pulled the team together in the final quarter, rallying to tie the game and force overtime. In a back-and-forth battle in overtime, it was Millersburg who would prevail with help from Wingard and Paeton Warfel, as Todd Wingard’s team punched its ticket for a fourth encounter with UDA.

Keiter eclipsed the 1,000 point mark with 15 points. Wingard had a team-high 16 points, while Warfel (14) and Matt Snyder (10) combined for 24 more.



  

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