Muncy dominated in all facets in a 75-34 win against rival Montgomery in boys basketball
MUNCY — Opening strong on its new basketball court was important. But the real motivation came from seeing its opponent.
Muncy missed the playoffs last season when Montgomery rallied late and stunned it in overtime in its home finale. Throughout a chaotic and uncertain offseason, Muncy players never forgot about that defeat. And Monday night the Indians finally did something about it.
Every player coach Jason Gresh used made a positive impact and Muncy dominated all facets as it opened both its season and its new gym with an impressive 75-34 win against its rival. The new gym and court are big and Muncy looked like it could do big things this season as it played outstanding team basketball with assists coming on 20 of the 27 field goals.
“I think it was very important to make a strong debut. We wanted to make a statement on the new floor and I feel like we did. We all worked together as a team,” guard Connor Sassano said after helping spark the defense and adding three assists. “It also feels like it’s a new beginning or turning point in the program spearheaded by Coach Gresh. It felt amazing getting revenge because for me and my teammates that was on our minds throughout the whole offseason. There wasn’t a moment we didn’t think about how that game ended.”
Muncy showed it is ready to turn that ending into an exciting new chapter as it scored 14 or more points in each quarter while holding Montgomery (0-2) to single digits each time. Three players scored in double figures, the bench came up big and Muncy broke open the game with a big second quarter run, taking a 42-18 halftime lead.
A team with the potential for excellent balance had different players heating up at different times. Branson Eyer scored 20 points, Max Rymsza 18 and Giovanni Persun 14. Loudon Boring, Joe Edkin and Micahel Fry shined off the bench and Boring’s second-quarter stifling defense played a key role in Muncy taking control.
“We left last season with a bad taste in our mouths. It cost us playoffs and those are things we have to learn from. It was definitely on their minds,” Gresh said. “That was a good start. That’s what we needed to get our season kicked off.”
“There is a ton of excitement because we know what we can do as a team and we know each other’s individual strengths,” Sassano said. “There is absolutely five weapons on the floor at all times on the offensive side as well or even more defensively.”
Montgomery gave defending District 4 Class A champion a good battle in the first half of its opener Saturday, but Rymsza hit three second-quarter 3-pointers and Muncy started clicking. Rymsza scored the team’s first 11 points that quarter, Eyer the next eight and the 25-9 run put Montgomery on the ropes.
The knockout blow came in the third quarter when Persun (8 rebounds) took over inside and helped Muncy open a 34-point lead. Persun helped Muncy dominate the boards and Eyer grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds while cousin Ross Eyer pulled down 10 in addition to dealing four assists. Rymsza and Sassano combined for 10 rebounds.
Muncy also made 18 of 33 shots during the middle quarters, efficiently working the ball around and setting each other up for quality shots. A team which featured four new starters last year now is accustomed to playing together and that showed all night against Montgomery.
“All of them can score but what I liked was the 20 assists on 27 field goals. That’s the key. There were different times when different people took over and fed the hot hand,” Gresh said. “That’s important. That’s easy to teach but not always easy to accept and they did a really good job with that.”
Branson Eyer made a big impact as a freshman last year and showed what makes him so dangerous throughout the game, stuffing the stat sheet and skillfully running the offense. Eyer made seven steals and added five assists to go along with his 20 points and 13 rebounds. He also had a double-double by midway through the third quarter.
“It’s nothing flashy, he’s just consistent and Branson works his butt off,” Gresh said. “You can’t ask for more from a kid.”
Maurice Walters started strong for Montgomery and scored eight of his 10 points in the first half. Logan Almeida added eight points and three steals while Austin Kuhn produced eight points and two steals.
Logan Almeida 3 2-4 8, Maurice Walters 5 0-0 10, Coltin Hans 0 2-2 2, Austin Kuhn 3 1-1 8, Noah Gearhart 0 0-0 0, Gavin Moore 1 0-0 2, Jacob Utter 2 0-0 4, Brent Leon 0 0-0 0, Braiden Beachel 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 5-7 34.
Branson Eyer 7 6-9 20, Ross Eyer 3 1-2 7, Conner Sassano 1 1-2 4, Max Rymsza 6 3-3 18, Giovanni Persun 5 4-6 14, Loudon Boring 1 0-0 2, Joe Edkin 2 2-4 6, Michael Fry 2 0-0 4. Totals 27 17-26 75.
Montgomery 9 9 9 7-34
Muncy 17 25 19 14-75
3-pointers: Montgomery 1 (Kuhn); Muncy 4 (Rymsza 3, Sassano).
JV Score: Muncy, 42-28.
Records: Muncy (1-0, 1-0 Mid-Penn), Montgomery (0-2, 0-2)