Cougars cruise past Huskies
LEWISTOWN –Seven is often referenced to as a lucky number, but for the Mifflin County girls basketball team, it’s a number they wish they hadn’t seen.
Harrisburg has had its way with the Huskies dating back to 2014 and Tuesday night was no different as the Cougars handed the Huskies their biggest loss of the season, 61-47.
The Cougars now own a seven game winning streak over Mifflin County.
“The game in a nutshell is we got beat by a 1-2-2 zone which really shocks me,” Mifflin County coach Roger Herto said. “This team has been really good against any kind of zone, and in fact when they went into it, I said ‘he’s doing us a favor right now.’ Boy, we certainly didn’t play that way. We got a little soft, turned the ball over too much and stopped getting off the shots we wanted.”
Time wasn’t exactly on the Huskies (9-2) side late, but it also wasn’t to be found in the second quarter.
The timing of the quarter was shortened a minute — to unlucky seven — and because the mistake was found eight seconds into play, PIAA requires the play to resume regardless of what’s showing on the scoreboard.
That’s when the Cougars got into a rhythm, opening the quarter with a 9-4 before grabbing the lead for good late in the half.
The Huskies meanwhile were unable to establish much of anything, often rushing to get shots off no matter where they were on the court or what pressure they had gotten from the Cougars.
That led to a large number of turnovers and Harrisburg was quick to convert those into easy points, eventually gaining a 20-point lead.
“About half of the turnovers we had tonight were forced,” Herto said. “We also had a lot of turnovers that were created by nonfundamental basketball on our part. … I know the kids feel disappointed and you could tell while they were out on the floor. I didn’t see the same fight that I would have wanted to see in us, and that’s the only thing that concerns me.”
If there’s one promising act that has Herto feeling slightly relieved, it was seeing team captain Eleana Eckley not give up the fight, even in the game’s final minutes. He hopes that translates in practice, and ultimately as the season progresses.
“I thought Eleana played her heart out tonight,” he said. “Even at the very end of the game, there’s a loose ball and she’s diving to get it. She played extremely hard tonight, and I hope to find the team has that in them when we hold practice.”
Eckley finished with a team-high 19 points for Mifflin County.
At one point of the game, the Cougars were dominating the boards on both sides, coming up with the rebounds and getting the close range and layup shots to sink.
With the Cougars getting the double-digit separation in the third quarter, Herto went a taller squad in hopes of getting to the ball quicker and evening out the aggressive style of play Harrisburg had all night. It was a good idea, but it just didn’t work.
That is until Molly Wagoner got herself in a groove in the fourth quarter, scoring six of her 12 points in the frame, and all of them coming from under the basket.
“Molly has a lot of ability. There’s a lot in Molly,” Herto said. “I like her pitch to the game, she’s all about winning and I don’t think she cares all that much about individual accomplishments and that will only help her get better as the season goes on.”
Harrisburg had a trio of players finish with double-digit performances. Ahmya Woodyard has 19, Brianna McCollough had 14 and Dajahnae Brannon had 16.
Brannon also recorded her 1,000th career point on a free-throw in the fourth quarter.
Herto says he’s not reading too far into the loss seeing as it’s just the Huskies second loss of the season, but he is looking for a positive rebound from the squad with another tough matchup on the horizon.
“I’m looking forward to what comes into the gym for practice (today),” he said. “Will it be a team that is 9-2 and feeling good about themselves realizing they just had a bad game? Will it be a team that has their heads down? Hopefully these kids will respond the way we need to because there’s no rest for the weary because Central Dauphin’s coming here Friday.”
Harrisburg 61, Mifflin County 47
Brianna McCollough 6 1-2 14, Ahmya Woodyard 6 7-8 19, Destiny Shepherd 0 2-2 2, Jazmin Wright 2 1-2 5, Alayah Cowan 2 1-1 5, Dajahnae Brannon 7 2-4 16. Totals: 23 14-20 61.
3-point goals: McCollough
Did not score: Cheyenne Collins.
Eleana Eckley 5 7-10 19, Hannah Aumiller 1 0-0- 2, Fern Silfies 2 0-0 5, Rylie Rittenhouse 3 0-0 6, Molly Wagoner 6 0-0 12, Emma Yeager 1 1-2 3. Totals: 18 8-12 47.
3-point goals: Eckley 2, Silfies.
Did not score: Jenna Fleegal, Alicia Berryman, Jamie Mahigel, Megan Harshbarger.