Clark 3-pointer wins it for Juniata

NEWPORT – Juniata freshman guard Tyler Clark drained the go-ahead 3-pointer with 38 seconds left to complete a 13-point comeback that lifted the Indians over Newport 46-42 in a Tri-Valley League boys basketball game Tuesday.

“He has a lot of confidence,” Juniata coach Al Ream said. “What’s happened is that our kids are getting more and more confident as we play. He’s been starting the whole year for me. I have a lot of confidence in him. The kids have a lot of confidence in him. He knew that he had it tonight and he wanted the ball.”

Clark also gathered the rebound on the ensuing Newport possession and iced the game with two free throws with 9.2 seconds left, giving him a team-high 13 points.

Juniata trailed 30-18 with 6:44 to play in the third quarter when the Juniata coached called a timeout.

Ream told his team to play with fire, and led by its most experienced player, Logan Knepp, they did exactly that.

“When I chewed them out a little during the timeout, he responded,” Ream said of Knepp. “He’s the kid that starting to respond and be the leader out there on the floor with the energy. That’s what we’ve got to have.”

Knepp drove on the first possession out of the timeout and scored to make it 30-20 Newport.

The Buffaloes answered with a 3-pointer to give Newport its largest lead of the night at 33-20.

Knepp answered with another jumper and after a Juniata steal, another free throw.

Josh Parson, who kept the Indians afloat with six first-half points while Knepp was plagued with foul trouble, hit a jumper to make it 33-25 Newport.

The teams traded buckets to end the quarter with Newport holding the eight point lead at 35-27.

Knepp hauled in a rebound on the Buffaloes next possession and Justin Mingle drove and was fouled, sinking both free throws to cut it to six points.

After an offensive rebound of his own miss, Knepp drew Juniata to within four at 35-31.

Kyle Kolmansberger made a three for Newport to stretch it to 38-31.

Clark answered with a three to cut it back to four.

After Mingle got a steal and split free throws, Kolmansburger responded with a jumper to make it 40-35 with 4:15 left in the game.

Juniata then scored 11 of the game’s final 13 points over the following four minutes including a closing 9-0 run.

After suffering a 74-72 double-overtime loss to undefeated and Tri-Valley League leader, rival East Juniata, the Indians learned a lot about themselves and built confidence in late game situations.

“That helped us here with confidence,” Ream said. “We grew up as a team there. We grew up again tonight when we were down and we had to come back in the fourth quarter. We made things happen and took it away from them. They were a little nervous, a little tight when we switched things up on them a little bit.”

Mingle started it off with a drive then Newport scored its final points of the game to stretch it back to 42-37.

Thanks to a very effective full-court press, Aaron Zendt got a steal and was fouled, draining both the free throws.

Parson added a tip-in with 2:00 left to draw Juniata to within one at 42-41.

Knepp pulled down a rebound with 1:06 left but the Indians then turned the ball over.

After generating a steal, Clark was set up for the game-winning three with 38 seconds left.

Clark then nailed the two free throws to put Juniata up four with 9.2 seconds to play and conclude the 19-point fourth quarter.

Parson rebounded the ensuing Newport miss and the clock expired to end the game.

Juniata (9-8, 6-7 TVL) will welcome in Upper Dauphin on Thursday.

“We want to improve as the season goes along,” Ream said. “This group started out so young (two freshman, two sophomores start). We took our lumps early and now were able to deal with those pressure situations and make those decisions down the stretch that help us win games at the end.”