SHAMOKIN - Looking to keep its season alive with a win against No. 2 seed Lewisburg, the East Juniata boys basketball team hardly had time to get comfortable on the court at Shamokin high school Saturday.
The winningest boys basketball team in East Juniata school history was playing in the District 4 Class AA consolation game against Lewisburg to determine which team would be the third representative from the district in the PIAA tourney. Both teams were still smarting from tough losses in the semis.
But unfortunately for the Tigers, the Green Dragons didn't play that way.
From the start, Lewisburg came out like a team that was playing for the championship, and by the time the buzzer sounded at halftime it was all but over as Lewisburg went into the locker rooms up 38-17 and went on to win 71-35.
Besides the score, the Green Dragons also controlled the boards with a 30-13 advantage in the first three quarters.
"Even the guards were grabbing rebounds," Lewisburg coach John Vaji said. "We limited their second chances, which was key."
Defensively, the Lewisburg coach said it was important to contain East Juniata standouts Nick Lorenz and Bailey Coder.
"They've been averaging 35 together," Vaji said.
Lorenz led the Tiger scorers with 15 points, but Coder was limited to seven, something Vaji called a win for his team.
East Juniata had to be heartened when it saw Lewisburg's freshman phenom Sam Allen was not suited up due to an injury suffered at practice.
But the Green Dragons substitute Nicola Costagliola finished with 10, one of four Lewisburg players to finish in double figures.
"The kids took it as a challenge," Vaji said.
In the fourth quarter when it was clear the game was decided, East Juniata coach Brock Anders took seniors Dillon Leonard and Cole Snyder out for the last time to a nice round of applause.
Lewisburg will play Holy Cross, the District 2 champion, next Saturday at a time and place to be determined.
East Juniata ended its record-setting season 19-6.