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MC Tames Golden Tigers
Feb. 6, 2016
Seniors key romp over Hollidaysburg
February 6, 2016, Lewistown Sentinel Save |
LEWISTOWN - The Mifflin County girls' basketball team came into Friday's senior night contest needing a victory to keep its playoff hopes alive.
The Huskies and Coach Roger Herto have to win their last four games - or at least the three District 6 opponents - to earn a spot in the District 6 Class AAAA playoffs.
After Friday's 62-42 non-league victory over Hollidaysburg, it's one down with three road games to go for Mifflin County to reach the goal.
Sentinel photo by MATT?STRICKER
Mifflin County’s Maggie Wilson (12) attempts a shot while being defended by Holidaysburg’s Coleen Murphy (5).
On a night when seniors Jessa Wright, Maggie Wilson, Katelyn Arnold, Ali Herto, Mackenzie Roush and Joselyn Walters played their final game in the Husky gym, Mifflin County started the game flat and out of sorts. Luckily, for the home team, the Golden Tigers reciprocated.
Missed shots, plenty of turnovers and shaky play marked a disjointed first half that saw the Huskies take a 28-21 lead into the break. Wilson and Wright, who both finished with 19 points, had nine points each in the first half to pace Mifflin County (8-11).
Mackenzie Wilkinson led Hollidaysburg (8-11) with 10 of her 15 points in the first half. She also pulled down 15 rebounds.
"This wasn't a regular senior night. This was a must-win ball game for us. I think both of those aspects played a role," Herto said. "You want the kids to do well on senior night and I think early in the game we were kind of feeling ourselves out a little bit. I felt like at the end of the first quarter we should have been up big. Offensively, we weren't in sync and we were clogging the lane too much. Once we slowed down and hit a couple of shots the pressure that was on their shoulders you could feel it kind of leave. That was key to the win. They realized they could relax and just play."
Mifflin County broke the game open in third quarter, outscoring Hollidaysburg 22-10 behind eight points each from the dynamic duo of Wright and Wilson. The dominant quarter gave the Huskies a commanding 50-31 advantage.
"It was good to see us come out in the second half and do what we needed to do. That's a team right there that's in the district playoffs. For us we need to finish business here," Herto said. "We have three games to go but none is more important than Central Mountain on Tuesday. I thought defensively we really played well. Rylie Rittenhouse and Ali Herto played the best defense I've seen them play.
"We've got ourselves pushed into the corner as far as we can go. I told them the most important thing was this game. I'm just glad they got it. I saw some things like extra passes made and we are better when we do that. I told them coming out of the half, they are either going to come back or we are going to put our foot on the pedal and that's what we did."
The difference was a 17-3 run over a six-minute span with Wilson scoring six points and dishing out three assists.
"Tonight was such a mix of emotions. We had some sad emotions coming in with senior night but we also are looking toward the future," Wilson said. "Tonight being the last night we would play on this court was huge for me and all the seniors. As much as it was a sad moment, we knew we needed this win tonight. It was a huge win and the victory makes tonight so much better.
"At halftime, coach (Herto) pulled us together and said if you rebound, that's the key to this game, if you do that you'll blow this team out. That's what we started to do we rebounded better. We put pressure on the guards because they were a little weak. They couldn't get the ball into their bigs and that helped us. The pressures on us we need to focus and take it one game at a time."
Herto choked back tears talking about the eight seniors, including managers Marissa Byler and Courtney Page.
"Typically on senior night I would address each kid individually when I talk about them in front of the group but I couldn't do it because I wouldn't have made it through it," an emotional Herto said. "A lot of these kids grew up in our house. This is a special group since seventh grade they were playing against each other. This is the last group to graduate who played in the blue and white (of Lewistown) and the red and black (of Indian Valley).
"The bonds that they formed and watching them grow and mature. This group is a very mature group. I know they are going to be successful in whatever they do. These kids are very special to me and I hope this doesn't end for a few more weeks. I love the way they play basketball too but you couldn't find better people."
Walters, playing on a bad foot, turned in a few minutes and scored a bucket late in the fourth quarter.
"I did want to say about one of our seniors, Joss Walters, who is done for the year with a bad foot, got cleared to play just a minute or two tonight," Herto said. "Jessa (Wright) gave up her starting spot to let Joss go in and start a game and she scored a basket. People see them as basketball players, but I see them every day and they are a great bunch of kids."
The Huskies lost the JV game 47-42. Mifflin County travels to Central Mountain on Tuesday.
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