Huskies continue to struggle

Turnovers hurt team in home Mid-Penn game

Sentinel photo by MATT STRICKER
Mifflin County's Noah Wright shoots for three over Central Dauphin defenders Nicholas Chimienti, 24, and Niko Santiago Tuesday in Lewistown.

LEWISTOWN — The Mifflin County boys basketball team hung with Central Dauphin for one quarter before the bottom dropped out.

The Huskies, once again plagued by poor shooting and costly turnover, let the game get away from them in a 73-30 Mid-Penn Commonwealth loss to the Rams Tuesday night.

After an 11-11 first quarter, Mifflin County (0-10, 0-7) was out-scored 62-19 in the final 24 minutes, including 41-11 in the second half.

“For us, it’s about finding a way of having mental resiliency throughout the whole game. We need to have that mental toughness when the legs start to go and fatigue sets in,” Mifflin County coach Scott Gaffey said. “I thought we executed and handled their press pretty well in the first quarter. As the game went along, we started reverting back to bad habits like some poor lob passes, one-handed passes you shouldn’t throw and guys not stepping to the ball. On the positive side, Central Dauphin is tied for first place in the Mid-Penn and we hung with them through halftime.”

The turnover bug bit the Huskies hard and the Rams (9-2, 6-1) took advantage of it – streaking out to a 7-0 run which morphed into a 21-8 second quarter for Central Dauphin and gave the visitors a 32-19 lead at the break.

Ryan Smith scored 11 of his game-high 21 points in the first half to pace the Rams. Mifflin County once again missed easy layups and open shots and combined with the turnovers, was the kiss of death for the Huskies.

“We finished with 30 points and 29 turnovers. Even if we would have got half a point on some of those possessions it gives you an extra 15 points that we need,”Gaffey said. “Sometimes we struggle to make shots and we have to make sure we’re getting shots on the basket to give us a chance. We certainly can’t score when you turn the ball over.”

The Rams went on a 12-0 run to take a 44-19 lead and end any hopes of a Husky comeback. Smith had seven in the run and finished with 10 in the quarter. Central Dauphin won the frame 25-7 to take a 57-26 lead into the fourth.

Mifflin County rallied from a 7-0 deficit in the first quarter, going on an 11-4 run in the final four minutes to even things up at 11 in what looked like a potential competitive contest. Connor Cherry came off the bench to score eight in the quarter and rally his teammates.

“A similar thing happened at Carlisle. I think it was 9-2 in the first quarter and we called a timeout, gathered the troops and we were able to come back. I’m proud of our guys for coming back after that start in the first quarter,” Gaffey said. “Central Dauphin is a good team and we’re not quite ready to beat a team like that. We’re getting better and our guys are showing some resiliency.”

The Huskies stayed close in the opening minutes of the second quarter before going ice-cold from the field and committing nine turnovers in the quarter. Cherry led the Huskiness with 11 of his 12 points in the first half. The junior ended with six rebounds.

“He’s given us two good games in a row. He’s come in early and gave us some key baskets in the first quarter. He’s been waiting for his opportunity and he plays with high energy,” Gaffey said. “He had some good athletic plays. He grabbed some offensive rebounds for baskets. He’s a good finisher around the basket. We are really happy with the energy he’s given us.”

The Rams closed things out with a 16-4 fourth quarter as Nick Chimienti and Keenan Roberts came off the bench and combined for 10 points.

“It comes down to the turnovers. We have to find a way to be mentally tough and take care of the ball,” Gaffey said. “Again, we are playing these teams that are pressing us for a full 32 minutes, so we need to have that sharpness for a full game. You can’t have mental lapses and mental breaks. We need to stay focused for an entire game.”

The Husky JV team lost 75-25. Jace Shoemaker led the team with nine points.

Mifflin County hits the road for a conference game against Central Dauphin East on Friday.

Central Dauphin 73, Mifflin County 30

CENTRAL DAUPHIN

Rance Russo 4 0-0 9, Ryan Smith 9 0-0 21, Tyrese Fuller 1 4-4 6, Darrien Berrios-Rivera 3 0-0 6, Nick Santiago 3 0-0 6, Vince Gambelunghe 1 1-2 3, Keenan Roberts 4 0-0 8, Nick Chimienti 2 2-4 6, Da’von Haggans 3 0-2 6, Donovan Hill 1 0-0 2. Totals: 31 7-12 73.

3-point goals: Smith 3, Russo.

Did not score: Ben Stubljar, Jaraud Smith, Mason Griffiths.

MIFFLIN COUNTY

Nah Wright 3 0-0 8, Xavier Vega 0 1-2 1, Julian Jackson 1 0-0 2, Jace Shoemaker 2 0-0 4, Tyler Metz 1 0-0 3, Connor Cherry 3 6-8 12, Mark Shilling Jr. 0 0-1 0. Totals: 10 7-11 30.

3-point goals: Wright 2, Metz.

Did not score: Jayden Jackson, Cole Knable, Adam Sheetz.

Score by quarters

Central Dauphin 11 21 25 16 – 73

Mifflin County 11 8 7 4 – 30

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