Lions run away from Thunder

Graybill leads JMS to win with 25 points

Sentinel photo by MATT STRICKER
Juniata Mennonite’s Jay Graybill, center, attempts a shot between Belleville Mennonite defenders Durrell Yoder, left, Ben Aungst and Frank Pannizzo, right, Monday in Belleville.

BELLEVILLE — Belleville Mennonite pulled to within one point midway through the third quarter, but that was the closest they’d get in cutting into Juniata Mennonite’s second-half lead in a 49-38 loss in a non-league boys basketball game, Monday night.

The Thunder, led by Durrell Yoder, began the second half on a 7-2 run. Yoder scored six of those points and helped the Thunder pull within one.

That’s when Jay Graybill took over the game.

Graybill led the Lions to a 14-0 run, scoring the first 12 points. He nearly had all 14 points as the Lions were killing time in the final minute with Trey Tusing above the key for 50 seconds. Tusing found Graybill whose shot ricocheted off the rim. Luke Sheaffer rebounded and put the finishing touches to close out the quarter with a 41-26 lead.

“He’s such a tough kid and such a competitor. You can just tell by his poise,” Belleville Mennonite coach John Pannizzo said of Graybill. “He just made the plays that had to be made.”

Graybill finished with a game-high 25 points for the Lions.

“Jay’s always been like that except these guys are a little smaller and can’t jump like some of the other teams can,” Juniata Mennonite coach Dennis Zimmerman said. “Jay saw his opportunity and he’s been like that all season. It’s just tonight, he was able to finish off a lot of his shots.”

Both teams had to take the good with the bad they struggled mightily at the free-throw line going a combined 22-for-51. The Lions made 13-of-25 at the line while the Thunder finished 9-for-26.

They also failed to box out on numerous occasions allowing missed free throws to be turned into some easy points.

Zimmerman knew the difference in the game came when the clock kept going and let it creep into the minds of the Thunder some.

“Near the end, they started putting pressure on themselves,” he said. “I knew they were going to have to shoot from the outside. They’re not a great shooting team. Our guys’ job was to keep the ball out of the middle and once we took that away, that changed the game a bit.”

The Lions had height on their side and often benefited from that, coming up with a vast majority of the rebounds on both sides of the court, but they got away from what was working late.

“At the end, we began to fail boxing them out and that allowed them to take some extra shots,” Zimmerman said. “We just have to keep playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played and we did enough of that tonight.”

The mistakes didn’t come back to hurt the Lions, but it did allow the Thunder to put together their best quarter, matching their performance from the opening frame, with 12 points.

Six different players scored a point for the Thunder in the final eight minutes with Yoder hitting the game’s only 3-pointer.

Yoder wound up finishing with a team-high 14 points for Belleville Mennonite, much of it coming when he didn’t have to think about opening up the passing game. He also had a pair of coast-to-coast layups.

As for the Lions, Tusing finished with 12 points and Sheaffer had another 11 to give the team three players with double-digit scoring performances in the team’s final game of the year.

Juniata Mennonite finished the year 2-14.

Belleville Mennonite (0-19) will look to avoid it’s second consecutive winless season when it takes on Grace Prep tonight.

Juniata Mennonite 49, Belleville Mennonite 38


Trey Tusing 4 4-15 12, Luke Sheaffer 2 5-11 11, Jay Graybill 11 3-7 25, Nevin Yorks 0 1-2 1. Totals: 17 13-25 49.

Did not score: Shintaro Ichikawa, Anson Portzline, Jared Fuller.


Jared Flood 2 1-2 5, Ben Aungst 2 0-0 4, Durell Yoder 5 3-4 14, David Yoder 2 2-3 6, Frankie Pannizzo 2 2-4 6, Scott Hertzog 1 1-11 3, Lucas Seeley 0 0-2 0. Totals: 14 9-26 38.

Score by quarters

Juniata Mennonite 14-11-16-8 — 49

Belleville Mennonite 12-7-7-12 — 38