Second Quarter Surge Propels Eastern York To Second Consecutive Road Win In As Many Nights As Golden Knights Upend Donegal
Written by: Andy Herr on Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
While all teams from within the L-L League likely could not contain their excitement for this past Friday night and the beginning of this season, perhaps there was perhaps no squad more eager to get things underway than the Donegal Indians.
It’s certainly understandable too. After securing a District 3 playoff bid just two seasons ago, last year the Indians were then forced to trudge through the unenviable assignment of a winless season. In short, if an 0-22 overall mark won’t fire you up and light a fire in your tank during the offseason should you find yourself being a returning member of “The Tribe,” simply nothing will. And speaking of fired up, that is precisely what Donegal was this past weekend when they hosted their annual tip-off tournament. Yes, while the Indians did eventually come out the weekend with an 0-2 mark next to their name, neither defeat was certainly anything to sneeze at. That especially rings true when considering both came by a combined total of eleven points, including one of which happened to come in overtime against an up and coming Middletown bunch.
So, with definitive, positive signs clearly there to found coming out of Mount Joy after the opening weekend of the season, the Indians were set to finally right the ship once and for all when they welcomed high-flying Eastern York in a mid-week, nonleague grudge match on Wednesday night against a Golden Knights’ squad fresh off a 60-44 road victory the previous night at fellow YAIAA member, Susquehannock.
That said, this would quickly turn into a night in which the Golden Knights would arrive in Mount Joy and proceed to pillage.
From the outset on Wednesday night, it was evident that Donegal had a clear desire to shrink the game down to size and dictate the pace of play on their terms. Perhaps that is why the opportunities for either side to get out to a sizable lead in the initial minutes were certainly few and far between. Yet even when the Indians left the door open just a crack, a sliver really, the Knights were there to kick the door open and pounce. Case in point, Trevor Seitz’s old-school, traditional, three-point play which put Eastern York up 6-2 with already half the quarter having expired off the clock.
However, to their credit, Donegal would simply refuse to flinch in the early going as the Indians raced back to within a pair following a gorgeous hi-lo set throw by senior guard Patrick Summers into 6’ sophomore forward, Khalil Masden, making it an 8-6 Golden Knights’ lead with 50 seconds left in the opening stanza.
Yet even when it had seemed as if Donegal had finally been able to solve the Eastern York riddle, the Knights would immediately retaliate on their very next offensive possession as 3-ball sunk by way of 5’10 junior guard Tristian Sawmiller allowed the visitors from nearby Wrightsville to head into the second quarter with ownership of the 11-6 advantage.
If there was shining star for which the hometown Indians could hang their hat on Wednesday night, it was without question Khalil Masden. Using a high motor that simply doesn’t seem to have an off switch, the lanky sophomore posed problems inside, seemingly all-night long. And with that in mind, a Masden bucket from point-blank range had quickly trimmed the Eastern York cushion back down to four at 14-10 with 6:10 left before the half.
From that point on however, the game immediately was flipped on its head.
Over the course of the next few minutes, Eastern York steadily and methodically kept piling on to their existing lead. And while putting the ball in the hole is certainly one aspect of it, keeping the lid clamped down on the opposition is a whole ‘nother phase to the game altogether. So, with the Golden Knights being exactly that, golden down on the defensive end, Eastern York was eventually able to see their lead increase all the way up to double digits at 20-10 following a pair of Trevor Seitz free throws with 3:20 left to play before the break.
But from there, the hits just kept coming for Donegal.
Shortly after the Seitz freebies, Tristian Sawmiller proceeded to step out from behind the arc and promptly pop a 3-ball, a bucket which gave the Knights their largest lead of the evening until that point, at 23-12 with the first half starting to draw to a close. Yet even with the clock starting to melt away, that proved to be more than enough time for the Knights to see their lead swell up even further as evidenced by a Jake Crumling jumper on Eastern’s final possession of the first half, allowing the guests to dart off into their dressing room while firmly in command, leading 26-12.
To say that Eastern York started the second half off rather hot would be a bit of an understatement. Well, most specifically Micah Myers to be more exact.
After being the recipient of a sensational pass thrown his way courtesy of Kaleb Corwell at the conclusion of a magnificent set drawn up on the Knights’ first possession of the second half, Eastern’s 6’3 sophomore forward continued to steal the show as the third quarter wore along following his early hoop to start the proceedings. In fact, Myers had helped propel Eastern York out to their largest of the night after his own personal 5-0 run, including a trifecta from downtown, upping the Knights’ lead to 35-12 with roughly two minutes having gone by in the second half.
Fortunately for Donegal, Patrick Summers was on the scene to stop the bleeding for the Indians with a sorely-needed and equal parts nifty pullup jumper around the 5:30 mark of the third. The incredible thing about that deuce? It was Donegal’s first field goal since the aforementioned Khalil Masden bucket inside with 6:10 left to go all the way back in the second quarter.
However, on a night in which the feelings of positivity likely felt like they were overly precious and hard to come by for the Indians’ contingent, it should have probably come as no surprise whatsoever to see Eastern York continue to pour salt into the wound, something Trevor Seitz clearly had no qualms in doing by banking in a triple, good for 3 of his team-high 15 points on the evening, growing the Eastern York lead past the 20-point threshold at 38-15 with 5:06 left in the third.
Sure enough, the Eastern York cushion would continue to hold firm around the 20-point barrier once the third quarter eventually expired with the Knights heading into the final eight minutes still well in command of the final say, 44-23.
As mentioned, Khalil Masden had played all game long with a passion and desire that was clearly infectious for his Donegal teammates to try and conjure up in their own regard. For further proof of that, one only need to look at the opening stages of the second quarter when the Indians’ sophomore proceeded to tally six straight points, coupled with an emphatic rejection down on the defensive end, all while helping slice the Eastern York back under 20 at 48-31. In fact, Masden would help trim the Knights’ lead down to its lowest point on what likely felt like eons with a smooth pullup jumper to make it a 56-40 affair with two minutes left. And once all was said and done, Masden would go on to finish with game-high scoring honors by posting a 21-point outburst.
By that time though, the damage inflicted by Eastern York throughout the entirety of the night was far too much for the hosts to try and overcome, as the Knights were in store for a happy trip home across the Susquehanna River by virtue of their 59-40 triumph over Donegal on Wednesday night.
NEXT UP: Yes, while it may be understandable for Donegal to continue to remain frustrated given their current 0-3 mark coming off a year in which they were locked out of the victory column, the fact of the matter is that the pieces are there — should they round into form —- for Donegal to finally get that elusive first win for this group of Indians to try and build upon for a crew that is so deserving of seeing the ball finally bounce their way one of these nights. Well, first up in terms of that hunt comes a Friday night roadtrip down to Quarryville to tangle with a Golden Mules team that was also winless heading into their Thursday night game against Ephrata.
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