MILL HALL – Mifflin County started big against non-league opponent Central Mountain on Saturday when Seth Wagner slammed down a dunk then put in the third point on the ensuing foul shot, but this great start was no indicator of how the game would end, as the Huskies lost the contest, 58-47.
In the first quarter the two squads were locked in stride with each other, having the Huskies on top 9-8 after the first eight minutes, but the second period was where Mifflin County went off the rails and Central Mountain took full advantage. The Wildcats’ Cole Renninger came up big, scoring 12 of his game-high 23 points in that period alone and the entire Central Mountain squad was clicking on all cylinders.
This was ultimately the quarter where Mifflin County lost the game, being outscored 23-8. The Huskies didn’t do themselves any favors as carelessness with the ball resulted in 11 turnovers in the first half.
“Well, I think we started to move the ball better and I thought our defense was very solid,” Central Mountain coach Scott Baker said. “We gave up 75 points the last time we played Mifflin County and we held them to only 47 tonight. So, our defense really helped us settle in on the offensive end because we didn’t have to try and match them basket for basket.”
The game got a bit more positive for Mifflin County coach Aaron Gingrich and his team after halftime. With less than two minutes remaining in the third, the Huskies managed to cut down their 14-point deficit to only six. And John Michael Maclay helped lead the charge back with a couple of huge trifectas.
“We were being aggressive at both ends of the court,” Gingrich said. “We had them on the ropes and I felt that in the second half it was our game to win. We just didn’t make enough plays down the stretch.”
However, this comeback was fleeting after Central Mountain’s Tyler Everhart – who had 15 points on the evening – drained one of his customary three-point shots. The Wildcats withstood a fiery comeback attempt and by the time the final period rolled around, Gingrich’s squad was spent.
“We didn’t play very well at all tonight,” Gingrich said. “It was their senior night and they came out with a lot of intensity, they were excited and that’s a tribute to them. The truth of the matter is when your bigs shoot 8-32 from the floor, you’re 13-22 from the foul line for the game and you commit 11 turnovers in the first half I don’t know what coach would be standing here saying I expected us to win.”
As for Baker’s Wildcats, their confidence is soaring higher and higher as they continue to pile up wins. And closing the deal in this contest, when it mattered most, is only going to make them a more formidable opponent as the regular season winds down.
“We’ve come so far both offensively and defensively and now we’ve won the last 13 out of 14 games so obviously we’re doing something right,” Baker said. “I can’t say enough about our kids because they’re playing their butts off.”
Some other highlights included Central Mountain’s Travis Turchetta, who continues to improve by scoring 10 points, and Hunter Wright who also added 10 for the Huskies.
Mifflin County (8-12) hosts State College today at 7:30 p.m.