Hometown Sports
Don't Miss

Juniata muscles back to top rival EJ in battle for Juniata County

By Kenny Varner

SPRING MILLS – With nothing but pride on the line and a chance to knock off cross-county rival Juniata, the East Juniata boys opened their contest against the Indians in strong fashion, going up by double-digits in the second quarter.

But the Indians’ motto on Monday night in the opening game of their Penns Valley Holliday Tournament games, was to never give up. Never EVER give up.

In the third quarter, the Indians turned up the heat and fought back to get within a stones throw of the Tigers.

With that move being made, the group took the fourth quarter and went right at the heart of the deficit, tying it at 47 and giving themselves new life.

Juniata never trailed again from that point, outscoring the Tigers 8-3 in the final stanza to hold onto the hard fought 55-50 victory.

With the victory, the Indians are also crowned the unofficial Juniata County champion.

“We came in the game with no pressure on us,” East Juniata coach Lowell Kratzer said. “Our division we were picked to be last and they’ve been and we are still trying to figure it . I thought we played like there was no pressure on us.”

Leading the way for the Indians Was Justin Mingle. Mingle led the charge in the second half, scoring 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half.

Teammate Logan Knepp also had a strong game throughout, posting a 14-point effort, keeping Juniata in the contest while the rest of his team struggled.

Down the line it was a total team effort as the Indians got strong clutch performances by Alex White and Tyler Clark.

In the overtime period, it would be Clark’s free throws that would put the game on ice for Juniata. White’s speed and strong defensive play sparked the comeback as well as his shot at the hole.

White finished with eight points while Clark tallied seven.

“This game tonight, I talked to the kids tonight, we played last year. Just go out and play and if your shots start falling your confidence rises. All of the sudden you have a lead and you just loosen up and you play. That’s what happened to them today,” Juniata coach Al Ream said. “We were a little tight and they were a little lose and they played well. This is a good win for our kids. It wasn’t pretty it was pretty ugly but we were able to come away with the ‘W’.”

As the overtime period started, the Indians controlled the ball, hitting the first five points of the extra period. All of the points came from Josh Parson who hit an old fashion three-point play and then two free throws from the charity stripe.

East Juniata bounced back with three-points of their own on a bucket by Jake Sankey and a free throw by Noah Brackbill.

But with just less than a minute showing on the clock and the Indians’ leading 51-50, Clark went to the line three consecutive times, hitting four-of-six from the line en route to the victory.

Leading the Tigers in the scoring department was Sankey with 15 and Geffert with 11.

The Indians will play Penns Valley for the Championship today while East Juniata plays in the consolation round against Bellefonte.


Leave a Reply

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