Mifflin County suffers late loss
LEWISTOWN – Three-pointers were flying all over the place on Monday night at Mifflin County High School.
In the end though, it was the play of Altoona senior forward Darby Lee, who scored six points in the final 40 seconds that lifted the visiting Mountain Lions over Mifflin County 69-66 on Senior Night in the girls basketball contest.
“I told them, we’ll all trade this one for a win in our next game,” Mifflin County coach Roger Herto said. “That’s something Mifflin County girls basketball hasn’t done yet. Mifflin County girls basketball hasn’t won a district playoff game.”
Huskies senior Ashleigh Williams did her best to match her senior counterpart, aggressively taking the ball to the basket every time the opportunity came up.
“She’s kind of got that fire back,” Herto said of Williams. “The thing I like about Ashleigh, is she’s not afraid to fail. She’s a gamer. I’m really proud of the way she’s playing and how hard she’s playing.”
The second of the Huskies’ seniors started it off.
Rebeka Knable connected for a 3-pointer from the left hand corner getting the Huskies off to a quick 5-1 lead with 5:15 left in the first quarter.
Knable started the barrage from 3-point land for both teams, as the teams combined for seven 3s in the opening quarter.
Altoona’s Lauren Donley had an answer for Knable’s 3-point stroke.
The Altoona guard hit four 3s in the first quarter, accounting for 12 of Altoona’s 16 points.
Breanna Cline’s jumper as the quarter expired gave the Huskies a 19-16 lead after the first.
At the start of the second quarter, Sarah Donley the jumped in on the 3-point shooting fest for Altoona.
She made three 3-pointers in the first 4:30 of the second quarter, the last cutting Mifflin County’s lead to 32-30.
Rache Dibert’s free throw, followed by Lee’s drive gave Altoona its first advantage of the game at 33-32 with 2:40 left in the second quarter.
Cline, the third critical Huskies senior, quickly answered on the next Huskies possession to put them back up 34-33.
“I was happy for all five (seniors) play,” Herto said. “I thought Taylor Dietrich and Megan Peachey got in and gave us some good minutes tonight. They’re great kids. It’s good to see them on the floor and contributing tonight.”
Jessa Wright. who scored a team-high 20 points, made a trey that gave Mifflin County some instant breathing room before Dibert drove and converted the free throw to put the Huskies up 37-36 at the half.
Sarah and Lauren Donley combined for nine threes and 27 of Altoona’s 36 first half points.
Wright and Williams both had 10 points for the Huskies in the opening half and Knable added nine on a trio of 3-pointers.
The teams traded points back-and-forth to start the quarter until Lee’s lay-up put the Altoona up 44-42 with just under six minutes left in the third.
Lauren Donley added her sixth trey of the night to give the Mountain Lions their largest lead of the night at 47-42.
That’s when the senior Williams stepped up and took charge for the Huskies.
She drove on two straight possessions and hit two of the four resulting free throws to put the Huskies to within two at 49-47.
Wright’s offensive rebound and putback evened the game at 49 and Cline put the Huskies back ahead.
Maggie Wilson gave Mifflin County another lead with two free throws with six minutes left.
Wright added two more 3-pointers to give the Huskies a 61-60 lead with 2:31 left in the game.
Williams extended the lead with two more free throws to make it 63-60, but Sarah Donley drained her fifth and final triple of the night to tie it up again.
Wright made two free throws and Lee answered with a lay-up to tie it at 65.
Williams split free throws to put the Huskies ahead for the last time before Lee scored the game’s final four points to give Altoona the 69-66 win.
“I told them to validate their season,” Herto said. “To validate what they’ve done, they need to win the district playoff game. They’ve got to make that happen. That’s our focus right now.”
The Huskies lost the junior varsity contest by a 49-34 score.
Mifflin County finishes the regular season at 12-10 (8-7 Mid-Penn) and awaits its first-round opponent in the District 6 Class AAAA playoffs.