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Mifflin County girls lose late; finish second in tournament



LEWISTOWN – Fortunes can change quickly in a basketball game, especially early in the year.

The Huskies learned that in a hard way on Saturday night in their contest against the Northeastern Bobcats.

In a span of about two minutes in the second quarter of its game, Mifflin County saw a small lead turn into a large deficit as the two teams went into the intermission with the Bobcats leading 30-18.

Mifflin County saw its deficit climb to 20 points before it started a fourth quarter comeback that saw the home team close it to within six before running out of time in a 62-53 contest.

“We got ourselves behind a little bit early. Obviously we had some situations there. Jessa Wright played about a minute in the first half. She got to quick fouls and we decided to hold her out to the second half,” Mifflin County coach Roger Herto said. “We were staying with them for most of that stretch and then in about a two minute stretch there mid-way through late second quarter where our conditioning showed up. We are not where we want to be physically. I told a lot of them that now.”

Despite trailing by 20 early in the final stanza, the Huskies battled back by going on a 6-0 run on an and old fashion three-point play by Elena Eckley followed by a triple by Ericka Lepley, making it a 51-37 contest.

With 5:18 left in the final stanza, the Bobcats ended its scoring drought when Kyra Sanchez worked her way in for a short shot in the paint.

However Mifflin County continued its hot shooting, going on a 6-2 run and closing the Northeast lead to 54-43.

The Bobcats extended the lead back to 13 on a Payton Houck runner in the lane. Houck finished the contest as her teams leading scorer, landing 17 points.

Back rallied the “Purple and White” when Jessa Wright muscled one in, forcing Northeastern to call a time out with 2:50 left.

Mifflin County came out of the time out going on a full press on the Bobcats and were very successful.

Senior Bryce Papp came up with a clutch jumper off a steal on the Bobcats end of the court, making it a 9-point Northeastern lead.

The result of three more presses were just as successful as Mifflin County closed the gap to 56-50 with just a 1:50 left on the clock.

Northeastern found a way to beat the Huskies’ stingy press and built up a 12-point lead late.

Mifflin County went out firing as Maggie Wilson hit a triple close to the buzzer to end the contest at 62-53.

“I am disappointed in some of our conditioning when we came into the season. We are just not where we want to be right now. It really showed. We just hit a wall there with about two minutes left to go in the first half and that little spurt hurt us,” Herto said. “ But we got our second wind and they listened to what we were trying to do in the second. When you get behind a senior-laden team like they are, who are pretty smart, its tough but we forced a number of turnovers. I like what I saw out of some of our kids. I don’t like to name individual players that often but I thought Marissa Byler came in and gave us a big spark defensively. We need to see more of that out of her as the season goes on.”

Mifflin County got double-digit scoring performances by Eckley (16) and Papp (11) while Wilson finished with nine.

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