Raiders Grab District 3 Title

Raiders Grab District 3 Title
Posted on 03/16/2021
District Champs


Article by Larry Etter
Photos courtesy of Debbie Spear


Coach Bradford

The Middletown Area High School boys basketball team won the District 3-AAAA Championship on Thursday, March 11, 2021 in a convincing 69-53 victory over Littlestown. The title is the first for the Blue Raiders since the 1992 season and goes along with the Capital Division crown the team claimed on February 26.

Getting to the championship game was not easy, however. The Blue Raiders had to go through league foes Bishop McDevitt (a 78-71 decision in double overtime in the first round) and Susquehanna Township (a tense 51-49 semi-final victory) to make it to the championship game. Fortunately, all three games were held on the Raiders’ home court, thanks to their number two ranking in the district and Littlestown’s upset of number one-ranked Wyomissing.

This championship season was accomplished by excellent coaching and the team’s ability to overcome some adversity that could have wrecked lesser teams. But the Blue Raiders, led by third-year head coach Chris Bradford and assistants Dan Polacheck, Chris Hughes, Andrew Placeres and Jamie Pugh, found ways to win, even when things looked less than ideal at times. Their “never say quit” attitude, along with total team concept and talent, made them champions.

2021 District 3 AAAA ChampsThose attributes were put to the test again on Thursday when the team struggled in the first half against visiting Littlestown, the number 4 seeded team in the district. Having disappointing issues scoring points in the game’s first two periods the Raiders were down 19-21 at the end of the first half and the Thunderbolts were thinking another upset for them was in the making.

Those upset thoughts were quickly dispelled after the halftime break, however, as the Middletown squad erupted for 50, second-half points in a remarkable display of outstanding high school basketball. When the final horn sounded signifying the end of the third quarter the scoreboard accurately reflected just what had happened as the home team led by ten points. And, with a 25-19 scoring advantage in the fourth quarter, the Raiders subdued their guests in the 69-53 title-clinching triumph.

The game’s first quarter ended in a 13-13 deadlock as neither team was able to take control. Both teams shot less than 50% from the floor in the period and Littlestown’s late 13-11 lead was offset by Tymir Jackson’s jumper with 14 ticks left to tie the score. The Raiders struggled on offense again in the second stanza and scored just one basket, a late drive by Tate Leach with 31 seconds left. Four other points came from the free throw line. Littlestown’s rebounding kept the Raiders from getting second shots. The half ended with the visitors holding onto a 21-19 lead, and the Middletown fans were noticeably concerned.

Tony PowellBut that all changed right from the start of the third quarter as the Blue Raiders finally got themselves into a solid offensive rhythm. With 4:55 left in the period the Raiders had blitzed their guests with a dominating 13-0 run that totally changed the game’s atmosphere. Jackson, Tate Leach, T.J. Daniels and Tony Powell collectively turned missed Littlestown shots and turnovers into the pivotal streak that ended with the Raiders well ahead at 32-21. Littlestown’s top player, Jayden Weishaar, broke the string with a pair of foul shots but the guests would get just 6 more points in the period while the home team collected 25. Half of the frame was played with Middletown’s Tajae Broadie on the bench with four fouls, but his teammates, including sub Derek Wall, never missed a beat. The 44-34 lead heading into the final frame set the stage for the winning effort.

The Blue Raiders recorded 13 of their 25, fourth quarter points from the foul line while the Middletown defensive pressure limited the Bolts to 13 total points in the stanza. Weishaar’s trey pulled the Bolts to within ten, 56-46, with 2:22 left but the Raiders followed with a 6-0 run that essentially put the game out of reach at 62-46 with 1:55 on the clock. When the final horn sounded the scoreboard showed the 69-53 final score and the players, coaches and limited number of fans in attendance celebrated the championship. Jackson led the scoring with 20 points, Powell finished with 19, Leach had 10, and Broadie, Daniels and Wall teamed for 20 in the victory.

With the win and the district championship ranking, the Blue Raiders drew a bye in the first round of the state playoffs and are scheduled to host yet another home game on Friday, March 19, 2021 at 7pm. The Raiders will face the winner of the Tuesday night game between Scranton Prep (12-5) and Danville (16-1).



Tyson Leach and Tajae Broadie  Tony Powell  Tajae Broadie 
Tajae Broadie
Tajae Broadie
Tate Leach
Tate Leach
Derek Wall
Derek Wall
TJ Daniels
T.J. Daniels
Tamir Jackson
Tymir Jackson
Tony Powell
Tony Powell

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2021 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.