Muncy wins 1st D4 title since 2004
MANSFIELD — As their fans stood and applauded, Muncy players turned toward them and unveiled the District 4 Class AA championship plaque.
The players held that hard-earned plaque together. A team whose motto all year has been “all-in, all-together,” celebrated its biggest win yet that same way. And that is exactly how Muncy carved out a unique spot in program history.
Nate Paisley and Noah Rymsza both scored 18 points, Matt Coyner recorded a double-double, and all eight players coach Jason Gresh used made a positive impact Thursday at Decker Gymnasium as Muncy defeated Northeast Bradford, 52-39, and captured its first district championship since 2004. The Indians (17-7) won just the fifth district championship in program history and earned a spot in Saturday’s state tournament where it will play either Holy Cross or Northwest at a District 4 site.
Together, Muncy has become the district’s best Class AA team.
“It’s just a great feeling, especially being my senior and year here and my last chance,” Coyner said after scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. “It’s amazing to get that medal. I kind of just want to cry tears of happiness.”
“Satisfying is a great word. These kids have worked so hard. To come up and win a district championship and cut the nets down and wear the gold medals and hold the plaque is huge,” Gresh said. “Every player tonight made a contribution. We’ve said all year that is how it has to be. It has to be all together and it was.”
It also was the culmination of a long journey that started at the elementary level. Muncy struggled back then, but gradually improved and combined talent with a ferocious work ethic.
Muncy won its first state tournament game in 14 years a season ago and kept moving forward this season. Everything then came together in districts as Muncy dethroned defending champion North Penn-Mansfield before leading from start to finish against pesky Northeast Bradford.
The banner that Muncy will soon hang is as much a testament to the team’s ability as it is its determination.
“These guys have come a long way. We have come together. We found a good group of guys that stayed together all season and I can’t thank them enough for that,” Paisley said after scoring 18 points for a second straight game. “We hit a rough patch in the middle of the game, but we stayed together, we trusted in each other and we finished it off.”
Rymsza picked up where he left off against North Penn-Mansfield, scoring seven quick points as Muncy built a 10-5 lead three minutes into the game. What makes Muncy especially dangerous, however, is that it features so many weapons. That became obvious early on as four starters scored in the first four minutes and all five had scored by early in the second quarter.
Dylan Wilt hit a 3-pointer and grabbed seven first-half rebounds, Coyner started asserting himself inside and Kolby Moyer helped anchor a stingy defense as Muncy went up 29-21 at halftime and then started pulling away in the third when a Rymsza floater gave it a 43-26 lead entering the final quarter.
“To have everybody do their part, to have a team where anybody can score 20 on any given night is amazing,” Paisley said. “If you have an off night your teammates are going to pick you up and that’s an amazing feeling going out there. It takes a lot of pressure off each and every one of us. We just have to focus on defense and getting stops and something good will happen on the offensive end.”
Zak Smith scored 18 points for Northeast Bradford which was making its second straight championship appearance, but Muncy never let he or his teammates heat up. The Panthers never pulled closer than 12 in the fourth quarter and Kyle Lenhart came off the bench to combine with Jordan Yaple and played stifling defense. Muncy took away the NEB inside game and the Panthers struggled from outside, making just 14 of 46 shots.
After Paisley and Rymsza hurt NEB outside, Coyner did damage inside, scoring five quick points in the third quarter. He and Wilt were a handful inside and, even when the offense cooled at times, it always felt like Muncy was in complete control.
“We were all so hyped when Dylan hit that 3 because he doesn’t shoot it very often and was I felt so happy for him,” Coyner said. “It’s great when you have a lot of offensive players who can score and a lot of players who can help out wherever and whenever we need them to.”
NEB made it a 12-point game with five minutes remaining, but Paisley hit a runner and Rymsza a floater to push the lead to 15. Those two then helped clinch the win at the foul line.
The last two minutes were more a coronation, than a conclusion to the game. After all that work, all that progress, Muncy could look at its fans, soak in the moment and realize they had just achieved something mighty big.
“Every single one of them has paid the price. Every single one of them has worked their butts off,” Gresh said. “Every single one of them wants to make each other better. Tonight was the cap stone of that.”
Nate Paisley 6 4-9 18, Matt Coyner 5 1-4 11, Noah Rymsza 8 1-2 18, Kolby Moyer 1 0-2 2, Dylan Wilt 1 0-2 3, Jordan Yaple 0 0-0 0, Levi Messenger 0 0-0 0, Kyle Lenhart 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 6-19 52.
Northeast Bradford (39)
Zak Smith 5 5-6 18, Andy Crown 6 2-4 14, Chaz LaBarre 2 0-0 5, Nick Marino 0 0-0 0, Brady Hopkins 0 0-0 0, Clayton Connor 0 0-0 0, Nick Shaffer 1 0-1 2. Totals 14 7-10 39.
Muncy 17 12 14 9–52
NEB 9 12 5 13–39
3-point goals: Muncy 4 (Paisley 2, Rymsza 1, Wilt 1); NEB 4 (Smith 3, LaBarre 1).
Records: Muncy (17-7), Northeast Bradford (12-13).