TWICE AS NICE
MILL HALL – To call last night’s game against Central Mountain important would be a bit of an understatement.
Mifflin County entered the gym in Bald Eagle Township looking to knock down some big goals.
Two scorers – Olivia Halfpenny and Logan Snyder – stood just 14 combined points away from 1,000 career points each.
To top it off, with a victory, the Huskies could secure their spot in the District 6 Class AAAA tournament.
Standing on the brink of the such a night could scare away even the most fierce of competitors, but not the Huskies.
Mifflin County jumped out in the second quarter against the Wildcats and never looked back, bringing home a 56-31 victory.
“This is a maiden voyage year for us in the Mid-Penn League,” Mifflin County coach Kevin Kodish said. “It is a difficult schedule and we are getting better with each game. We have been playing well lately and we are starting to show the improvement.”
While the victory belonged to all the Huskies, Halfpenny and Snyder owned the night.
Snyder entered the game with 991 and needed just six minutes to secure her 1,000th point.
The senior put back a missed shot, and as the ball fell through the hoop, Snyder became the first Lady Husky to reach the 1,000 point plateau.
“It is exciting,” Snyder said. “I didn’t think I would be the first girl to in school history to get to 1,000. I feel like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I was overjoyed.”
Halfpenny- who entered with 995 – followed suit just minutes later, netting her milestone point with a mid-range jumper from the wing in the second quarter.
“As soon as I let it go, I knew it was in,” Halfpenny said of her 1,000th point shot. “It was like thank goodness. Finally. It feels really great and it is an added bonus to do it the same night as my teammate and good friend Logan.”
Two 1,000 point scorers, on the same team, on the same night – quite impressive.
“It was awesome,” Snyder said. “We have played basketball since fourth grade together and she is my best friend. I think it was fate for us to reach this on the same night.”
Both Snyder and Halfpenny finished with a game-high 14 points a piece.
Even Kodish, who has been around the game for some time, witnessed something special.
“I have been coach for 29 years,” Kodish said. “I was fortunate to have many 1,000 scorers in my career, but never seen two in one game.”
Central Mountain took the fight to Mifflin County right from the start.
The Wildcats were patient in their shot selection – as Shelbe Walker and Krista Heckman slashed the Husky defense for nine of Central Mountain’s opening-quarter 11.
While Central Mountain worked its offense, the Huskies couldn’t find a groove – looking inside to Halfpenny or on the wing to Snyder in the opening frame. Mifflin County shot 4-of-16 in the first – including three baskets by Snyder – good enough to secure her 1,000th point with just two minutes remaining in the first.
“It was harder for Logan to get here,” Kodish said. “She tore her ACL and it took some rehab for her to get here. She wasn’t able to play until after Christmas. It speaks volumes about her efforts. I can’t express how proud I am of her. She has been with me for four years, two at Lewistown and two after the consolidation. To have her be the first girl to get to a 1,000 is a great experience.”
Mifflin County came out in the second with something to prove.
The Huskies stepped up the defensive pressure and forced 11 Central Mountain turnovers in the second and held the Wildcats to just two total points in the quarter.
And while the defense was stifling, the offense started to click.
“It was critical,” Kodish said. “We didn’t want them to spend a lot of clock in the front court with their offense. We tried to get in the passing lanes and get pressure on the ball. Central Mountain came out and started really well. They were hitting their shots and looked solid. They have improved greatly and coach Rogers is doing a great job with the program.”
Halfpenny’s 1,000th point in the midst of a 19-2 run that lasted all of the second quarter and gave the Huskies a 31-13 lead going into the half.
“Olivia is a basketball junkie,” Kodish said. “She loves the game, she talks the game and walks the game. No one worked harder than Olivia. She decided last year to get better. She developed her offensive game this year and it showed.”
Mifflin County’s Ashleigh Williams netted 10 of her 13 points during the second quarter.
Coming out of the half, Kodish’s squad continued the run with six straight points to start the second half.
The Wildcats fired back on a 7-0 run of their own, but the damage was done.
Entering into the fourth, Mifflin County held a comfortable 48-24 lead and both teams started to work deep into the bench.
In the end, the Huskies cruised to their playoff-clinching victory, 56-31.
In JV action, Mifflin County topped the Wildcats, 61-24. Tara Kibe had 13 for the Huskies.