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East Juniata outlasts rival Juniata

East Juniata 48, Juniata 45

COCOLAMUS – It was what you come to expect out of a cross-county rivalry game as it went down to the wire but ultimately, East Juniata edged out rival Juniata to secure the victory by the final score of 48-45 in a Tri-Valley League boys basketball game Thursday night.

With this win over Juniata, the Tigers were able to clinch a TVL boys basketball championship.

This is the first TVL boys basketball title for East Juniata in nearly ten years as the last time that the Tigers were league champs was back in 2014. In talking with coach Hazel, he became emotional about this feat with his players.

“(Means) a lot, I think it helps us numbers wise, I think kids are starting to get more excited in the area,” Hazel said. “It means a lot to the program there is no doubt about it, I mean the turmoil they’ve had with coaches changing every other year.”

“Tanner (Barth) and Rowen (Smith) said to me they never had a winning season since they’ve been at EJ,” Hazel continued. “So I am just super happy to get them a winning season and a league championship on top of it. I’m just really proud of my guys.”

Hazel wasn’t the only coach to be proud of the effort displayed by his team as Juniata head coach Al Ream was proud of the Tigers’ success and the way both teams left it all out on the court.

“It was a great effort, great effort by both teams. Both teams played hard, theyáre a very talented team, we came and matched it pretty much basket for basket and in the end they got one more than we got,” Ream said. “I’m very proud of my kids. We gave the crowd their money’s worth tonight. It was a huge crowd, great venue, great atmosphere to be in. It’s tough to see someone lose in that situation. But they won it, they won the league so I congratulate them.”

East Juniata held onto a 39-34 lead at the start of the fourth quarter of the game when Juniata attacked. Whether it was inside or outside, the Indians stormed ahead behind the efforts of Austin Derr down low and Max Lauver from the three point line together combined for all 11 points that was scored for Juniata in the final frame.

At that point, the Indians managed to nab the lead for the first time since the opening period of the night. But East Juniata was able get back on track and stay ahead thanks to the efforts of the trio of Jake Brackbill and Dylan Wagner who combined for eight of the nine points in the frame to secure the win.

The reason that the Tigers were able to pull a head was back in the second quarter of the game where they seemed to not be able to miss a shot. East Juniata was scoring both inside and outside and outscored Juniata 19-11 for the period and took a 27-21 lead at the break.

Tanner Barth led the Tigers with 17 points while Wagner added another 12 points for the evening and Owen Dressler had nine points.

For the Indians, Derr was the top scorer for not just Juniata, but for the whole game scoring 18 points for the night. Max Lauver was second on the team in scoring with 11.

But overall coach Ream could not be prouder with his team efforts and great show of respect between both programs.

“It was point for point all night long, I’m very pleased with my kids’ effort,” Ream said. “I think the game was played with good sportsmanship tonight, everybody played hard but they played well. They kept their emotions in check and it’s a great night for high school basketball in Juniata County.”

The Tigers were also victorious over the Indians during the JV game as well with the final score being 31-28. East Juniata was led by Jack Hoffman who scored nine while Grant Reinhold had 17 points for the Indians.

With this win, East Juniata is now (14-5, 12-3) and will finish its regular season on Monday as the Tigers will host Halifax.

Meanwhile Juniata falls to (13-8, 10-5) and will look to get back into the win column as the Indians will travel to face Newport on Monday.

Congrats to both teams for giving it their all!

East Juniata 48, Juniata 45
Caleb Smith 0 0-0 0, Jacob Condo 3 2-2 8, GG Ortiz 3 1-1 7, Evan Leach 0 1-2 1, Austin Derr 8 3-4 18, Max Lauver 4 0-0 11. Totals: 18 7-9 45
3-point goals: Lauver 3
Jake Brackbill 3 2-2 8, Tanner Barth 6 3-4 17, Owen Dressler 3 0-0 9, Rowen Smith 1 0-0 2, Dylan Wagner 6 0-2 12, Clark Ritzman 0 0-0 0, Brady Roe 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 5-7 48
3-point goals: Dressler 3, Barth 2
Score by quarters
J 10-11-13-11 – 45
EJ 8-19-12-9 – 48

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