NEB falls to Muncy in AA title game.

By: Chris Manning | Towanda Daily Review | March 1, 2018 | Photo courtesy Chris Manning

NEB falls to Muncy in AA title game.

MANSFIELD – Northeast Bradford got the same looks as they did in the semi-final against Wyalusing last Saturday.

But against Muncy Thursday they didn't go down.

Those first half misses put them in a hole that couldn't dig out of and ultimately lost to Muncy 52-39 in the District IV, Class AA boys' basketball title game.

"I thought we had really great looks in the first half," said NEB coach Paul Burgert. "We didn't hit. Then in the second half they tightened up and we didn't get the same looks. It could have been a different game but that's the way it goes. Sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes it doesn't."

It was a struggle throughout for NEB's offense but they managed to stay in contact with Muncy at the half, down just 29-21.

But a 14-5 run by the Indians in the third proved too much for NEB.

Zak Smith had 18 points to lead the Panthers while Andy Crown added 14. Chaz LaBarre netted five and Nick Shaffer had a put back for two points.

Nate Paisley and Noah Rymsza both had 18 points to lead Muncy while Matt Coyner added 11. Dylan Wilt scored three and Kolby Moyer added two.

Muncy came out strong as they took an 8-2 lead off the tip, punctuated by back to back threes.

NEB went on a 5-2 run of their own to cut it to 10-7 but the Indians finished the quarter strong, out scoring NEB 7-2 to take a 17-9 lead after one.

They would extend that lead to 21-12 early in the second but back to back jumpers by Crown and LaBarre cut it to 21-16.

Muncy followed with back to back buckets of their own but a Smith three kept NEB in the game.

The two teams traded baskets down the stretch, with Paisley hitting a buzzer beater to make it a 29-21 lead at the midpoint.

Out of the half Muncy came on strong, using an 8-2 lead to open up a 37-24 lead on the Panthers. They would finish the quarter strong, 6-2, to take a 43-26 lead.

NEB only had one field goal, a long LaBarre jumper, in the quarter.

In the fourth the Panthers tried to chip away, scoring the first five points to cut it to 43-31 while Muncy was content to run clock.

But NEB couldn't get that one big basket to get it to single digits and a Paisley driving lay-up four minutes into the quarter got Muncy's offense going again. The Indians would go on to out score NEB 9-8 the rest of the way to pull out the win and the district title.

This is NEB's second straight district title appearance but this year's team looks a lot different than last year's senior laden squad.

Smith is the only rotation player from last year while this year's group started three sophomores in the title game.

"This is great," Burgert said. "Obviously you lose some seniors who you love but we bring back such a good core of kids this is a great stepping stone for them."

The Panthers aren't done yet as they will play in a state game next weekend.

And Burgert knows the one area he would like to see an improvement.