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Juniata defense shines en route victory on Senior night

Juniata  61, Meadowbrook Chr. 34

MBC 9    6  6 13 – 34

JUN15 21 19   6 – 61

Scoring: MBC – Levi Erb  0 2-2 2, Josh Dugan 1 0-0 3, Jaeden Cancia 4 1-2 9, Landon Tillson 3 0-0 6, Elijah Cruz 3 0-0 9, Josiah Baker 1 0-0 2, Josiah Cruz 1 0-0 3 . JUN –   Isaac Carlson 1 0-0 2, Jasper Shepps 11 1-2 25, Ricky Guante 2 0-0 4, Caden Swailes 3 0-0 7, Damian Vance 2 0-0 5,Wyatt Stoner 4 0-0 9, Nick Reed 1 0-0 2. Totals 27 2-4 61.

Played but didn’t score: MBC –    Matt Schmit 0 0-0 0, Nick Bennage 0 0-0 0. JUN -Brian Kuhns 0 0-0 0, Franco Doydora 0 0-0 0.

Three-point shots: MBC –   E. Cruz 3, J. Cruz, Dugan. JUN – Shepps 2, Swailes, Vance, Stoner.

By Kenny Varner

MIFFLINTOWN – That’s a wrap!

Thursday night the Juniata Indians boys basketball team played its last regular season contest of the season as they hosted Meadowbrook. Christian.

The Indians were trying to go into the oncoming post season on a winning note in their final home contest as well.

It was also senior night for the Indians as the team honored senior teammates Grant Reinhold, Isaiah  Staggers and Wyatt Stoner.

And honor them they did as the defeated the Lions in a mercy-rule contest, 61-34.

Jasper Shepps led the offense on the night posting a game-high mark of 25.

Teammate Wyatt Stoner just missed a double-double, finishing with nine points and nine rebounds. He also posted three blocks en route to the “Big Red” victory.

But it would be the defense that was the eye catching performance on the night as the Juniata defense held the Lions defense to single digits in three of the fourth periods.

Ricky Guante and Shepps were keying on the Meadowbrook guards all evening as the two forced a combined 10 steals combined.

The Indians also were very active on the boards as well, pulling down a total of 27 while the Lions managed just 21.

A total of seven different Juniata players pulled down a board in the contest.

“Offense comes and goes in basketball. Some nights the hoop is as big as a bushel basket and some it is so small. Defense is the stable,” said Juniata coach Al Ream. “You can count on it every night. We really work hard with the kids to teach them the fundamentals of defense.”

In the first quarter, the Indians had to battle through a very feisty effort by Meadowbrook, leading only 15-9. Shepps and Grant Reinhold scored 13-of-15 total opening stanza points.

The defense took center stage in the second and third quarters as it was able to help its offense to a 21-point and 19-point period, respectively.

Meadowbrook opened the second with a bucket by Landon Tillson, cutting the lead to only 15-11.

But then Juniata started to feel it from everywhere.

Wyatt Stoner started a 17-0 run with a triple.

On the following Lions possession, Shepps stood in front of a Meadowbrook player and stole the ball and went coast-to-coast for the lay up.

Shepps continued his hot shooting stepping outside the three-point arc and posted a triple. The Trey forced Meadowbrook to call time out to regroup.

But that didn’t happen as the Indians went right back to work. Caden Swailes hit consecutive baskets in traffic and in the paint, upping the lead to 27-11.

Juniata then slowed down the tempo and worked the ball around and setting up their plays.

Stoner hit a leaner in the paint and was followed by Damian Vance triple, extending things to a 21-point lead with 1:15 left.

Both teams would finish with two buckets apiece with the Indians taking a 36-15 lead into the intermission.

After the half, things picked up where they left off for Juniata as once again they refused to let any kind of easy bucket inside the perimeter. The defense once again allowed only six points while its offense continued to sizzle with 19.

With the game in the Mercy-rule status, Ream went to his bench and got some of his non-starters some valuable playing time as it heads into the post season.

The Lions went for 13 in the shortened stanza while Juniata hit six en route to the senior night delight.

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