Defense propels MC girls

LEWISTOWN – Transition basketball was the name of the game Wednesday as the Mifflin County girls turned up the heat defensively for a 72-25 win over Commonwealth Division opponent Carlisle.

The Thundering Herd couldn’t hold onto the ball on offense – which was both a product of its own poor passing choices and a relentless pressure from Mifflin County – and this resulted in plenty of fast break opportunities for the Huskies as they notched their first conference win of the season.

“Physically we were just real superior to that team. I was glad to see us get after them and push the ball up the floor, that’s what we need to do,” said Mifflin County coach Roger Herto.

This “getting after” by the Huskies began quickly in the first quarter, when buckets from five different Huskies and a stifling defense put Mifflin County up 16-0 before Carlisle finally sunk its first field goal with less than a minute left in the quarter. From there, the Huskies steadily increased their score as Carlisle continued to suffer against the Huskies’ man defense, resulting in a 31-9 score headed into the half.

“I told them at halftime I didn’t feel like we were playing real well. I felt like we were getting in each others’ way offensively,” Herto said, further explaining that although the fast break scoring was fine, he wanted to see a smoother, more efficient offense when the Huskies were required to run their plays.

And to an extent, Mifflin County was able to respond to Herto’s challenge.

Highlighted by two treys from Jessa Wright, Mifflin County scored 26 points in the third quarter – more than Carlisle scored the entire game – to put the game away. In the quarter, as Wright worked to get open for the distance shot, teammate Ashleigh Williams had success drawing fouls while driving to the basket. The senior went 6-for-8 from the charity stripe in the quarter en route to her game-high 20 points.

Herto said it was also the presence of Wright and Maggie Wilson – both of whom spent time on the bench in the first half because of foul trouble – that helped increase the offensive output.

“There’s no question that Jessa’s a major leader on our team. This is the first time in my 28 years that I’ve had a sophomore be a captain, and Jessa’s no question a leader,” he said.

However, despite the third-quarter improvement, Herto still wants to see a better flow to the offense in the future, including Friday’s game against State College.

“Friday sets up to be a game where we need to put our best foot forward. This is State College – this is our rival,” he said.

In the fourth quarter, the Huskies had plenty of support off the bench – overall 12 Mifflin County players scored in the contest for the final score of 72-25.

Mifflin County (2-3, 1-3) travels to State College Friday.