Treys drive Tigers to victory

MIFFLINTOWN – It was a high-flying night for the East Juniata boys basketball team, which connected on a total of 12 triples in its rivalry game against Juniata Tuesday night at Juniata High School.

In the contest, the perimeter was the place to be as the Indians nailed seven of their own from beyond the three-point line.

However, round two of the Juniata County rivalry proved to be much like the first one, concluding with a 78-44 Tiger victory.

David Brantley led all players from beyond the arc, netting five, while teammate Dillon Leonard hit four from downtown. Rounding out the long-distance calling for East Juniata was Nick Lorenz with three.

Lorenz also finished as the game’s high scorer, producing a 24-point effort, while Juniata’s Scott Sneath was next with a 20-point night.

Sneath hit three of his team’s seven 3-pointers while teammates Zack Graybill and Logan Aurand chipped in with two apiece. Sneath was the lone Indian scorer in double figures while East Juniata got 23 from Brantley and 14 from Leonard.

Tigers’ center Bailey Coder finished just shy of double figure scoring, ending the night with eight points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

“It was one of these teams that we often see play zone. We have enough shooters up and down the line up that given enough open looks they are confident enough to hit the open shot,” East Juniata coach Brock Anders said. “We get in the right spots on the floor, like we did tonight, I think we’re very successful from beyond the arc.”

Early on both teams came out firing.

Coder put in the first bucket, picking up a second shot opportunity and putting back.

Back came Juniata as the Indians got the ball to Sneath and he took it hard to the basket.

Leonard picked up his first triple just minutes in the game, giving the Tigers a three-point lead with 5:48 left in the quarter.

On their next possession, the Indians’ Logan Aurand tied the game once more, connecting on the first of his treys.

From there, the East Juniata offense started to sizzle while its defense was stifling. The result was an 18-2 run, highlighted by two more Leonard triples, a Lorenz triple and bucket, four points from Brantley and two from Coder, making it 23-5 at the end of one.

Lorenz kept up the hot hand for the Tigers in the second as Anders started to send different looks on the floor and getting his bench some action.

Besides Lorenz’s seven points, Brantley hit the first of his five triples, upping the lead at the halftime buzzer to 40-18.

Sneath was the only player with at least two baskets for Juniata in the second.

“It was almost like the first time we played against them, ” Juniata coach Nate Geibel said. “We came out and played very strong defense early. They missed some looks, we had some turnovers of our own. Leonard really killed us.

“They hit 12 threes as a team. They came from Leonard, Lorenz and Brantley but it was Brantley and Leonard that hurt us,” he said. “Once the threes were falling and we weren’t getting good looks early on it really kind of took us out of it.”

In the third quarter, Brantley and Lorenz blazed their way to an 18-point quarter. Lorenz tallied eight while Brantley hit two more triples for six points.

Taking a commanding lead into the final stanza, Brantley was at his best hitting two field goals and three triples as he finished the quarter with a 10-point effort.

Juniata didn’t go down without a fight either as Sneath and company got involved in a shootout midway through the frame. When Sneath was taken out of the game, he had tallied a 10-point fourth quarter.

East Juniata (13-3, 8-2) hosts Lancaster Country Day Friday. Juniata travels to Greenwood the same day.