Wagner gets 1,000th point; MC scores OT win
LEWISTOWN – It was a night for heroes, past and present.
The Mifflin County boys basketball team held a Military Appreciation Night in the Huskies’ gym.
Honored was 31-year Marine veteran Terry Wade, who as a junior (1956) at Lewistown High School won the PIAA mile race, was a star cross country runner as a senior and in basketball was a Mountain League scoring champion for the Panthers in the 1956-57 basketball season. Wade earned two Purple Hearts, having served two tours of duty in Vietnam.
There was a new star on Friday night: Seth Wagner, who reached the 1,000-point mark becoming the 28th all-time player in Mifflin County history to reach the milestone and the first wearing a Huskies’ uniform.
But, just as important as the individual honor was the fact that Mifflin County snapped a seven-game losing streak and won its second game in the Mid-Penn Conference, with a 61-59 overtime victory over Central Dauphin East.
“It was a great win and a great effort tonight,” said Aaron Gingrich, the Mifflin County coach, “This game was similar to five or six other Mid-Penn games. But tonight we made the big plays down the stretch.”
When the buzzer sounded ending regulation play, it was tied at 51-51. The overtime period was fast paced. Neither team, however, scored until the 3:31 mark when Curtis Jerzerick made a layup for a 53-51 lead.
Jerzerick finished with 19 points and seven of those came in the overtime period. Jerzerick was his usual self on Friday driving to the basket and making five of his nine points from the free throw line.
Wagner needed 21 points coming into Friday’s night game to reach the 1,000-point plateau and Nos. 20 and 21 came on a basket with 1:17 left to play in the overtime period.
The 6-7 senior’s two points gave Mifflin County a 58-54 lead.
However, Central Dauphin East wouldn’t go easily into the cold night. The Panthers came right back with five unanswered points as they got baskets from Joe Lemelle and Anthony Wright. Wright also added a free throw.
“It was our game to win, but we didn’t,” said Marty Hassenfuss, the Central Dauphin East coach, “They deserve to win. We didn’t play well and shot poorly.”
With Central Dauphin East in front, 59-58, it was magic time for Jerzerick as he scored a bucket with 26.6 seconds to go, giving the Huskies a 60-59 lead. Cy Treaster then wrapped up the game with a free throw with 17.7 seconds to go.
And the Huskies had to pull out the win without Wagner, who fouled out in the final minute of overtime.
Gingrich was not only pleased with his two top scorers, but he felt his other three starters – Treaster, Hunter Wright and John Michael Maclay – all made big contributions.
Wright finished with seven points as he was five for six from the line, while Treaster netted five points including the big free throw in overtime. Maclay finished with six, but had back-to-back baskets for Mifflin County in the third period giving Mifflin County a 37-32 lead.
The only other points came from Evan Seby as the sophomore hit a big 3-pointer to close out the first half for Mifflin County as it led 31-27.
“It would have been easy for these guys to have packed it in and started to look forward to spring sports,” Gingrich said. “But we still have a chance for a .500 record. With the intensity that we showed tonight, it seems a step closer.”
Mifflin County now has a 2-11 mark in the league and is 7-11 overall. Three of the four remaining games are on the road. On Monday, Mifflin County starts it’s final four games with a trip to Altoona.
“The night was especially gratifying because of the win, and it was also Military Appreciation Night and Seth scoring his 1,000th point,” Gingrich explained. “Seth becomes the first player to score a 1,000 points for the new high school.”
Wagner, despite being doubled down and having a box and one all night long, scored in every period. But it was in the first when he jumped off to a quick start with nine points.
Mifflin County won the junior varsity game, 54-48; Seby was the leading scorer for the Huskies.
Notes: Both Wagner and Jerzerick had double-doubles as Wagner had 10 rebounds and Jerzerick grabbed 11. … Wagner is just the second player to reach 1,000 point at two different schools. Wagner played for Indian Valley his freshman and sophomore years. The other was Roy Bickel, who played for Rothrock and Lewistown (1976-1979). … Two men on the Mifflin County coaching staff are also on the list for 1,000 points: Gingrich and Steven Dearment. … Wade was a three-year starter in basketball and track and his winning time of 4:26 in the mile was the sixth-fastest time in country in the spring of 1956. … The Mifflin County players honored the military by wearing camouflage T-shirts in warm-ups.