COCOLAMUS - This fall on the soccer field, East Juniata's 6-foot-plus Bailey Coder was sometimes referred to as one of the twin towers in the backfield along with teammate Spencer Reinford.
On the basketball court, Coder takes the floor without Reinford, but he doesn't do too bad as a single tower.
This was very evident Thursday, when Coder's game-high 22 points helped lead the Tigers to a 74-26 win over Belleville Mennonite during the first round of the Juniata County Christmas Tournament.
As usual, Coder couldn't have done it without teammate Nick Lorenz - coincidentally, another standout soccer player - who not only had 20 points of his own, but who was one of the main contributors in assists for Coder's buckets.
"They've played together for a long time and they obviously make great plays on the basketball court," East Juniata coach Brock Anders said of the duo. "They share the ball well with each other, and it makes mismatches of teams we play against."
To call it a mismatch is more than a bit of an understatement against one of the smallest teams the Tigers will see this winter.
East Juniata outscored the Trojans by no less than seven points each quarters, and although in the fourth the Tigers shutout the Trojans 22-0, the most important quarter to the overall outcome of the game was the second, in which East Juniata increased its lead from 16-9 to 38-19. In this second quarter, Coder scored 10 of his points, and Lorenz hit six.
On Belleville Mennonite's side, the second quarter was when Austin Byler, who led his team with 15, hit for eight of those.
Belleville Mennonite coach Doug Snook said it was a combination of the Tigers' superior experience and roster size - East Juniata allowed just three of Belleville Mennonite's eight players to score - that resulted in the lopsided outcome. But even more than these two factors, Snook identified East Juniata's defense as his team's Achilles heel.
"They played great defense," Snook said. "That seemed to be how they scored their points. They scored a lot off of their defense."
From East Juniata's end, Anders was glad to see that although Coder and Lorenz had the majority of the team's points, many other players stepped up to make offensive contributions.
Including Coder and Lorenz, 10 of East Juniata's 13 players scored. Of these 10 scorers, Dillon Leonard and Anthony Finkbiner had the team's only two 3-point goals.
Byler had three 3-point goals for Belleville Mennonite.
"The boys played hard they played a very hard game. But they played against a team that is very good," Snook said.
Belleville Mennonite (2-4) faces Juniata at 2:30 p.m. today in the consolation game of the tournament. East Juniata (7-1) will take on Midd-West at 5:30 p.m. today for the tournament championship.