Little Lions make second-half push
STATE COLLEGE – Less than 24 hours after a difficult Mid-Penn Conference loss on the road Friday, Mifflin County’s girls basketball team suited up and went back at it against a rested State College team Saturday in a Commonwealth Division battle.
Despite a competitive first half, the Little Lions came out strong in the second half, took control of the game and ended with a 61-38 victory.
“I thought we played very well the first half. We matched them in intensity levels and we had a lot of great open looks that normally we would knock down. (We had) a lot of open looks in the first half,” Mifflin County coach Kevin Kodish said. “I was very pleased with the first half of play we were only down by seven at 30-23. I thought we were playing very good basketball and their shots would start falling in the second half.”
State College’s Jenna Altomare was a thorn in Mifflin County’s side all afternoon, finishing with 21 points, five triples and numerous steals as the game’s leading scorer.
The Little Lions got strong inside play from center Kyla Irwin. Irwin was tough on the offensive and defensive boards while finishing as a double-digit scorer finishing with a 13-point effort.
Mifflin County had just one player scoring in double figures, as senior Olivia Halfpenny finished with a hard-earned 10 point game.
In the first half, the game opened as a three-point exhibition with State College and Mifflin County going shot-for-shot up to the final seconds.
Rebeka Knable started off the contest with a long-distance call but Altomare matched that with two from the charity stripe to give the Little Lions their first points of the game.
After a Mifflin County turnover, Altomare then hit her first of five 3-pointers on a long shot from the top of the key.
Ashleigh Williams tied things at five, also with free throws.
Irwin and Altomare upped the State College lead to 10-5 on a jumper in the middle and a triple, respectively.
Mifflin County battled right back when Kylee Cassatt’s triple cut the State College lead to two with 3:23 left in the opening period.
Altomare, who netted 11 points in the first quarter, was hard to stop as she put the Little Lions ahead by five once again on her third 3-point goal of game.
Halfpenny brought the Huskies back to within striking distance once again, hitting her one and only trey of the game. But on State College’s next possession, Irwin put her team up by four as she was fouled in the act of shooting and went to the charity stripe. Irwin hit both shots.
Logan Snyder brought the Huskies back to within two minutes later as she hit 2-of-2 from the foul line, making it 15-13 with just 42 seconds left in the period.
However, Ali Treglia put the finishing touches on the quarter for State College, roping a triple with time running down, taking an 18-13 lead going into the second.
Tara Kibe gave Mifflin County a reason to cheer as the second quarter when she hit 2-of-2 from the free throw line, cutting the lead back to within three.
After yet another Altomare triple, Mifflin County went on a 4-0 run, closing in on State College, 21-19.
But the Little Lions wouldn’t allow Mifflin County any closer the rest of the way in the first half, taking a 30-23 lead into the intermission.
State College began to sizzle in the third quarter, outscoring Mifflin County 22-8 to take a 52-31 lead going into the final stanza.
“In the second half we didn’t match their intensity,” Kodish said. “They (State College) took it up a couple notches and got more physical and I think we just deflated.”
The Little Lions finished of the game outscoring Mifflin County 9-7 in the final quarter en route to the victory.
Mifflin County will be back in action Tuesday against Altoona.
Williams Valley 37,
East Juniata 28
TOWER CITY – Nobody scored a lot – Williams Valley just scored more. That was the story for the East Juniata girls, who dropped a non-league contest on the road, 37-28, Saturday.
Lauren Maguire led the Tigers with nine points.
East Juniata (9-6) travels to Halifax today.
Milton 67, Midd-West 25
MIDDLEBURG – Midd-West had no defensive answer for Milton’s Chad Diggan and Michael Jacobs, who combined for 47 points in the Black Panthers’ 67-25 win over the Mustangs in Heartland Conference boys basketball Saturday.
Diggan hit 13 buckets in the game for 27 points, and Jacob hit three from long distance en route to 20.
Andrew Karchner had the big day for Midd-West, leading the home team with seven points in the varsity game after scoring a team-high 18 in the JV, which Midd-West won 54-39.
The Mustangs (3-15, 0-11) have a week off before hosting Shamokin Feb. 9.
* 9th grade: Mifflin County 48, DuBois 39. High scorer, Cade Attick 23 points.
* 8th grade: DuBois 42, Mifflin County 19. High scorer, Kaden Knouse five points.
* 7th grade: Mifflin County 40, DuBois 17. High scorer, Cade Shoemaker 11 points. Mifflin County travels to Mount Nittany today.