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Feb 22, 2018 - Lady Huskie's Season Ends in District Semi-Final
Little Lions dispatch Huskies, again
State College ends Huskies’ stellar season
FEB 22, 2018 ARTHUR DOWELL Sentinel sports
LEWISTOWN — Wednesday’s District 6 Class 6A girls basketball game left Mifflin County fans with an eerie feeling similar to 2017’s playoff game between the Huskies and State College.
Wednesday’s game also ended in familiar fashion.
State College got off to a fast start and carried it to a 50-46 win over Mifflin County, concluding what had otherwise been a stellar campaign for the Huskies.
Mifflin County finished the year 17-6 overall and carried a 10-5 record in the Mid-Penn Conference. It was the program’s best season to date in terms of overall wins since joining the Mid-Penn Conference. The school record of 18 wins was achieved under Kevin Kodish in its first year of existence when the Huskies played an independent schedule of mostly smaller schools.
The Huskies were able to overcome slow starts and bigger deficits all season long. Unfortunately, a few things just wouldn’t go their way for long stretches of play.
“I think the key to the game was we didn’t shoot well,” Mifflin County coach Roger Herto said. “In the first quarter, we were a little rattled but after that, we settled down. For the most part, I thought we got off some pretty nice shots that we would normally make and tonight they didn’t.”
After trailing by as many as 12 points, Mifflin County mounted a late comeback against the Little Lions.
With just over two minutes to play, Rylie Rittenhouse tied the game for the first time all night with a 3-pointer from beyond the right side of the arc.
The 3-point goal knotted the game at 46, but that was all the further the Huskies could get in their comeback.
“Our kids did fight back,” Herto said. “This crowd, this atmosphere tonight was tremendous. Our student section was absolutely awesome and everything you could want in a game. That helped us in the comeback, but unfortunately, we couldn’t do anything in the final minute or two minutes of the game to get over that hump.”
Nervousness was apparent for both squads with so much at stake late in the game.
After that bucket, the Lions were called for traveling and the Huskies were looking to keep momentum on their side — but couldn’t after missing a rushed go-ahead attempt from behind the arc.
The Huskies then fouled State College, which drew a five-second violation on the inbound pass, giving the ball right back to the Huskies — who again couldn’t get the go-ahead shot to drop. That put the ball back into the hands of the Lions with fewer than 30 seconds left in the game.
State College had a clear advantage in both rebounding and turnovers throughout much of game, but it was Mifflin County’s fouling that helped ice the game — not that it was new; the Huskies had more fouls (5) than field goals (3) in the first quarter alone.
“Unfortunately a foul called there with 18 seconds left allowed them to go to the line and shoot,” Herto said. “I’m not saying it’s a bad call, but it was unfortunate because they got some big free throws and we came down trying to work something that didn’t quite work the way we wanted and that’s how it ended.”
Lexi Risha made both of her free throws and moments later after Mifflin County again missed a field goal that would have tied the game.
The Huskies weren’t in foul trouble and because of that had to foul twice to send Elizabeth Czekai to the line for a 1-and-1 — where she sunk both.
Czekai was one of three girls — the others were Kelsey Love and Maya Bokunewicz — to have double-digit scoring performances for State College.
Bokunewicz’s game-high 19 points came as no surprise to Herto. It was Love’s and Czekai’s 11-point nights that came as a shock.
“I thought that was key in the game. Love and Czekai shot the ball better than they had earlier in the year,” he said. “Those kids shot better than normal as a team, and we didn’t. If I had to pinpoint one thing, (their) points would be the difference. Bokunewicz typically scores 15, but those two … were very big in this game.”
Not to be forgotten are the contributions Mifflin County got from Eleana Eckley (18 points) and Rylie Rittenhouse (14 points).
Those two are both part of a six-person package that includes Jenna Fleegal, Alicia Berryman, Jamie Mahigel and Megan Harshbarger that Herto and the team have to say goodbye to — something he isn’t ready for.
“We’re losing six quality kids, and saying goodbye to those six is very difficult,”Herto said. “I just can’t believe four years is up with this group. They all sacrificed in their own ways and worked their butts off. They all played hard everyday, and had to sacrifice playing time based on my decisions, and they always put the team first.”
Herto isn’t one to look ahead to the future — at least not this early — but if there’s one thing that swings in the Huskies’ favor, it’s that he has 60 percent of his starters — Hannah Aumiller, Molly Wagoner and Emma Yeager — returning next winter.
Wagoner’s offense has caught up to her defense as of late, helping her finish with nine points and five blocks in the contest.
Feb 11, 2018 - Altoona Edges Mifflin County
Lady Lions get 1 seed
FEB 11, 2018 For the Mirro By Jon Fleck For the Mirror
Mifflin County and Altoona entered Saturday’s game one-two, respectively, in the District 6 Class 6A rankings, but the Lady Lions were close enough that a win would clinch the top spot entering the playoffs.
Altoona broke open a close game late in the third quarter with a 15-1 run and held on for a 53-49 win at the AAHS Fieldhouse to secure a spot in the district championship game.
“We told them this team is not going to lie down for you. It’s for the number one seed. It’s really going to be a battle, and it was,” Altoona coach Miriam Colledge said. “People had to step up. It was another playoff caliber basketball game. Tight the whole way. They fought us tooth and nail down to the very end.”
Olivia Hudson scored a team-high 17 points, and Bridgid Fox had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Jess Stevens scored in double digits as well with 11 points.
“The difference in the game was (Hudson). Their game revolves around her. As a coach you’re a fool if you don’t make it revolve around her,” MC coach Roger Herto said. “I told her going through the line after the game that she’s a difference maker. She’s athletic, but not just that. She has good judgment. She’s a good, solid player.”
