HUNTINGDON, Pa.-The Juniata men's basketball team defeated Wilson, 78-71, in the semifinal of the 27th Annual Doc Greene Tournament Friday evening in Memorial Gymnasium.
40 seconds into the contest, Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa. / Bishop Carroll) nailed a three from the right wing to notch the 1000 point of his career and open the scoring. Two possessions later Paul Martello (York, Pa. / York Catholic) found Martinazzi on the opposite wing, and he hit another three to double the lead. Marcus Hall (York, Pa. / Trinity) grabbed an offensive board and laid it back in before Nicholas Albert (Herndon, Va. / Westfield High) found the bottom of the net from behind the three-point line as Juniata led 11-0. Wilson quickly called timeout.
It took another minute before Wilson finally scored via a layup, with Cameron Keck (Waynesboro, Pa. / Waynesboro) scoring on the opposite end to push the lead back to double digits. Wilson started to find a rhythm over the next several minutes, taking the lead at 15-14.
The teams went back and forth as they traded the lead four times over the final nine minutes of the first half. Nate DaCanal (Johnsonburg, Pa. / Elk County Catholic) found Jake Holsopple (Duncansville, Pa. / Hollidaysburg) for a layup to make it 31-30 and that was the score at halftime.
The Eagles held Wilson to 34.4% percent shooting from the field in the first half.
Juniata ran the shot clock down on the opening possession of the second half, with Martello driving left before pulling up and rattling home a long two. On the next offensive possession, he found Hall inside for a layup and finally nailed another jumper as he helped the Eagles to seven points in a little over a minute. Some nice big to big passing from Hall to Holsopple resulted in a Holsopple layup. He returned the favor on the next possession, finding Hall for a short jumper to make it 41-33. A jumper from Martinazzi and another Holsopple layup pushed the Eagle lead to 12, 45-33.
A DaCanal offensive rebound tip-in finish surrounded by Wilson defenders pushed the lead to 16, 60-44 with 10 and a half minutes to go.
The Eagles led by as many as 17, but the Phoenix did not stay down, and with two and half minutes to go they narrowed JC's lead down to six, 72-66. A foul shot from Wilson narrowed it to five with a little under two minutes to go.
Martinazzi went six for six from the line down the stretch to ice the game for the Eagles they won, 78-71 to advance to the championship game where they will face Lebanon Valley.
The Eagles held a narrow 43-42 edge on the glass and small 28-24 advantage with points in the paint.
Tipoff for the championship game against Lebanon Valley on Saturday is at 4:00.