Beasts from the east
Tigers end long drought against rival Juniata
“Outstanding, it has been a long time since we beat Juniata so I mean it feels good,” Tigers coach Justin Hazel said. “We needed it to stay within the league and our kids really, really, really wanted it so I feel really good about it.”
Shooting woes for Juniata began in the second quarter as the Indians were holding on to a slim 13-11 lead. The Indians were throwing up shots left and right but the ball just seemingly could not find the bottom of the net.
In fact, Juniata had more fouls in the second quarter than it did points committing six fouls to only five points in the period.
The East Juniata defense did not make it any easier for the Indians. The Tigers used high pressure on both sides of the ball and got to the foul line regularly. The Tigers were a perfect 6-for-6 at the line for the frame. East Juniata scored 12 points for the period giving itself a 23-18 lead at the break.
“We’re trying to play a lot more man this year so we wanted to do that and it didn’t go so well obviously so we had to switch right to that zone,” Hazel said. “We just talked about being more active, talking more, flying out, challenging every single shot. Any person that touches it we wanted to challenge them.”
The Tigers really picked up the pace in the third quarter flying all over the court on offense as well as defense.
East Juniata was sharing the wealth offensively getting contributions from five different players who scored at least a basket in the frame. The Tigers scored a total of 19 points in the quarter.
For the Indians the shots just continued to not go into the basket as they only managed to score three points in the period allowing East Juniata to pull away and make it a 42-21 ballgame with just eight minutes to play.
“We had the ball right on the rim a couple times,” Indians coach Al Ream said. “They made a couple big blocks and rimmed out.”
But Juniata refused to give in and came out swinging with everything it had as the Indians took their turn and applied the pressure on East Juniata who were looking to run the clock out.
The pressure carried Juniata and at one point in the period the Indians managed to cut the lead down to single digits. But it was as close as they were going to get to making a comeback.
“Ran out of time, ran out of time,” Ream lamented. “If we had been that aggressive in the second and third quarters, it would have been a tight game and we weren’t, so live and learn.”
The man leading the last-ditch effort was senior Jacob Condo who muscled his way to the basket and went after the ball and forcing the Tigers into turnovers. Condo scored half of the Juniata points in the quarter with eight out of the total team points of 16. Condo had 14 points overall for the game. GG Ortiz had added another 10.
“He played very hard, very well,” Ream said of Condo. “I got to appreciate the way he played with heart, enthusiasm and he carried us there for a while.”
But that was when Brackbill took it upon himself, put the team on his back and went on a rampage on the court, grabbing any rebound he could, attacking the lane and forcing Juniata to send him to the line. Brackbill made the most of his opportunities at the line and dropped six of eight at the free-throw line. Brackbill scored all but four of the 10 total points in the frame.
“Jake is the type of kid that is 100 miles per hour all the time,” Hazel said. “And getting him to slow sometimes is really, really tough so he’s just got to learn to do that but he had a heck of a game.”
Overall Brackbill led the Tigers with a game high of 18 points while teammate Owen Dressler was lighting it up from deep hitting three 3-pointers and was perfect at the line going 4-for-4 for a total of 16 points. But Ream was very impressed with the way the Tigers played as a unit giving them much appreciation.
“Congrats to East Juniata,” Ream said. “They are a great team.”
East Juniata moves up to 6-3 overall while 4-2 in the TVL and will host Halifax on Monday. Meanwhile Juniata falls to 7-5 overall and 4-3 in the league and the Indians will look to bounce back on Monday as they host Newport.
East Juniata 52, Juniata 37
Jake Brackbill 5 8-11 18, Tanner Barth 3 0-0 6, Owen Dressler 3 4-4 16, Rowan Smith 2 2-2 6, Brady Roe 0 0-0 0, Clark Ritzman 0 0-0 0, Dylan Wagner 4 1-1 9. Totals: 17 15-18 52
3-point goals: Dressler 3
Caleb Smith 0 0-0 0, Ebel Gonzales 0 0-0 0, Jacob Condo 6 1-3 14, GG Ortiz 2 5-6 10, Evan Leach 1 0-1 2, Austin Derr 1 1-2 3, Max Lauver 4 0-0 8. Totals: 14 7-12 37
3-point goals: Condo, Ortiz
Score by quarters
EJ 11-12-19-10 – 52
J 13-5-3-16 – 37