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Mifflin County and Bellefonte battle down to the wire; Red Raiders pull away late

By Kenny Varner

LEWISTOWN – Thursday, the Mountain League leading Bellefonte boys basketball team visited an upset-minded feisty MIfflin County team that for the first time all season was at full strength.

The two battled all the way down to the final minutes before the Red Raiders would take control of the game taking it 67-55.

“I think there was a little bit of let down in intensity on our ball movement, our movement without the ball with our offense the first half.  We tried some things on defense that we probably shouldn’t have tried in the first half,” said Bellefonte coach Rick Hall. “But I have to give MIfflin County credit. I’ve watched them on tape the last two days. They play great.  I haven’t seen them shoot the ball that well in two game films so we have to give them credit.”

“But it’s also a credit to our guys. In the third quarter we were able to pick it up again.”

Bellefonte again was led in the scoring department by Blair Eckley- Jones who finished with a double-double with a game-high 22-points and 17 rebounds.

Nick Way followed with a solid  16-point effort, posting two triples on the night.

Rounding the double digit scoring department was Gannon Brungard who worked hard for all of his 10 points, most of which were difficult runners in the lane.

Mifflin County’s Owen Wise, who just returned from injury, led the Huskies with 12 points. All of which came from beyond the 3-point line.

Tagg Selfies, who notched two triples finished his night with 11.

“It was neck-and-neck the entire game. Our kids I thought played hard,” said MIfflin County coach Wade Curry. “We started out the season to change the culture of the program and I think those who watched the game tonight you saw our kids play with type of energy that we expect of them. They put it in the position to be close at the end.”

Going into the final stanza, Bellefonte had clawed back from a 9-point deficit to take a 45-44 lead.

DJ McCaslin came out of the period hitting a wide open jumper at the 7:00 mark.

After a Mifflin County missed shot, the Red Raiders got the ball into the middle and Brungard was able to shoot the jumper in the lane, upping it to 49-44.

But back came the Huskies as Ty Felmlee, who played his first game of the season after going down with an injury in the preseason, hit a clutch triple to cut the lead to two.

On the following Bellefonte possession, the ball went back to Brungard. Brungard was fouled and went to the line to hit 1-of-2 from the line, making it a 3-point game with  4:30 left.

The Red Raiders started to heat up as they extended the lead again thanks to a triple from Way, extending the contest to a 5-point advantage.

But the Huskies would not go out without a fight as Cade Penepacker helped his team get back on the scoreboard as he went 2-from-2 from the charity stripe.

Bellefonte hit a jumper by Eckley-Jones and a triple by McCaslin in consecutive trips down the court to take its biggest lead of the ball game at 58-50.

The McCaslin triple forced the Huskies to call a time out with three minutes left.

Coming out of the time out, Penepacker scored again as he took it right into the lane.

Ty Kroell added a jumper, making it 60-52.

Selfies made it a 7-point deficit after being hacked as he was going up for the shot, hitting 1-of-2 from free throw line.

Despite leaving all they had on the court, the Huskies weren’t able to complete the comeback thanks to a 9-2 run to finish the contest.

Starting the game, MIfflin County came busting out onto the scoreboard.

Way started the scoring for Bellefonte with a wide open jumper.

The lead would change minutes later with one flick of Felmlee’s wrist as he sent a sweet triple that hit nothing but net.

Kroell took back the early lead, hitting 2-of-2 from the line.

After pulling down a defensive rebound, Selfies was passed the ball and he stopped and popped a jumper, making it a 5-4 advantage for MIfflin County.

When things settled in the period, the Huskies had all the momentum, leading 19-10.

Despite Bellefonte outscoring MIfflin County in the second quarter, MIfflin County continued to hold onto the 3-point lead at 31-28 going into the intermission.

In the third, the Red Raiders bounced back and battled to take the lead as the third quarter ended.

Despite the loss, the Huskies gave everything they had and left everything they had on the court.

In the JV contest, Bellefonte took a 64-50 victory.

Bellefonte 67, MIfflin County 55

BE   10 18 17 22 – 67

MC 19 12 13 11 –  55

Scoring: Bellefonte – Ty Kroell 0 3-5 3, Nick Way 5 4-6 6, Nick Way 5 4-6 16, Cole Crissman 1 2-4 4, Cameron Brungard 4 2-5 10, DJ McCaslin 3 2-2 9, Blair Eckley-Jones 7 7-10 22, Alex Ebling 1 0-0 3. Totals 21 20-32 67.

Mifflin County – Cade Penepacker 1 4-6 6, Tagg Selfies  4 1-3 11, Connor Zimmerman  3 3-4 9, Owen Wise 4 0-0 12, Landon Eichhorn 3 0-0 7, Quentin Hepner 2 0-0 4, Ty Felmlee 2 0-0 6. Totals 19 8-18 55.

Played but didn’t score: Bellefonte – None. Mifflin County – CJ Gill 0 0-0 0, Jayden Bilger 0 0-2 0.

Three-point shots: Bellefonte – Way 2, McCaslin, Eckley-Jones, Ebling. Mifflin County – Selfies 2, Wise 4, Eichhorn, Felmlee 2.

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