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Mifflin County knocks off undefeated Central Mountain in opening round of the Justin Henry Scholarship tournament

By Kenny Varner

LEWISTOWN – Is been a sizzling start for the Huskies so far this season. Mifflin County upped its record to an impressive 6-3 after tonight’s meeting with undefeated and unscathed Central Mountain team.

In the first round of the 2023 Justin Henry Scholarship Trust Holiday Tournament., the up and coming Mifflin County boys basketball team hosted an undefeated Central Mountain team.

Despite a strong 21-point performance by Hunter Hoy, the Wildcats fell to the Huskies 64-51.

Mifflin County got a double-double from Jayden Bilger who posted 28 points and pulled down 14. Teammate Aidan Attivo followed up with 14 points and five rebounds performance.

”I thought we got a great performance out of Jayden Bilger and Aidan Attivo offensively. Bilger finished with 28 points and 14 rebounds while Aidan finished with 14points and six boards,” said MIfflin County coach Wade Curry. “You have a couple guys putting up those kind of numbers good things are going to happen. Overall, I thought we played a strong game. We need to work on keeping guys out of the middle on defense but overall we’re very happy with the win.”

The Wildcats got nine points from Caleb Mahoney and eight from Brady Myers.

“I don’t think we had the energy right from the start. I thought to play the first 25 minutes like the way we did, it was nice that found it in the fourth quarter a little bit but it was much too late,” said Central Mountain coach Tyler Bardo. “ This is an uncharacteristic game. We got beaten in aspects that we normally win such as loose balls. Undersized, yes. But we’ve beaten bigger teams. We rebounded just fine. I just thought that energy level and that competitive nature on those loose balls was a big deal because we forced a lot of first shot misses. We just did not clean up the boards and finish the possession.

From the start, the contest was a high tempo contest as early the two teams went back and forth at each other.

Bilger got the game and off and running as he battled inside for the contested bucket.

On their first possession, Hoy took it and tied the game at two for bucket in the paint.

Central Mountain forced a turnover on the next MIfflin County possession, ending in a lay up by Blake Wagner, taking the lead at 5-4.

But on the next series, the Huskies patiently moved the ball to outside the arc and into the waiting hands of Jack Curry.

After stealing the ball on MIfflin County’s next possession, Hoy stole a Huskies pass and blazed down the court. However, he was hurt on the play.

But consecutive points by Evan Strohecker and Bilger to bump up the hosts lead to 9-6.

Hoy’s bucket with 3:25 left on the clock, got his team to within one before the clock struck the 2-minute mark.

Mifflin County’s defense held and produced consecutive points from Attivo and Bilger, taking a 15-8 advantage.

When the buzzer went off for the start of the second as Mifflin County battled to take a hard fought 17-12 contest.

Bilger and Hoy both a team high six after one.

Things remained much of the same for both teams in the second.

After an early inside bucket by Bilger, the Wildcats were looking to  go on its first run, outscoring MIfflin County

Hoy and teammate Jeremy Reese scored the first six points of the stanza, en route taking a  brief 20-18 advantage before MIfflin County started to work on it’s inside out game, giving it to their 6’ 7” center Bilger for a lay up and a foul, extending its lead out to 22-20. Teammate Zach Keller added two more from the foul line.

Central Mountain once again spearheaded its offense to pull within two at 24-22 with 4:15 left in the first half, thanks to four from Central Mountain’s Myers.

But Mifflin County went on a mini run of its own to end the scoring. Mifflin County got three from Bilger and two from Jaylen Bowersox, giving his team a 37-28 advantage going into the intermission.

Mifflin County exploded out of the half, outscoring Central Mountain 19-9 and holding onto a seemingly secure 56-37 lead going into the final stanza.

Central Mountain battled to the very end as they posted a 12-point quarter while holding the Huskies to six.

But it was too little too late as the Huskies sent the Wildcats to its first loss, falling 64-51.

The Wildcats will be back in action Thursday at 1:45 against Steelton in the consolation game.

Mifflin County advances to the championship game at 3pm against Manheim Central.

Manheim Central topped Steelton 70-55 in the opening round of contest.

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