Huskies undone by Cougars

LEWISTOWN – It’s no secret that the Harrisburg Cougars can run wave after wave of players at an opponent during this current high school basketball season.

On Friday night, it turned out to be no day at the beach for Mifflin County.

Harrisburg, ranked fourth in the state AAAA according to the latest poll in the Harrisburg Patriot News, downed the Huskies, 98-64.

The Cougars are now 14-1 overall and 10-0 in the Commonwealth Division of the Mid-Penn Conference. Harrisburg’s only loss was to York in a non-conference game.

Meanwhile, Mifflin County fell to 1-9 in the division and 6-9 overall.

Harrisburg had 10 players score, while Mifflin County had only six players make it into the scorebook.

The Cougars pressed the whole night from the opening tap to the final whistle.

According to the Harrisburg head coach, Kirk Smallwood, that was how the team works in practice.

“We try to work on that all the time,” Smallwood explained, “We work on defense and try to get deflections off of passes and hopefully they go in our direction.”

Mifflin County stayed with the Cougars for most of the first half and only trailed at the half by 13 points, 37-24.

It was the Curtis Jerzerick show for Mifflin County in the first quarter and for that matter in the first half. The junior, who led the Huskies in scoring with 24 points, had 13 of those points in the first half.

Jerzerick had a great day from the foul line as he made at one point in the game 12 in a row. In fact, he had eight points in the second quarter and had Mifflin County’s only basket of the second period.

Finally in the second half, Seth Wagner came to life for Mifflin County and he carried the Huskies with 21 of his 23 points. The 6-7 senior had two three pointers and it was a trey that opened the scoring for Mifflin County in the second half cutting the Harrisburg lead to ten, 37-27.

“I thought tonight the effort was very good,” said Aaron Gingrich, the head coach of the Huskies, “What you saw was a team that was much better than us. They run 13 guys at you in a full court trap for 32 minutes.”

“Our guys played the game plan for three-fourths of the game,” Gingrich said, “At the end of the third period we were down by 18 points (65-47) in our match-up zone and than we decided to take a shot at them and go man. I thought we played extremely hard the whole game.”

But, as the game went on, the Cougars quick hands and speed started to pull away from Mifflin County.

In the second half alone was like a game by itself. Harrisburg scored 61 points, while Mifflin County put up 40.

Jahaad Procter led the Cougars with 21 points including five threes. Jarel Patterson was next with 14 and all of those came in the second half. Steven Stoney added 12, with 10 of those coming in the first half. James Ezell finished with 11 and Ashtin Cooksay-Easter had 10 rounding out Harrisburg’s double digit scorers.

Mifflin County’s other scorers included John Michael Maclay wirth seven, Hunter Wright and Heath Hidlay each had two and Jared Michaels came off the bench and contributed six points.

But, the difference in game didn’t come so much from the three point line as Harrisburg won that battle, 7-2, or the free throw line where Mifflin County was 24-33, while Harrisrburg was just 13-21. The difference came from quickness and steals and relentless defense of Harrisburg.

Harrisburg won the junior varsity game, 64-48. Evan Seby led the Huskies with 13 points.

Mifflin County travels to Carlisle on Tuesday. Back on December 19, the Huskies recorded its only league win with a 46-41 triumph over Carlisle in a home game.

Notes: There haven’t been very many top rated Pennsylvania AAAA basketball teams play in Mifflin County. Back in 1971 during the Penn Highlands era, one team did make an appearance. Pittsburgh Schenley came to play on a Saturday afternoon. It happened to snow that day and the team arrived late and there was no junior varsity game. The game was played at the Chief Logan/Indian Valley gym.

Schenley won behind three star players that went on to play at major colleges, Jeep Kelly, UNLV; Ricky Coleman, Jacksonville and the late Maurice Lucas, Marquette. Lucas then moved on to the NBA and played on a league championship team with the Portland Trialblazers in 1977-78.

Schenley won the state AAA title that year beating Norristown, 77-60. At that point in time AAA was the highest level of competition as there were only three brackets, A, AA and AAA.