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High School Boys' Basketball
PIAA District 3 Class AA Consolation Game
Upper Dauphin Area 69, Lancaster Mennonite 68, O.T.

Trojans defeat Blazers
to get to state Tourney
By Garrett Derr, CONTRIBUTING WRITER



UDA’s Matthew Miller, is struck on the elbow by Lancaster Mennonite’s Carter Hurst. (Sentinel photo by Ron Schmick)

HARRISBURG • Upper Dauphin Area overcame a slow start to prevail again Lancaster Mennonite on Matthew Miller’s buzzerbeater in overtime, winning 69-68 to earn a third-seed in next weekend’s PIAA Class AA state tournament.

The Trojans face District 12-AA runner-up Conwell Egan at Philadelphia University at 5 p.m., Saturday, March 5.

After their semifinal loss, the Trojans would not go down easy, despite falling behind in the opening quarter. The Blazers got out to an early lead thanks to sharp shooting from Nathaniel Jean-Philippe and Richard Rosas. Carter Hurst also knocked down an early jumper for Lancaster Mennonite.

Matthew Miller would respond for UDA with two buckets on consecutive trips up the floor. Jordan Gessner created a turnover and found Miller for his third straight score, and just like that, the Trojans were back in the thick of things.

Jean-Philippe would put the Blazers ahead before the end of the opening quarter, but the Trojans were knocking on the door. The Blazers led 17-13 after the opening eight minutes, but Miller wasn’t cooling off anytime soon. Gessner zipped past Blazer defenders and continued to feed the hot hand.

When Lancaster Mennonite collapsed on Miller, Gessner was able to knock down open looks. Maxwell Snyder and Travis Deitrich tightened things up on the defensive end of the floor. Still, the balanced Blazer attack gave the Trojans some trouble as they were not able to close the distance on just one scorer.

At intermission, UDA trailed by just two possessions, 33-29.

Things would rapidly change in the third quarter. In their semifinal matchup against Camp Hill, the Trojans mustered up just one third quarter point. Head Coach Anthony Weaver stressed the importance of finishing strong in the second half, and the Trojans did just that.

Miller caught more heat in the third, and Gessner joined in on the UDA scoring affair. The Trojans saw their four-point deficit become a four-point lead in the blink of an eye.

The Blazers had no answer for Miller, who was knocking down every open look. When Lancaster favored Miller on defense, Gessner would pop in an easy jumper.

The Trojans would go on to outscore the Blazers 19-9 in the third frame, but with one quarter left to play, Lancaster Mennonite would respond. The Blazers needed six points to force overtime in the final eight minutes of action, and they got just that.

Rosas and Hurst sank in consecutive jumpers and Jean-Philippe continued his dominant play. With time winding down, the Trojans maintained a one possession lead, but with seconds remaining, Timmy Stefanosky would answer in a big way. Jean-Philppe’s game-tying bucket went off the glass, but Stefanosky was there for the put-back to force overtime.

In overtime, the Blazers maintained a narrow lead, but that would all change with seconds remaining. This time the Trojans would get the last laugh. As time expired off the overtime clock, Miller dropped in a short-range jumper as the crowd erupted.

Miller’s game-winning basket helped give the senior a game-high 34 points. He also went six-for-six  from the charity stripe on the night.

“I didn’t feel great about the shot,” Miller said. “But you can describe the feeling when you see the ball go through the hoop in a game like that. That’s why you play the game.”

Gessner knocked down 18 points and was superior on both ends of the floor.

For the Blazers, Jean-Philippe scored a team-high 18 points, while Hurst and Rosas each contributed 17 in a losing effort.

The win pushed the Trojans to 23-4 on the year, heading into March 5.

DISTRICT 3-AA SEMIFINAL

Camp Hill 71, UDA 49, Feb. 24. The Trojans saw their 18-game winning streak brought to a screeching halt at the hands of the top-seeded Lions at the Giant Center, Hershey.

Moments before the teams took the floor,  the arena lights flickered and the game horn started to malfunction. The wild weather outside seemed fitting for a wild back-and-forth contest.

With help from Jordan Gessner, the Trojans were able to jump out to an early lead. The Lions’ Casey Caruso answered Gessner’s bucket with one of his own. Zach Kuntz knocked down a jumper, but Matthew Miller, the Trojan’s leading scorer, was there to answer.

The Trojans also started to buckle down on the defensive end of the floor, forcing Camp Hill into traps and difficult looks from the field. Calen Reigner and Alex Uhler led UDA’s strong defensive attack. Gessner and Miller continued to flow on the offensive end of the floor, and after just eight minutes of play, the Trojans led the Lions 16-15.

The second quarter nearly mimicked the opening frame, as both teams traded buckets without compromising a serious deficit. Caruso was creating open looks and knocking down mid-range jumpers for the Lions. Gessner dropped in a 10-footer and Reigner sank in a bucket in the paint to push the Trojans back ahead.

The jitters appeared to be evident as neither team was able to establish dominant position on offense. When one offense would get in a flow, the opposing offense was there to even the tides. The Trojans and Lions would split the second set of eight minutes, as each team cashed in 14 points before the break, with UDA up by a point.

The Lions would fire back early after intermission. A combination of cold shooting and superior Camp Hill defense forced the Trojans into their worst quarter of the season, scoring only one point. A team that rarely struggled to put points on the board all year was desperately searching for a field goal.

The Lions took advantage of the Trojan drought as Caruso continued to shine. David Fetrow joined Caruso in the scorebooks with a jumper and Mark Leach cashed in two free throws for the Lions. What was once a one-point Trojan lead quickly became a Lions double-digit lead.

While the Trojans struggled immensely, Kuntz took charge for the Lions, pulling in 16 rebounds and denying seven Trojan shots over the course of the evening. The Lions forced the Trojans to take perimeter looks and were successful because of it.

UDA saw its lead evaporate and now trailed 31-48 entering the fourth and final quarter. While the Trojans would eventually end their dry spell, they were not able to overcome that damaging third quarter. Anthony Weaver’s ball club would pour in 18 fourth quarter points, but it wasn’t enough to rally on the Lions.

Gessner scored a team-high 14 points for Upper Dauphin. Reigner (11) and Miller (10) also cracked double figures.

For Camp Hill, Caruso scored a game-high 20 points, while Kuntz (12) and Fetrow(10) combined for 22 points.

 



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