Tigers turn tide in second half, top Juniata

COCOLAMUS – What started out looking like another nail biter between the Juniata Indians boys basketball team and East Juniata drastically turned in the second half as the Tigers offense exploded for 52 second-half points, tiring the Indians and leading to the 91-56 win for the Tigers.

Four of the five East Juniata starters finished in double digits. Leading the way for the Tigers was co-captain Nick Lorenz, who netted a game-high 33 points while East Juniata’s other co-captain Bailey Coder netted 18.

Coder was strong on the boards as well, finishing with over 10 rebounds and five blocks.

Lorenz was clutch from beyond the arc, lofting four triples in the contest en route to the victory.

Teammate David Brantley also was a force offensively, finishing with an 18-point effort of his own. Brantley also hit two triples to spark the offense.

Rounding out the double-digit scorers was Jake Sankey, who finished with 10 points.

“I think this reflects back to our halftime discussion,” East Juniata coach Brock Anders said. “I think I have some excellent leaders in my locker room. I think our guys took that first-half performance to heart and they didn’t play defense as well as I coached them and they took that as a challenge and came out in the second half and played the style of basketball we have been developing for years.”

Offensively, the Juniata offense also had four players in double figures as Logan Knepp paced the Indians with 15 points to go with his three treys.

Justin Mingle was next in the scoring column with 12 points while Josh Parson and Tyler Clark rounded out the double-digit scorers with an 11-point and 10-point effort, respectively.

“We came out and talked about what we were going to do. We came out and did what we had to do in the first half. In the second half, their senior took over the game. I was proud of my kids the way they fought,” Juniata coach Al Ream said. “They didn’t give in. They (East Juniata) have a good ball club. They are a classy team.”

In the first half, the Indians’ offense was able to keep up with the 4-0 East Juniata team, trailing only by four at the intermission, 39-34.

Coming out of the second half, Juniata opened with a jumper by Mingle, cutting the lead to two before the Tigers’ offense exploded.

Brantley led an East Juniata 13-0 run that caught the Juniata defense off guard, expanding what was a two-point lead to a 15-point lead in a matter of minutes. In the run, Brantley scored five and Lorenz chipped in four.

With 5:15 left in the third, East Juniata upped its lead to 52-37 before Jubal Baker and Clark hit two consecutive baskets for the Indians to cut the lead to 11.

However, the Tigers started to sizzle from the field once again, taking a 64-46 lead into the final stanza.

Things didn’t go much better for Juniata in the fourth as East Juniata and its bench all started to get into the scoring action, outpacing the Indians 27-10 in the period, making it a 91-56 contest.

In the junior varsity contest, the Tigers came back in the final minutes to pull out a 38-34 victory.

Juniata will host Line Mountain Monday, while the Tigers will host Halifax the same day.