Muncy off to its best start in 2000s

MUNCY — No Muncy player was alive the last time the Indians started 5-0. But as they grow older, these current players will remember a lot more than just the 5-0 start.

The Indians will fondly remember how exactly they earned that fifth win. It sure came the hard way.

Warrior Run erased a 16-point second-quarter deficit and led three times over the game’s final four minutes, but Nate Paisley hit a driving runner with 20 seconds remaining and Muncy won a 48-47 thriller. Paisley and Matt Coyner both hit go-ahead baskets over the last 47 seconds and the Indians avenged last season’s defeat against Warrior Run while improving on the program’s best start of the 2000s.

“These are very fun ones,” Paisley said after scoring a game-high 19 points, grabbing seven rebounds, dealing five assists and making five steals. “These ones stick in your head forever. I’ll remember this one for a long time.”

Muncy won its two previous games by a combined 67 points but learned far more about itself from this nailbiter. Foul trouble plagued Muncy throughout the game, Warrior Run came storming back and its defense held Muncy to three field goals over the second-half’s first 15 minutes. The Indians were put on the ropes when Warrior Run took a 3-point lead with 2 minutes, 50 seconds remaining but could not be knocked out.

Instead, they delivered more field goals in the last 90 seconds than they had in those first 15 minutes. Paisley found Coyner (10 points, 8 rebounds) inside to make it a 1-point game and, after a Cassidy Hoffman free throw, Paisley made a steal that set up Coyner for a go-ahead 3-point play, putting Muncy up 46-45. Just 14 seconds later, Denver Beachel split the Muncy defense with a pin-point pass that Ahmahd Keyes scored off and Warrior Run led 47-46 with 33 seconds remaining.

Muncy did not call timeout and Paisley immediately pushed the ball upcourt. He broke down the defense at the top of the key, sprinted into the lane and put up what became the game-winner over two defenders.

“We were rattled at some points but we came together at the end. I saw the lane open and I went for it,” Paisley said. “The guys spaced the floor all night. They were shooting the ball well, we came together and I knocked down the shot.”

Following a timeout Luke Burrows threw a super pass inside but the ensuing shot rimmed out and Coyner grabbed the rebound with 2.2 seconds remaining. Coyner missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but jumped high and grabbed the offensive rebound as time expired. As he did so, a large Muncy crowd collectively and simultaneously cheered and breathed a sigh of relief.

“This is definitely the first time we’ve faced real adversity as a team and I didn’t know how we were going to react. Ultimately, we just kind of got by and I’ll take that,” Muncy coach Jason Gresh said. “We did a good job hitting the boards when it mattered and our seniors came up big.”

They needed to after Warrior Run (4-2) came fighting back. Muncy went on a 20-0 run that bridged the first and second quarters, taking a 20-4 lead. That lead was still 11 at halftime, but the Defenders cut it to three entering the fourth quarter and went ahead for the first time since the game’s first minute when Austin Soltesz fed Keyes and made it 42-41.

Warrior Run center Gage Anzulavich delivered his fifth double-double, finishing with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Hoffman played stifling second-half defense, but the Defenders lost a second straight heart-breaker after losing by three in overtime to Bloomsburg last Tuesday.

“Coach Gresh was saying this will be the first time we’ve faced adversity all year and we handled it pretty well,” Paisley said. “We cracked at some points but at the end we all came together. We did what we wanted to do and went 1-0 tonight.”

Coyner and Dylan Wilt (9 rebounds) missed large portions of the game in foul trouble and Wilt fouled out early in the fourth quarter. Yaple and Levi Messenger were outstanding off the bench and combined with Kolby Moyer to play some strong defense that prevented Warrior Run from taking over late. Noah Rymsza scored 10 first-half points and Muncy showed it can be tough as well as good under pressure.

“It’s about we. We are going to figure it out,” Gresh said. “Every day we break down, saying “all in and all together.” We’re all in together, whether that’s diving on the floor or getting rebounds. Whatever it takes, we have to do it together and we are.”

Warrior Run (47)

Gage Anzulavich 4 5-7 13, Ahmahd Keyes 3 0-0 6, Kade Anzualvich 0 2-2 2, Luke Burrows 4 2-4 10, Denver Beachel 1 0-0 3, Cassidy Hoffman 2 1-4 5, Austin Soltesz 3 0-0 7, Anthony Perrone 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 10-17 47.

Muncy (48)

Matt Coyner 4 2-7 10, Nate Paisley 5 6-7 19, Noah Rymsza 3 2-3 10, Kolby Moyer 0 0-0 0, Dylan Wilt 1 0-0 2, Jordan Yaple 2 0-0 5, Levi Messenger 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 10-17 48.

Warrior Run 4 19 11 13–47

Muncy 17 17 5 9–48

3-point goals: Warrior Run 2 (Beachel 1, Soltesz 1); Muncy 6 (Paisley 3, Rymsza 2, Yaple 1).

Records: Muncy (5-0), Warrior Run (4-2).

JV score: Warrior Run 59-24.