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MC Girls Win Mid-Penn Opener
Dec. 13, 2017
Mifflin County gets by Trojans
Eckley helps Huskies in strong first half
DEC 13, 2017
LEWISTOWN –Mifflin County girls basketball coach Roger Herto had some concerns for his injured squad starting the season with the Huskies having to play five games in eight days.
So far, so good.
The Huskies, behind a strong first half, defeated Chambersburg 67-46 in their home and Mid-Penn Commonwealth opener to remain undefeated at 4-0.
Eleana Eckley led the charge by scoring 36 points a night after she set the program record in the same category (with 38 at Central Mountain).
With both teams rushing to make something happen offensively to start the game and getting little result to show for it, Eckley went off for seven unanswered points as part of an 11-0 run for Mifflin County to get the early separation.
She wound up scoring nine points — which was more than the Trojans had altogether — in the opening quarter.
Her performance did not let up any as she continued the trend of having more points scored herself than Chambersburg saw in the first 16 minutes. The Trojans went into the half with 15 points while Eckley had 16.
With an injury to Rylie Rittenhouse to start the campaign for Mifflin County, there has been more asked out of Eckley than usual. She hasn’t disappointed any.
Herto is most pleased with the production he’s gotten out of the star senior — a trio of 30-point performances in the team’s first four games — but says he’s enjoyed something even more about her game. Something that won’t show up in a boxscore.
“Eleana has gotten a lot smarter, and she’s also worked her butt off,” he said. “The thing with Eleana is talent is a great thing, but it also sometimes is a tough thing coaching wise because she’s one of those that can sometimes rely on talent. The difference this year is she’s no longer doing that. She’s a better thinker on the floor, she picks her spots and realizes she can’t win every battle and needs to pick and choose what’s there, and I’m really impressed with how well she’s handled herself.”
With Trojans getting the better of the two teams in the second half, Eckley made sure to one-up her performance in the first half by scoring 20 in the final two quarters.
Her 36 points — and 38 scored 24 hours prior — both exceed her previous record, now the third-most points scored in a contest, 35, which was a school record at the time when she did it last year.
“Her rebounding, her steals, her effort and diving on the floor is the type of player she is,” Herto said. “Eleana loves a challenge and that really showed up in the first game of the season, and hasn’t really dialed it down since.”
Eckley had a strong supporting cast throughout the game with both Hannah Aumiller and Molly Wagoner finishing with nine points.
Wagoner, along with Emma Yeager, are two freshmen Herto expects to get significant playing time this season. Neither of the two started Tuesday night, but were put into the game with roughly four minutes of playing time taken off the board.
The team’s inexperience showed in the second half.
“My only thing with today is we played a decent first half, but in the second half, we kind of mailed it in and didn’t look all that sharp,” Herto said. “It could be fatigue since they could be a little tired, but we could certainly play much better than we did in the second half.”
The Trojans outscored the Huskies 31-29 in the second half with three players — Gabby LeCuona, Alyssa Wenger and Ashley Adams — finishing with 10-plus points.
The Huskies have been on the go without practice to start the season, and look to have its first set of practices this week before welcoming Carlisle on Friday.
“It’ll be good to get a couple of days of practice in. I can’t emphasize enough that when you don’t get enough practice, you’re making evaluations on the fly, and don’t have enough time to make the necessary adjustments,” Herto said. “We need to get better at playing every team to the best of our abilities, and we have to do a much better job of keeping our intensity up and staying focused on the things we need to do. We have to do that before we travel to State College, Cumberland Valley and Williamsport next week.”
Mifflin County also won the JV game, 46-32. Kolbi Knode had 11 points for the Huskies.
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