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First-game jitters might not be expected from a Red Lion boys' basketball team that brought three returning starters and five seniors into the season-opening Bobcat Tip-Off Classic Friday evening at Northeastern High School.

Whatever was the case, the Lions found themselves down by seven points after the opening quarter and trailing by as many as 12 in the second quarter against Solanco.

"We looked tight and didn't seem to have a lot of energy," Red Lion coach Steve Schmehl said. "I was surprised a little bit. We have some seniors and have been through this before. I didn't think that would happen. Credit Solanco. They made some plays and made things difficult for us."

But Red Lion rallied in the third quarter as junior Gary Hunt scored all 10 of his points during those eight minutes, propelling the Lions to a 53-47 come-from-behind win. Northeastern used a 30-point opening quarter in the second game to breeze to an 86-43 win against Northern York.

"We just needed to relax a bit," Schmehl said. "Relax and play our game. Gary (Hunt) helped key that run and made some big shots for us."

That sets up a Red Lion vs. Northeastern matchup for the championship Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Solanco and Northern York will meet in the consolation game at 6 p.m.

Red Lion made just 7-of -2 shots in the first half against Solanco while the rebounding and turnover numbers were nearly equal. Lions senior forward Wyatt Tyson scored seven of his team-high 14 points in the second quarter to keep Red Lion within eight at the half.

The Lions looked like a different team in the third quarter, erupting for 21 points and taking the lead for the first time in the game on a 3-pointer from the left corner by Hunt with 1:23 remaining.

Solanco trailed by three heading into the final quarter. The Mules briefly regained the lead at 45-44 after a three-point play with 1:46 left by senior guard Desmond Kreider, but back-to-back layups by Red Lion senior guard Bennett Frey put the Lions ahead to stay. Red Lion iced the game with 5-of-6 free throw shooting in the final minute.

"I thought if we could get the lead, we could build on it, but Solanco never went away," Schmehl said. "The big kid (6-foot-8 Dylan Hastings) was tough, and they had some other kids that could throw down shots."

Northeastern didn't wait as long as the Lions to put its game away. The Bobcats raced out to a 20-point lead after the opening quarter.

"That's important," said Northeastern coach Jon Eyster. "We want to do that for four quarters."

Senior guard Donovian Maxfield scored 10 of his 18 points in that first quarter as the Bobcats connected on 9-of-13 shot attempts and harassed Northern York into seven turnovers.

Six-foot-five senior Kobi Nwandu had 11 of his game-high 23 points in the second half as Northeastern continued to pull away from the Polar Bears. Sophomore Antonio Rizzuto came off the bench to add 15 points for the Bobcats.

"Antonio has played a lot of basketball," Eyster said. "He is aggressive. He's been struggling a bit in our scrimmages and practices. Thinking too much. I thought in this game, he just played. I expected that to happen. I thought he played pretty well. Most of our kids got in and played hard."

Red Lion 53, Solanco 47

Solanco (47)

Desmond Kreider 4 5-5 14, Taylor Dombach 5 0-0 11, Luis Alvarez 2 0-0 4, Dylan Hastings 4 2-8 11, Mike Figueroa 0 0-0 0, Colin Kilgore 1 0-2 2, Robbie McHugh 2 0-0 5, Mike Worthington 0 0-0 0, Aaron Constein 0 0-0 0, John Rush 0 0-0 0, Derek Lavin 0 0-0 0. Totals — 18 7-15 47.

Red Lion (53)

Bennett Frey 6 1-4 13, Kendrick Boyd-Gillespie 0 1-2 1, Wyatt Tyson 4 6-8 14, Ryan Schreckengast 1 2-2 5, Jason Rebuck 2 1-2 6, Gary Hunt 4 0-2 10, Jamal Foster 2 0-0 4, Derek Urey 0 0-0 0. Totals — 19 11-20 53.

Solanco _ 14 _ 14 _ 10 _ 9 _ — _ 47  

Red Lion _ 7 _ 13 _ 21 _ 12 _ — _ 53  

3-point goals — Solanco 4 (Kreider, Dombach, Hastings, McHugh); Red Lion 4 (Hunt 2, Schreckengast, Rebuck).

Northeastern 86, Northern York 43

Northern York (43)

Ryan McGill 1 0-1 3, Eric Jacobs 4 3-4 14, Nick Sacoman 2 0-0 5, Scott Leitholf 2 0-0 4, Jack Walsh 1 0-0 2, Jared Kearns 0 0-0 0, Ryan Heisey 4 0-1 10, Michael Ginder 1 0-0 2, Dominic Topper 0 2-6 2, Owen Clendaniel 0 0-0 0, Kozain 0 0-0 0, Zech 0 1-2 1. Totals — 15 6-14 43.

Northeastern (86)

Donovian Maxfield 5 5-6 18, Marcus Josey 1 0-0 2, Jeff Reynolds 2 1-1 5, Kobi Nwandu 8 7-9 23, Jordan Zirkle 1 0-0 2, Brandon Coleman 3 0-0 6, Antonio Rizzuto 6 1-2 15, Austin Green 0 1-2 1, Jeremiah McCarter 4 0-0 9, Jonathan Butler 0 0-0 0, Fred Mulbah 1 3-4 5, Brett Hersh 0 0-0 0, Kevin Moody 0 0-0 0, Todd Opondo 0 0-0 0. Totals — 31 18-24 86.

Northern York _ 10 _ 20 _ 7 _ 6 _ — _ 43  

Northeastern _ 30 _ 21 _ 20 _ 15 _ — _ 86  

3-point goals — Northern York 7 (Heisey 2, McGill, Jacobs 3, Sacoman), Northeastern 6 (Maxfield 3, Rizzuto 2, McCarter).

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