Fourth and won
LEWISTOWN – The big plays Mifflin County needed in a tight, low-scoring game came from an unexpected place.
With the Huskies down going into the fourth quarter, reserve sophomore Jack Packer scored five straight points to start the final quarter and all eight points in the fourth for Mifflin County as the Huskies dropped Hollidaysburg 51-40 in a non-league boys basketball game Tuesday night at Mifflin County High School.
“I thought got some key performances and key minutes in that fourth quarter that kind of put us over the hump,” Mifflin County coach Aaron Gingrich said. “Jack Packer was a big part of that. He scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter and hit a big three and I think that jump started us.”
The critical 10-0 run for the Huskies to open the fourth was the difference for Mifflin County.
“Hunter Wright was consistent all night on the offensive end,” Gingrich said. “I just thought we needed something else. Jack came in and he provided that spark on the offensive end, which was definitely needed.”
Wright added a game-high 16 points and 11 rebounds for his fifth consecutive double-double, taking advantage of a vacant Hollidaysburg interior once big-man Jesse Ottaway went to the bench with four fouls.
“Hunter Wright is a senior who understands how to get position,” Gingrich said. “He got a lot of their guys. He drew a lot of fouls the first three quarters. He’s a presence and he drew attention in the post and I think a couple of our other guys took advantage of that.”
After Nick Consiglio drained a 3-pointer 35 seconds into the game, Mifflin County answered with a three-point possession of its own.
Wright was fouled and made the first free throw before missing the second.
Curtis Jerzerick kept the ball alive and John Michael Maclay gathered the ball and hit the layup, making it 3-3.
After a slow stretch, Evan Seby’s 3-pointer put the Huskies up again at 7-5 with 3:39 left in the opening quarter.
Consiglio started the second quarter with his third three of the night before Wright could answer for Mifflin County.
Ryan Adams put the Golden Tigers up 16-13 with five minutes left in the second quarter.
The Huskies answered in a big way.
A 7-0 run that started with Maclay’s steal and transition layup gave Mifflin County a 20-16 advantage.
Adams came back with a three-point play after being fouled on a coast-to-coast drive to even the game again at 20-20.
Seby led the Huskies with six first-half points, hitting the Huskies’ only two threes, while Wright added five points.
One play that could have swung the game came right out of the half.
After Wright put the Huskies up 22-20, Maclay hit a runner, but the Golden Eagles defender was planted under him and the charge was called, negating the basket and potential four point lead.
Following Consiglio’s fourth three of the night, as a part of his team-high 12 points to put Hollidaysburg up 23-22, Maclay answered with two free throws to continue the seesaw and put the Huskies back up.
Maclay had a complete game for the Huskies, pulling down nine rebounds and dishing out seven assists to go with his seven points.
Nate Koller’s three ball stretched Mifflin County’s lead to 27-23, but Hollidaysburg answered with five straight to take a one-point lead.
After Hollidaysburg answered with a 5-0 run, Maclay’s free throw tied it back up.
Adams drove and scored for the Golden Tigers and Wright sank a free throw to make it 30-29 going into the final quarter.
Packer’s five straight points made it 34-30 and then Ross Torquato struck for his only basket of the night to make it 36-30.
Wright scored three more points on a drive and a free throw to end the 10-0 run.
Adams’ only three of the night cut it back to a six-point lead.
Wright’s lay-up and free throw stretched it back to a nine-point Mifflin County advantage.
Jacob Holopple’s basket cut it to seven, but Hollidaysburg got no closer the rest of the night.
“For the first three quarters, we looked like a team that hasn’t played this month,” Gingrich said. “I thought in the fourth quarter we kind of brought it back together and showed some of that poise that we’ve had throughout the season.”
Mifflin County wore shirts to bring to light the Justin Henry scholarship trust in memory of Henry, who was tragically killed in 2004 by a lightning strike.
“It was our Justin Henry scholarship trust night,” Gingrich said. “For those that don’t realize it, the Justin Henry scholarship trust supports local student athletes. It was established for the late Justin Henry, who was a standout student athlete at Lewistown Area High School and subsequently Rhode Island University in both basketball and football. Tonight was simply a spotlight of the trust.”
Hollidaysburg took the junior varsity game 54-39
The Huskies evened their record (10-10). They will be back in action today when they travel to Central Mountain.