HUNTINGDON, Pa.-The Juniata men's basketball team heads into the new year on a high note as they defeated visiting Bethany, 71-58, in the consolation game of the Juniata Holiday Tournament sponsored by Comfort Inn.
Jake Holsopple (Duncansville, Pa. / Hollidaysburg) got things started for the Eagles with a layup after the Bison opened the scoring with a pair of free throws. Paul Martello (York, Pa. / York Catholic) found Holsopple for a layup to make it 4-2. Martello intercepted a Bethany pass and hit a streaking Holsopple for an uncontested layup. The teams went back and forth over the next several minutes, with Martello, Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa. / Bishop Carroll) and Nathan Markey (York, Pa. / Central York) converting inside the arc while Holsopple drilled a three from the top of the key. With 12 and half minutes to go, Bethany took the lead, 18-17. Layups from Holsopple and Hall kept the Eagles close. Another Holsopple bucket off a nice pass from Noah Neville (Westminster, Md. / North Carroll) made it 23-22. A Nate DaCanal (Johnsonburg, Pa. / Elk County Catholic) drive started some nice ball movement that culminated in Markey swinging the ball to an open Martinazzi at the top of the arc for a three. Martello followed with a triple of his own before Martinazzi canned another as suddenly Juniata led 32-22.
The Bison hung around, and an inside score cut the Eagle lead to two, 34-32 with a little over three minutes to go. Neville again found Holsopple down low and Martello scored inside to make it 38-32 with just under two minutes to go. Neither team scored down the stretch until the very end. Bethany missed a three with nine seconds to go, Holsopple corralled the rebound and flipped it ahead to Markey who was fouled while trying to lay it in. He converted both foul shots to send the Eagles into the half up eight, 40-32.
The Eagles never let the Bison get closer than eight in the second half as they nursed their lead to the end.
Juniata shot 45.0% from the field while holding Bethany to 34.0% shooting. The Eagles also held a 42-32 advantage on the glass and a 30-8 advantage on points in the paint.
Markey tallied a career-high 13 points while Martinazzi was named to the all-tournament team.
Juniata does not play again until the new year when they will host Lancaster Bible on the second. Tip-off is at 7:00.