Nativity opens with win

Run to end 1st half lifts Hill­top­pers over Tri- Val­ley

The Republican Herald - - SPORTS - BY LUKE KROPP STAFF WRITER

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.

Andy MATSko / STAFF PHo­ToG­RA­PHER

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.

ANDY MATSKO / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Nativity’s Kee­gan Brennan brings the ball down­court as Tri- Val­ley’s Nick Zieg­mont de­fends dur­ing Fri­day’s game. The Hill­top­pers won 67- 55.

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