Everyone waited to see a milestone reached as Juniata Valley hosted Moshannon Valley Friday. Late in the second quarter, Quinn Zinobile slammed home the two points that gave him 1,001 for his career in a 71-43 win over the Black Knights on Senior Night.
Juniata Valley (14-5, 12-2 ICC) quickly had the game under control and worked to get the ball to Zinobile and the nine points he was after. Sitting one point away, it took a handful of shots before his signature two-hand slam dunk put him where he wanted to be in career game number 84.
“I didn’t really care if I got it or not,” Zinobile said of where his mindset was before the season. “I just wanted to continue winning games coming off a good season for football. We wanted the same thing for basketball.
“I was happy my last one was a dunk. Cameron (Collins) and the whole team were trying to get my last points to be a dunk.”
Seniors Zinobile, Collins, Jaxson Rand, Devin Deihl, and Nolan Reihart were recognized before the game. Collins finished with 20 points and Rand scored 10. Deihl sank three treys and Reihart rebounded well.
“We got everybody active tonight. That was the key,” Juniata Valley head coach TJ Anderson said.
The Hornets built a 19-0 lead in the first quarter. That took the pressure of the game itself off to some degree as everyone looked to get Zinobile in position to score.
Grant Musser came off the bench and scored eight of his 13 points in the opening period. Collins had seven and Zinobile six as the Hornets led 26-8 after one.
Deihl opened the second period with a three-pointer. Moshannon Valley then made four threes in a row, with Michael Kitko hitting three of them. That made the score 29-20.
After missing a pair of free throws, Zinobile scored on the fast break to put himself one point away from 1,000. His shots weren’t falling and finally he took a quick break on the bench.
“I was getting a little nervous there. I couldn’t get anything to go in the hoop. I decided to let coach take me out for a little bit, let me get my mind right, then I came right back in,” explained Zinobile.
Zinobile got the ball in the open court for a nice jam to break 1,000, but he was called for traveling. Finally the opportunity came after a steal by Deihl. He made the long pass to Zinobile who planted his feet and slammed the ball home to reach 1,000 points.
“He (Zinobile) got it in his own style. He cocked that thing back,” Anderson remarked. “It was a great night.”
Zinobile’s dunk was the last basket of the half and the Hornets were up 39-20. Valley scored the first six points of the third quarter. Juniata Valley went out to a 56-32 lead with one quarter remaining.
In the final period Zinobile put down a 360-spin for a 64-37 lead. The Hornets finished off the 71-43 win. The Knights (2-17, 2-13 ICC) have lost 14 in a row.
Barry Chamberlain had 22 points and Caden Rupert 16 in an 81-35 win for the Hornet jayvee.
Juniata Valley starts a four-game week at Penns Valley Monday.