After Fox scored on a driving layup midway through the third, Altoona had a 33-30 lead, but Rylie Rittenhouse made 1-of-2 foul shots and scored on a driving layup of her own to tie the game.
Molly Wagoner then blocked a Hudson shot on the defensive end, starting a fast break that ended with Eleana Eckley’s three-point play.
Altoona promptly called timeout to slow the Lady Huskies’ momentum and make a key change.
“We moved some people around and went to our two post players more,”Colledge said. “That started to open the game up for us. Switching up what we were doing was the momentum-changer for us.”
Seniors Jess Stevens, Kayley Burke and Shaina Lear were honored before the game, and all three made big plays during the decisive run.
After Lear made a nice pass out of the high post to Fox for an easy lay-in, and Hudson swished a 3-pointer, Stevens closed out the third quarter with a layup following a Fox miss on the fast break.
“Bridgid had some great layups. I was just following that one in case she missed,” the senior point guard said.
Burke’s layup off another assist from Lear out of the high post to open the fourth quarter continued the run. After Fox scored again down low, the Altoona bench exploded when Stevens drained a long 3-pointer for a 10-point lead with 5:44 left.
“It’s so exciting to have my coaches and teammates cheer me on. It’s an amazing feeling,” Stevens said.
Eckley led Mifflin County with a game-high 19 points, and Rittenhouse added 15.
“You can’t discount anyone on their team,” Colledge said. “The two freshmen (Wagoner and Emma Yeager) are nice players for them. Eckley’s really hard to stop. We try to plan for her, but no matter what you do, she just gets her points. Rittenhouse played very well for them.”
The loss dropped Mifflin County into the district semifinal game against State College. The winner of that game plays Altoona for district gold.
“Everything we got we really had to fight for. I’m proud of that, but the bottom line is we didn’t get a win. Our kids feel like we could do that. For us right now, it’s making sure we have another opportunity to play this team,”Herto said. “We’ll be better the next time. It’s the first time we’ve seen ’em. We’ll have a slightly different approach. We found out a couple things about some of their other players I didn’t know as much about.”
Altoona closes out the regular season Tuesday at home against Williamsport. The cutoff point to accumulate points in the district standings is Monday, so the outcome has no bearing on the rankings.
Mifflin County’s regular season ended at 17-5.
Feb 7, 2018 - MC Girls Win Home Finale
Huskies get by scrappy Tigers
Eckley and Wagoner score a combined 32
FEB 7, 2018 ARTHUR DOWELL
LEWISTOWN –It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but Mifflin County was able to hold off a pesky Hollidaysburg squad, 56-44, in nonleague girls basketball Tuesday.
The Huskies had a lead as large as 15 over the Golden Tigers, but thanks to some big 3-pointers in the second half, Hollidaysburg kept itself in the game until late.
“We made some adjustments and we talked about how Mifflin County was outhustling us and getting to the loose balls,” Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck said. “We were hitting the gaps and the people we were kicking it to were hitting their shots in the second half.”
Nobody came up bigger for the Tigers (7-12) in the second half — primarily in the fourth quarter — than Theresa Gildea.
Gildea drained four 3-pointers with three of them dropping in the final eight minutes. Others on the squad began to notice her success and began trying to create some open space and get Gildea the ball in hopes of closing the deficit more.
She finished with 14 points in the contest.
Instead, time wasn’t on the Tigers’ side as poor shooting crept up on the team. That led to Mifflin County getting fouled and going to the free-throw line.
It’s often said that’s where games are won or lost, and the Huskies (17-4, 10-4) dominated at the line by going 18-for-19.
“The foul line has always been our bread and butter,” Mifflin County coach Roger Herto said. “This game though was like trying to spread hard butter on soft bread. It just didn’t go any way we wanted it to, but thankfully it went well at the line.”
The Huskies were led by Eleana Eckley’s 21 points, including a perfect 8-for-8 performance at the line. The performance isn’t atypical of the senior, but even she had her struggles.
Mifflin County battled a turnover bug all night long, getting pocketed by the Tigers all night long and that style of play got into the heads of the Huskies’ offense. It was uncharacteristic to see the Huskies even taking some forced shots that just weren’t there for the taking.
“We did not look real smooth tonight and I know it’s a win, but that was certainly not the way we would have wanted to play in our last home game,”Herto said. “They found a way to make it happen and played well at times, but again, physically, I just thought our enery wasn’t there. Every time they closed in, we had the will to fight them off, but it wasn’t what we needed heading into the postseason.”
The Huskies also got a strong contribution from Molly Wagoner. The freshman used her height to her advantage, coming away with five steals and pair of blocks. She also scored 12 points in the game.
“The best thing about Molly is not that she scored 12 points or some big blocks, but that she’ll be the first one to tell you she should have had 20 tonight,” Herto said. “I know that’s what she’s thinking because she had some opportunities there that she didn’t get. She sets very high goals for herself and that’s what drives her and makes her better.”
As for the Tigers, McKenna Hurd had herself a big first half, scoring 12 of her team-high 16 points before the break.
Hurd was all over the court, trying to make things happen both offensively and defensively. That led her into some foul trouble late — she finished with four fouls — but that didn’t worry Jubeck.
“We’ve been there before and we’ve adjusted well,” she said. “She’s been all over the court on both ends and we just need the others to pick it up and feed off of her energy. If we could get five kids to do what she does on the court, we’d be in much better shape down the stretch.”
Both coaches reiterated that adjustments have to be made and both teams have to play hard down the stretch as the playoffs inch closer.
Mifflin County travels to Altoona Saturday.
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