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Lauver leads Indians’ comeback

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSS
Juniata’s Max Lauver drives to the basket as Newport’s Ryder Wands just gets his hand in front of Lauver’s face in a Tri-Valley League basketball game Tuesday in Mifflintown.

MIFFLINTOWN — Despite a slow start to the game, Juniata was able to get the shots to fall behind the efforts of Max Lauver as the Indians defeated Newport by the final score of 49-39 in a Tri-Valley League boys basketball game Tuesday night.

The last few games, Juniata struggled to get its offense going as shots weren’t finding the bottom of the net. In the first quarter of the game, it appeared as though the Indians inability to get their shots to fall was making its ugly appearance again. Juniata was only able to score four points in the opening quarter of the night.

To make things worse for the Indians, Newport’s Danny Bellis went off, scoring seven of the nine total points for the Buffaloes for the period.

Bellis didn’t stop there and in the second quarter, he continued to make his presence felt as he dropped nine of the total 14 points Newport scored for the frame. Bellis scored 16 points in the first half of the game.

But Juniata refused to give up as the Indians rode the hot hand of Lauver who went off in the second quarter, scoring eight of the 17 points scored in the period for Juniata. But as the quarter went on, the rest of the Juniata offense joined in on the action as Jacob Condo and Caleb Smith joined Lauver in a three-point barrage as the Indians connected with four three pointers in the quarter for a total of 12 points.

The effort by the Juniata offense managed to close in on the Newport lead making it a 23-21 ballgame at the break.

“We got it going in the second quarter and we carried it throughout the remainder of the game,” Indians coach Al Ream said. “Shooting percentage overall wasn’t very good, but we got enough to win.”

Lauver’s hot shooting continued in the third quarter, as he knocked down a pair of big threes. But it was the Indians that took over the quarter as the Juniata defense put the clamps down on Newport, limiting the Buffaloes to just four points in the frame.

The Indians eventually overtook Newport and gained control of the game taking a 31-27 lead at the end of third quarter. Bellis was kept in check in the quarter only scoring two points in the quarter and five for the entire second half.

“We pride ourselves in playing good defense,” Ream said. “I thought the kids did a good job helping on Bellis and then getting back to their man.”

Newport tried to get back going on offense in the fourth quarter, but the Indians answered thanks to the efforts of Lauver, Evan Leach and GG Ortiz who put in the finishing touches on the Buffaloes with an and one.

Lauver led the way with a game high of 22 points.

“He carried the offensive load for us tonight,” Ream said. “He really had a good offensive night tonight. I thought the other guys did a great job getting the ball open spots.”

Juniata is now (8-5) overall and (5-3) in the league and will look to make it two in a row on Saturday as the Indians will travel to face West Perry.

Juniata 49, Newport 39

JUNIATA

Caleb Smith 2 0-0 6, Ebel Gonzales 0 0-0 0, Jacob Condo 3 0-0 7, GG Ortiz 1 3-4 5, Evan Leach 2 0-0 4, Austin Derr 0 3-4 3, Max Lauver 7 4-7 22, Wyatt Stoner 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 10-15 49

3-point goals: Smith 2, Condo, Lauver 4.

NEWPORT

Cesar Rangel 0 0-2 0, Logan Burns 0 0-0 0, Danny Bellis 9 0-0 21, Zach Bellis 2 0-0 4, Josh Bellis 2 2-2 7, Ryder Wands 1 1-2 3, Evan Still 0 0-0 0, Kenyon Wilson 1 2-2 4. Totals: 15 5-8 39

3-point goals: D. Bellis 3, J. Bellis

Score by quarters

N 9-14-4-12 – 39

J 4-17-10-18 – 49

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