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Juniata remains undefeated

SPRING MILLS – In the immortal words of New York Yankee great, Yogi Berra, “it was deja all over again.”
Today, the Juniata boys basketball team will face Penns Valley once again in the championship game of the Penns Valley Ram Jam.
The Indians reached the title tilt by beating the Northeast Grapepickers in the tournament opener.
Juniata upped its record to a still perfect 7-0 going into the championship game, defeating the Pickers, 39-25.
Defensively, the Indians got better as each quarter ended while its offense was able to hold its ground and hold onto to the lead for most of the contest.
Leading the way offensively for the Indians were Bryce Leonard and Tyler Clark who both finished with 10 points each. Clark tallied two triples on the evening.
Insideman Josh Parson was a strong force in the paint, finishing with seven.
Northeast got its points from inside as center Alex Furmmek tallied eight to lead the way.
“Defensively, I can’t complain, the kids worked hard. Offensively, we struggled. Our shots just weren’t going in. It’s just a matter of getting those shots to drop,” Juniata coach Al Ream said. “But a wins a win. You win ugly but it’s still a win.”
Going into the final stanza, Juniata only led Northeast by nine points, 30-21.
On their first possession, the Pickers got the ball right inside to Furmmek in the paint and then he hit a turn around jumper, cutting it to 30-23.
But like it did for the entire game, the Indians had an answer for everything Northeast threw at them and the fourth quarter was no exception.
With the ball back in their hands, the Indians got the ball to sharpshooting Clark and he was automatic in his trike attempt, extending the lead to double digits with 6:36 left.
Despite numerous attempts to break the defense of Juniata, the Pickers failed to go inside without a hand in their face.
Slowly, the clocked ticked down to the the four- minute mark thanks to the slow down offense of Juniata and the absence of any guard pressure by Northeast.
Juniata upped its lead to 35-23 on a strong runner in the paint by Bryson Clark.
Furmmek refused to let his team go down with out a fight, cutting things back to a 10-point lead for Juniata with 3:18 left.
The “Red and White” continued to hold the pace of the game to a snails pace.
With the clutch possessions, Juniata ran out the clock as the Indians scored the last four points of the contest, 39-25.
In the first period, Northeast kept it close thanks to consecutive triples by August Neff, keeping the pickers to within two as the buzzer sounded on the first, 13-11.
It was a defensive statement time on both ends of the court in the second as the Grapepickers held the Indians’ offense to seven while Juniata held Northeast to four.
Both teams will be back in action tonight as Juniata will battle Penn’s Valley and Northeast will battle Bellefonte in the consolation game.

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