MIDDLETOWN, Pa- After turning his ankle in the Lions' season-opener and battling the injury ever since, Penn State Harrisburg senior forward Dave Reisinger (Harrisburg, PA/Central Dauphin East) turned in his strongest performance of the year in the team's 95-82 victory over conference foe Penn State Abington on Sunday, Jan. 29. The CD East alum started his first game since the New Year and dropped a career-high 29 points on the visitors.
The game was close throughout the entire first half and neither team was able to gain a significant advantage. The Lions' largest lead came when Amani Glenn (Harrisburg, PA/Central Dauphin East) hit a layup to make it 21-13 at the 10:54 mark.
But Abington fought back and took its first lead of the afternoon when Max Alton (Pennington, NJ/Hopewell Valley) hit a three-ball with six minutes remaining in the first half. Alton provided the assist on Abington's next three-pointer, this one by Mike Colacci (Middlesex, NJ/Middlesex) that stretched the visitors' advantage to six.
But Penn State Harrisburg showed poise and used a 7-0 run to retake the lead and keep things close as the half wound down. But just when it seemed like the Lions had gained some breathing room, Abington's Josh Howard (Bensalem, PA/Bensalem) netted a shot from beyond the arc to tie things up at 39 heading into the break.
The visitors displayed the power of the three-ball as they poured in an incredible 9-14 shots from downtown in the first half alone.
That trend continued in the second as Abington's first two field goals of the half came from beyond the arc.
Things were tight at the 11:08 mark. Penn State Harrisburg trailed 64-61 and the visitors had already hit two more three-pointers to that point. From there, the Lions used their trademark up-tempo offense and stifling defense to turn the tide and go on a decisive 18-3 scoring run. The blue and white grabbed seven steals during a span of just over five minutes and converted four easy buckets in transition to seal the win and end any chance Abington had of making a run at a South Division crown.
Senior captain Kenton Alston (Harrisburg, PA/Steel-High) was extremely impressive. He netted 17 points on 7-10 shooting from the field, grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds, blocked two shots, including a Will Alton (Pennington, NJ/Hopewell Valley) attempt he sent into the fifth row, and added four steals.
Will Doyle's (Franklin, VA/Tidewater Academy) recent string of stellar outings continued as he scored 16, corralled ten boards and dished out a team-best six assists. Steve Jones (Harrisburg, PA/Harrisburg) was tenacious as usual, dropping ten points on Abington, collecting eight rebounds and gathering in a game-high six steals to up his NCAA Division III nation-leading average to 4.5 per game.
Jordan Gatchell (Manheim, PA/Manheim Central) went 4-4 from the charity stripe to improve his team-leading free throw percentage to an impeccable 89 percent on the year. Glenn chipped in with 11 points, five boards and three steals.
All eyes were fixed on Reisinger's effort, however. The ex-Panther was ferocious in the paint and outplayed Abington's highly-skilled and dangerous freshman big man Mike Marvin (Horsham, PA/Hotboro-Horsham).
The play of the day* came when Penn State Harrisburg broke the visitors' press and Reisinger jammed home an electrifying one-handed dunk off a perfectly-placed alley-oop pass from Jones midway through the first half. It was evident at that point that the big man was in for a great showing.
The win improved the Lions to 15-4 on the year and most importantly, kept them undefeated in conference play and tightened the team's hold on first place in the North Eastern Athletic Conference's (NEAC) South Division standings.
Penn State Harrisburg is 8-0 in conference play and can take another step towards clinching a division title when the team heads to Lancaster Bible on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
*Video courtesy of Penn State Harrisburg public address announcer Jason Noll