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Bellefonte battles but falls late to Wildcats

By Kenny Varner

BELLEFONTE – In the second time in as many weeks, the Bellefonte boys basketball team did battle with Mifflinburg.
Over the holiday break, the two met in the championship game of the Ram Winter Jam.
In the first contest, the Red Raiders lost in the final seconds after a nail biting affair.
Monday’s game was just as close as it took the final minute to decide who the winner would be.
In the end, the Wildcats found a way to win once again, winning 60-54 at the Bellefonte high school gym.
Bellefonte coach Chris Glunt rotated 10 players through the rotation and liked the effort.
“We went 10 deep tonight and the guys contributed. Unfortunately, we came up a little short,” Glunt said. “The effort was there we just got to eliminate a couple mistakes. We have to get some stops defensively. We just got to keep working hard.”
Bellefonte was led in scoring by Center Caleb Rockey who finished with 13 and collected 5 rebounds. Teammate Ben McCartney, who notched two triples, finished with a 10-point effort.
Tanner Stoltzfus had the hot hand for the Wildcats as he posted a game high 22 points. He was strong down the stretch from the charity stripe where he finished going 11-15. Teammate Levi Yoder finished with 14.
Going into the final stanza, Mifflinburg held a 47-43 advantage .
Stoltzfus led off the scoring hitting one-of-two, upping it to 48-43.
Rockey led his team back, cutting it to a 3-point advantage after hitting two from the charity stripe.
Bellefonte forced a turnover and got the ball into the hands of Joey Maggs. Maggs roped a clutch basket, making it a one-point Wildcats’ lead, at 4:15.
Mifflinburg called a time out to regroup and did just that.
Wildcat floor leaderJordan Tyson, who found himself in trouble for most of the game, went to the hoop and was fouled. He hit 1-of-2, putting the lead back to two points with 3:54.
After a turnover on the Red Raiders turn on offense, the ball went back to Tyson. Tyson went right to the heart of the Bellefonte defense where he was fouled.
Going to the line, Tyson was a perfect 2-for-2, upping the lead to 51-47.
Mifflinburg’s stifling defense forced another Bellefonte miscue and used it to their advantage as it got the ball to a sharpshooting Yoder, who tried to pick up an old fashioned three-point play, hitting a tough shot in the lane and was fouled in the process. After missing the free throw, Mifflinburg lead went to 53-47 with 2:25.
However, on their next trip down the court, Rockey went strong in the hole, forcing a foul and then went 2-for-2, closing it to 53-49 at the 2-minute mark.
Bellefonte made another clutch defensive stop and cut the lead back to one. Rockey got a soft jumper from the lane, making it a 53-51 contest with just 1:33 left.
With time winding down to a minute, Mifflinburg bumped back up the lead to four as Stoltzfus pulled down a clutch board and then was hacked.
Stoltzfus was prefect at the line.
On the next Bellefonte possession, Rockey went back into the middle and was fouled in the process. He hit 1-of-2, 55-52.
Again, the Red Raiders got the back and made the most of a Wildcat turnover.
Rockey hit 2-of-2, cutting it to 55-54.
However, that would be as close as the Red Raiders would get as the Wildcats hit a 6-0 run, ending it at 60-54.
Mifflinburg held the lead for much of the contest and held the lead 18-15 after the first.
Bellefonte took its first lead midway through the second, leading 27-26 and then later at 30-29.
The two battled hard throughout with the lead by either team never went higher than seven on the night.

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