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Bassett, Heckman advance to Regionals

Undefeated Mustang suffers first loss

Sentinel photo by FRANK DIMON Midd-West’s Avery Bassett tries to turn Muncy’s Ty Nixon during the District 4 2A wrestling tournament, in Williamsport, on Saturday. Bassett defeated Nixon, but fell to Benton’s Nolan Lear.

WILLIAMSPORT–Avery Bassett literally slipped into second place at the District 4 Class 2A wrestling tournament Saturday night and teammate Conner Heckman slid to a fifth place finish. That was the bad news for the senior duo from Snyder County.

The good news is that both Midd-West wrestlers survived and advanced to the Northeast Regional tournament next weekend.

Benton’s Nolan Lear took advantage when Bassett lost his footing at the edge of the mat and pounced on the Mustangs standout for an easy bout-changing takedown that fueled a 3-2 finals victory at 160 pounds.

The loss was Bassett’s first this season after 29 wins and handed him his third consecutive loss in the district finals. He finished third in the tournament his freshman season.

“Avery said he slipped on the mat and that’s what it looked like to me,” said Midd-West coach Dale Franquet. “Lear is a good kid. They’ll wrestle again next week. Lear slowed the pace down when he went down to one knee. That was their game plan and we’ve got to adjust to that. We’ll work on thing’s and Avery will be fine.”

Sentinel photo by FRANK DIMON Midd-West’s Conner Heckman tries to reverse Line Mountain’s Mason Leshock during the District 4 2A wrestling tournament, in Williamsport, on Saturday.

Bassett had been in high gear in his first two matches, pinning Montgoery’s Kaide Drick in just 50 seconds in his opening bout and then storming to a 15-0 technical fall in the second period of his semifinal with Muncy’s Ty Nixon.

It was an up-and-down day for Heckman. He started with an explosion of points in his 16-0 technical fall over North Penn-Liberty’s Patriot June in the pigtail round at 132 pounds. It appeared a reversal that was awarded to Meadowbrook Christian’s Cade Wirnsberger – turning a tenuous 1-0 lead into a 2-1 deficit – might decide their quarterfinals meeting. But after a lengthy discussion between the officials, the two points were waved off and Heckman survived with a 1-0 win.

Heckman had beaten Wirnsberger, 1-0, earlier in the season.

“Conner beat him a couple of weeks ago and did it again today,” Franquet said. “There were a couple of points thrown there (by the official) that I don’t know where they came from.”

Heckman was beaten in the semifinals, 12-8, by Line Mountain’s Mason Leshock, the eventual champion and then was edged by Muncy’s Bryce Vollman, 2-1, in the consolation semifinals. But he captured the final qualifying spot with a second period fall over Jersey Shore’s Liam Godrich.

“Conner loses (in the semifinals) but comes back and gets through and survives to next week and that’s what it’s about,” Franquet said. “He had a good weekend.”

Southern Columbia claimed it’s fourth consecutive team championship, 173.5-106.5, over runner-up Montoursville. The Tigers sent all nine wrestlers to the regional tournament.

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