The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

March 8, 2014

Boys basketball: Lewisburg falls on buzzer-beater

SUNBURY — Lewisburg’s Jesse Flannery just laid on the court looking up, as if hoping maybe, just maybe, the basket didn’t just happen.

It was a heck of an effort after the way the game started and was a game many Lewisburg fans will remember for awhile, but the District 4 champion Lewisburg Green Dragons came up on the short end of the stick, losing in true heart-breaking fashion.

After two missed shots in the final seconds, Mid Valley’s Mo Blackwell was in the right place at the right time and put up a shot literally as the buzzer sounded to give the Spartans a thrilling 58-57 win at Phil Lockcuff Gymnasium on Saturday evening in the first round of the PIAA Class AA tournament.

Mid Valley missed two shots during the possession before Blackwell’s huge putback ended the game.

After the way the game started, some may have thought Lewisburg (23-4) was going to lose handedly to Mid Valley (23-4), but the Green Dragons put on a show late inside a packed Shikellamy Field House. Lewisburg trailed by as many as 17 points (25-8) just 40 seconds into the second quarter and trailed by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter, 47-37.

“The way we battled, we haven’t faced that all year. To come back like that, I was really proud of the guys,” Flannery said. “Nobody ever gave up, nobody ever hung their heads.”

The Green Dragons battled the entire fourth quarter to erase the double-digit deficit. Sam Allen (12 points) opened the quarter with a basket to make it an 8-point deficit. Lewisburg’s defense held Mid Valley scoreless for the first three minutes of the fourth as the Green Dragons went on a 6-0 spurt to make it a 4-point game, trailing just 47-43.

Flannery (team-high 13 points, five assists) came up huge with two great pull-up jumpers to put Lewisburg ahead, 51-50, with 3:10 to play. That would be the first lead the Green Dragons held after trailing the entire game. In total, Lewisburg and Mid Valley exchanged leads six times in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter.

Alex Prislupsky — who led Mid Valley with 25 points — missed all three foul shots with just under 3 minutes left, but the Spartans retained possession with a clutch rebound before Jasson Kenny drilled a huge trey to put the Spartans ahead, 53-51. Allen would hit two foul shots roughly 40 seconds later to draw it back even at 53 before another Flannery basket with 1:25 to play made it a 55-54 Lewisburg lead.

“We sort of took that big haymaker (from their press early on), and were a little dazed if you want to refer to a boxing match. But once we got to our senses, we started getting back, working a little bit more, being a little more patient and making some adjustments,” Lewisburg coach John Vaji said. “They were really hedging hard on our ball screens. We were able to get some mismatches, some numbers (and) able to feed the ball and attack. Fourth quarter we picked up that defensive pressure a little bit. We were able to get some turnovers and easier situations like that.”

Will Sigl and Matt Fedorjaka each had 10 points for Lewisburg in the loss while Nadir Boone added a huge game off the bench, scoring 10 points and pulling down a team-high nine rebounds while adding two big blocks.

With just 10.6 seconds left, Allen went to the line and drained both ends of a 1-and-1 to give Lewisburg a 57-56 lead before the Spartans took a timeout.

“I told them to keep their composure, we wanted to get something aggressive, to get to the basket where maybe we could get to the free throw line. It didn’t work out that way, but it’s just a credit to the kids because we got a couple of shots at the end,” Mid Valley coach Mike Abda said.

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