White, O’Donell lead Indians to win over Trojans
MIFFLINTOWN — The Indians style of aggressive, hard-nosed basketball has served them well this season and Juniata showed what it is capable of when everything is rolling as the Indians dealt a pesky Upper Dauphin team a 42-27 loss in a Tri-Valley League boys basketball game on Wednesday night at Juniata.
Jace White and Emmanuel O’Donell both had double-doubles for Juniata as White led the Indians with 12 points and added 10 boards while O’Donell had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
O’Donell showcased his prowess on the defensive side of the ball, swatting away shots with ease and his rim-rattling dunk in transition put an exclamation point on the Indians (10-3, 8-3 TVL) victory.
“He played very well, he leaps very well, and he played within himself,” Juniata coach Al Ream said of O’Donell. “He played controlled and when they brought their big kid in, he got him off balance a couple times when he jumped with the head-fake instead of staying on the floor. He’s learning those things as we go but I think he played very well tonight.”
Juniata’s victory on Wednesday night avenged a 55-51 loss to the Trojans on Feb. 4 at Upper Dauphin (6-6, 5-3 TVL).
“We played them tough down there, we lost to them in overtime. We knew that we could play with them it was just a matter of can we play tough enough and physical enough to be successful,” Ream said. “I think my kids played very well tonight; I think our team played very well. We handle the pressure when it came, and we went to the free-throw line and knocked some shots down in the fourth quarter.”
“Got to give my kids credit,” Ream continued. “They came out, they were fired up, they wanted to play this team, they wanted to win, and they just gave it all they had.”
The Indians came out strong in the opening quarter of the game and quickly got out on a 7-0 run. Upper Dauphin looked to attack from beyond the arc but struggled to convert on its chances. The Trojans managed to only score two points in opening quarter, but Upper Dauphin took its turn to start the second quarter on a 5-0 run of its own.
Some early turnovers in the second allowed the Trojans to close in the gap. Once the Indians got settled down, the powered their way to an 18-13 lead at the half.
“I think (Upper Dauphin) started to pick it up when they switched to a 1-3-1 and we haven’t had time to practice so we worked on that earlier in the season, but it took us a couple of times down, and a little bit of a talk at halftime to be able to handle that 1-3-1 and get the ball where we needed it to be to be able to break that press,” Ream said.
Most of those 18 points in the half came from beyond the 3-point line as Juniata scored 12 points on threes. Even more so, the Indians had three different players score from three in the half with Jacob Condo draining two baskets and both Max Lauver and Emmanuel O’Donell each hitting from beyond the arc.
Basketball is a game of adjustments and Juniata certainly lived up to that coming into the second half with an entirely new point of attack.
In the first half, the Indians looked to get points primarily from the three-point line before switching it around in the second half.
The Indians began moving the ball inside the paint into the waiting arms of Jace White, who only had two points in the first half, before leading the Juniata offense by scoring eight of the team’s 14 points in the third quarter.
“I think our ball movement got better as the game went,” Ream said. “We were moving it back and forth. I think we wore them down a little bit by making them chase on defense — so much so that they lost their legs for their offense late in the game.”
Things got a little scrappy in the fourth quarter as Upper Dauphin began to really apply pressure on the Indians, allowing the Trojans to cut into the lead and force Ream to call a timeout.
But once the Indians settled down, Upper Dauphin could do nothing to slow them down as Juniata muscled its way to the free-throw line. Condo led the charge at the charity stripe, going a perfect four-for-four while Lauver went two-for-two to ice the game.
Upper Dauphin’s Nate Wise came into the game having made 25 shots from beyond the 3-point line, but thanks to the Juniata defense, Wise not did not hit a single three and managed to score just two points in the game. Any time that the Trojans had the ball they were immediately met by a Juniata defender.
“I told the kids to stay in front of them and to not try to steal the ball,” Ream said. “Stay in front and if they raise up to shoot, you have your hand in his face and the kids did what I asked of them to do defensively.”
The Indians have hit their stride at the right time as Juniata currently sits in the fourth spot in the District 6 rankings in boys Class 4A. The Top 6 teams will advance to the District 6 playoffs.
Juniata will now set its sights on Millersburg, as Juniata welcomes the league’s top scorer in Christian Bingaman. Millersburg is one of the Top teams in District 3 Class 2A and currently sits at 11-3 and 8-2 in the Tri-Valley League.
Juniata 42, Upper Dauphin 27
Jace White 6 0-0 12, Emmanuel O’Donell 5 0-0 11,Jacob Condo2 4-4 10, Max Lauver 1 2-2 5, Yaniel Ortiz 2 0-3 4. Totals: 16 6-9 — 42
3-point goals: Condo 2, O’Donell, Lauver
Wil Laskowski 5 0-0 12,George Chichinadeze 4 0-0 8,Chris Barba 1 0-0 3, Nate Wise 1 0-0 2, Christian Snyder 1 0-0 2, Max Neslor 0 0-2 0. Totals: 12 0-2 — 27.
3-point goals: Laskowski 2, Barba
Score by quarters
J 10-8-14-10 — 42
UD 2-11-7-7 — 27