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Trio of Mustangs heading to Hershey

Bassett wins region title

Sentinel photo by FRANK DIMON
Midd-West’s Avery Bassett controls Mifflinburg’s Clayton Reed Saturday in Williamsport.

WILLIAMSPORT — Moments after he climbed down off the top step of the podium at Williamsport High School’s Magic Dome Saturday evening, Avery Bassett reluctantly admitted that he had put together a really good tournament.

“I guess it was a pretty good weekend,” Bassett said.

Indeed, it was.

The Midd-West sophomore breezed through the 138-pound bracket of the Class 2A Northeast Regional wrestling tournament and earned his second trip to the state tournament, which begins Thursday morning at Giant Center in Hershey.

Seniors Kameron Kline and Owen Zechman also will make the trip with Bassett. Kline finished as the runner-up at 145 and Zechman settled for the fourth place spot at 285.

Aiden Steininger (120), Josh Rodriquez (160) and Trey Lauver (195) saw their seasons end at the regional tournament.

Midd-West finished fourth in the team standings with 69 points, just behind runner-up Muncy (72.5) and Montoursville (72). Southern Columbia dominated the tournament with 193.5 points and has nine wrestlers moving on to the state tournament.

After getting a 16-second fall in his quarterfinal bout Friday night, Bassett never slowed down on Saturday. He blanked Hughesville’s Luke Gorg, a two-time state qualifier, with a 6-0 decision in the semifinals. That victory sent him to the finals against Mifflinburg’s Clayton Reed, an opponent he had already beaten twice this season, 4-0 and 6-0.

“I didn’t really have a game plan for Reed,” Bassett said. “I just knew I had to stay on my offense the whole time. I wanted to get on top because I thought that I could turn him.”

After a scoreless first period, Bassett reversed the Mifflinburg junior and turned him with a half-Nelson for a 5-0 lead. He went back to the same move near the end of the period and pinned Reed in 3:46.

“It’s really exciting to get back to Hershey,” Bassett said. “Last year, obviously, I came up short but that’s not going to happen this time. I want to build upon my experience down there.”

After a fourth place finish at the regional tournament as a freshman Bassett went 2-2 at 126 pounds in Hershey.

Bassett will face the winner of the preliminary bout between Kenneth Duschek of Freedom and Thomas Spirk of Saucon Valley Thursday morning.

Kline dominated Nate Snyder of Central Columbia in the semifinals, getting a 9-1 major decision, but he couldn’t handle Southern Columbia’s standout freshman Gavin Garcia. Garcia, who pinned Kline in the finals of the South Sectional tournament. Garcia won a 13-3 major decision this time.

Kline will face John Rocco Kazalas of Quaker Valley in his first bout in Hershey. Kazalas is the Southwest Regional third-place finisher.

Zechman was pinned by Southern’s Lear Quinton in the first period of their semifinal. He clinched his spot in Hershey with a 5-1 decision over Western Wayne’s Jack McAlister in the consolation semifinals but forfeit his consolation final to Wyalusing’s Randy Wildrick.

Zechman will wrestle Riley Kemper of Burgettstown in a preliminary bout Thursday morning. Kemper is a junior who finished fifth in the Southwest Regional tournament.

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