Hometown Sports
Don't Miss

Juniata Mennonite boys lose heartbreaker to Walnut Christian

PORT ROYAL – The Juniata Mennonite boys basketball team showed what the meaning of playing with heart meant Friday night at the Cedar Grove gymnasium in its game against a very feisty Walnut Christian team.

Down by 14 early in the first half, the Lions kept hanging around and hanging around and never let themselves too far out of the ball game, tying the contest with just seconds left in the contest.

However, the Warriors’ leading scorer Taylor Potter spoiled the Lions hopes, hitting one-of-two from the charity stripe to give them the lead with 17 ticks left on the clock, upping the lead to 47-44 lead.

The “Never Say Die” JMS team came right up the court and got the ball to Adrian Martin. Martin went up for an off-balanced three-point attempt and was fouled in the process. In his first two attempts, Martin was automatic, cutting the Warriors’ lead to one-point, 47-46.

However, Walnut called a last time out to try to ice Martin.

Martin stood at the free throw line and with the gym quiet. He went to shoot and the ball rolled off the rim and out one second left. The Lions weren’t able to get a crisp attempt at the rebound, leaving the Lions a point short of sending the game into an overtime period.

But Martin’s performance was what helped lead the Juniata Mennonite comeback, finishing with team high 20-point effort. Teammate Caleb Metz also finished in double figures, posting a 10-point effort.

One of the strong defensive performances came from Martin and center Noah Grunden. Grunden’s inside presence pushed the Warriors more outside to shoot longer shots in the second half. Grunden was also strong going towards the hoop, hitting six points in the third and fourth quarter.

The game was a tale of two halves, Walnut Christian had all the answers in the first half, outscoring the Lions 30-19 while Juniata Mennonite outscored the Warriors 27-17 in the third and fourth, before coming up a little short.

Potter had the hot hand throughout for Walnust Christian, positng a game-high 28-points and going 11-19 from the charity stripe.

“That’s the thing about this team this year. They never quit,” JMS coach Dennis Zimmerman said. “They never say die. What I love about them, no matter how far their down you never see anybody dropping their heads and wanting to quit out there. That’s all exciting. We made a little run there in the fourth quarter and at that point in time they were getting excited. I told my guys we have to stay calm and they did. They did a great job except in the end we just didn’t have enough to do it.”

The first quarter belonged to the Warriors-posting a 16-9 lead over the Lions.

Things continued to go Walnut’s way as it built up a 30-15 lead with 2:10 left in the first half.

Potter scored 16 of his 28 points in the first half.

Juniata started to make their comeback late in the first half, netting the last four points before the intermission.

With the momentum shift, the Lions continued to push the ball down the heart of the Warriors defense.

The fast break had opened up for JMS as it was able to open the second half on a 8-3 run, cutting the lead to 33-27.

In that run, the Lions got points from Grundon, Martin, Metz and Kevin Burkholder.

However, the Warriors went on a mini run of its own, posting a 40-31 advantage going into the final stanza.

Defensively, the Lions tightened its play even more, allowing just seven points while it rolled to 15.

However, it just wasn’t enough as all seven points in the period came from Potter which was enough to give the Warriors the slim victory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *