Tigers hit early 3s in 62-48 win

COCOLAMUS – It was raining threes early for East Juniata Monday night.

The Tigers (6-0, 4-0 TVL) used seven 3-pointers, including three from Nick Lorenz, to drop Halifax 62-48 in a Tri-Valley League boys basketball game at East Juniata High School.

“I think that’s what they were giving us,” East Juniata coach Brock Anders said. “They were trying to pack in a little bit of a zone and relegating us to the perimeter a little bit. Early on we were able to knock down a lot of those shots.”

East Juniata started furiously, as has been customary at home this season

This one was highlighted by four threes of its seven threes in the opening stanza.

Chas Maguire started the barrage with a 3-pointer to open up the game just 18 seconds in and Bailey Coder’s jumper made it 5-0 in the blink of an eye.

Lorenz scored eight straight of his team-high 27 points for East Juniata, culminating a final three of the quarter to give his team a 19-5 advantage after one quarter.

Dan Osenbach seemingly came out of nowhere for Halifax to score nine straight Wildcats points over a two-and-a-half minute stretch to open the second quarter, including a three.

Part of Osenbach’s production was a result of David Brantley’s lock-down defense on Halifax leading scorer Koby Bowman.

“I think David’s ability is that he’s very agile and quick,” Anders said. “He’s relentless on the ball-handler and keeping him from getting to the spots on the floor that he wants to. We knew coming into the game that Bowman was going to be tough. I thought David did a whale of a job tonight keeping him under control.”

Jake Sankey answered for East Juniata with a trifecta to put the Tigers up 22-8 with 7:05 to play in the quarter.

Osenbach answered with four more of those nine points to cut into the Tigers’ lead.

Coder split two free throws and Osenbach answered with his final basket of his run to cut the lead back to nine points with 5:29 to go in the quarter.

Lorenz scored four of the following five East Juniata points to put the Tigers up 28-18 with 1:10 to go in the quarter.

Hunter Hilinski drained two free throws and then an open 3-pointer to make it 28-21, the Tigers’ smallest lead since 11-4 with 3:23 to go in the first quarter.

Brantley made another three with time winding down in the half to give East Juniata a 31-21 lead going into the half.

Just like the first, East Juniata came out to start the second half like it was shot out of a cannon.

Lorenz and Sankey accounted for the first 11 East Juniata points of the third quarter.

A transition drive from Lorenz with five minutes to go in the quarter stretched the lead back to 15 at 38-23.

“I think Nick understood the importance of the second half,” Anders said. “Especially with how the first half ended, we wanted to come out with a quick start.”

Halifax only made three field goals in the quarter and saw the deficit expand to 21 points with a minute left in the quarter.

Bowman’s layup as time expired in the third made it 49-30 heading to the final quarter.

The final frame was a parade to the free throw line with both teams making nine freebies.

With the game under control, East Juniata subbed in all of its reserves and came away with the 62-48 victory.

Halifax took the junior varsity game, 65-34.

East Juniata will enjoy a holiday break before traveling to Greenwood at 7:30 p.m. on January 3.

“We understand the big task that’s in front of us after the new year,” Anders said. “The guys have to bring a mental edge to practice every time we go out on the court in the next couple of days. We have a couple days to rest and get our legs back (after four games in six days) and get ready for what’s ahead of us.”