Nativity opens with win
Run to end 1st half lifts Hilltoppers over Tri- Valley
HEGINS — Each side showed why the outlook on this season is bright.
Nativity flashed its speed in transition and Tri- Valley proved it can stay in big games.
But the Bulldogs couldn’t keep up as the Hilltoppers won the second semifinal game of the Richard Savidge Tip- Off Tournament 67- 55 on Friday night.
Tri- Valley ( 0- 1) kept it close, but Nativity ( 1- 0) strung together a 12- 2 run just before halftime. The Bulldogs couldn’t recover.
“It was just a great team effort,” Nativity head coach Mike Walborn said. “For having this many kids who don’t know each other that well or haven’t played with each other, it was great.”
Tri- Valley trailed 26- 24 with 6: 09 left in the first half before Nativity’s scoring outburst.
Nico DiNicola threw a pass to Keegan Brennan under the basket, and after a Bulldog turnover, Kegan Hertz powered in a layup.
Chase Deeter scored on the other end for Tri- Valley, but Nativity answered with quick 3- pointers from Seth Feisel and Brennan.
Hertz capped the run with a tough layup as he fell to the floor, and Nativity took a 38- 29 lead into halftime.
“We knew we couldn’t let them out in transition, and that’s what happened,” Tri- Valley head coach Mike Masser said. “We take quick shots and we don’t make shots, it leads to transition the other way. And, honestly, they’re quicker than we are.”
The Bulldogs cut the lead to six with five minutes left in the third quarter, but that was as close as they got.
Nativity, the preseason favorite in Schuylkill League Division III, showcased its top seniors and upcoming sophomores.
Senior guard Sincere Walker led the team in scoring with 17 points, followed by the sophomore forward Hertz. Senior guard Raphael Muldrow and sophomore guard Brennan each added 10.
“( Walker) and ( Muldrow), they really played controlled leadership- type basketball, and that was the main difference,” Walborn said. “They didn’t force anything, they let it come to them, and, in the past, that wasn’t always the case. For the first game of the season, they did a real- ly great job of that.”
Six of Muldrow’s 10 points came from the free- throw line.
Chase Deeter seemed to take control of Tri- Valley’s offense, finishing with a game- high 23 points. Seniors Nick Zeigmont and Daulton Leedy each followed with 13.
Competing with a team like Nativity is a good sign, Mass- er said, as the Bulldogs hope to compete in Division II.
As time was winding down in the fourth quarter, the f ans at Tri- Valley were almost given a show. With a 62- 50 lead and under 2 minutes left, Marcellus Ratcliff was all smiles after blowing a wide- open dunk.
Hertz, however, made a highlight- reel play as he was essentially tackled under the basket but still connected on a layup.
Tri- Valley will play District 2’ s Northwest Area in the tournament’s consolation game today at 6 p. m., and Nativity will play for the championship against District 4’ s Mount Carmel at 7: 30 p. m.
Mount Carmel beat Northwest 60- 40 in the first semifinal.
Nativity’s Sincere Walker, middle, drives to the basket between Tri- Valley’s Tyler McGrath, left, and Daulton Leedy during Friday’s game at the Richard Savidge Tip- Off Tournament.
Nativity’s Keegan Brennan brings the ball downcourt as Tri- Valley’s Nick Ziegmont defends during Friday’s game. The Hilltoppers won 67- 55.