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Huskies dominate Patriots on senior night

Gingrich scores game-high 20 points

LEWISTOWN — Mifflin County wasted no time asserting its dominance on Tuesday night as the Huskies used a strong first half to put away from the Patriots on the way to a 53-19 beat down of visiting Red Land in a Mid-Penn Keystone Division girls’ basketball contest.

The Huskies (4-5, 4-4 Keystone) celebrated senior night in style as they closed the opening half on a 24-4 run over the final 12 minutes as an offensive explosion from Marissa Gingrich, Emma Weaver, Brianna Bodtorf and Hanna Rittenhouse were too much for the Patriots to recover from.

Gingrich scored a game-high 20 points for Mifflin County to go along with five rebounds and assists and four steals. Bodtorf added eight points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals while Weaver had eight points including a pair of 3-pointers in the opening half.

Red Land (0-4, 0-3 Keystone) held a 6-4 lead with 4 minutes left in the first quarter before falling apart offensively. The Patriots turned the ball over 14 times in the opening half, allowing the Huskies to pull away. The Patriots finally stopped the bleeding after a 15-0 run on a bucket by Kenna Duffie, but at that point the damage was done.

Mifflin County forced the Patriots into 24 turnovers on the night and recorded 18 steals.

“This was I believe our seventh different starting lineup in nine games,” Mifflin County coach Roger Herto said. “On senior night you want things to go great and we started out sluggish out of the gate. We changed some things up on defense and started to get points off of (turnovers) and that started to get everything going our way. Everyone seemed to relax from there.”

The Huskies took their first lead of the game on a baseline jumper by Emma Yeager with 2:43 left in the first quarter, before a pair of threes by Weaver pushed the lead to 17-6 with 6:40 left in the second quarter. Weaver scored on a drive to the basket later and then assisted on a three by Gingrich from the top of the key to put the Huskies ahead 22-8 with 4:52 left in the second quarter.

Mifflin County never looked back.

The Huskies were unselfish all night as multiple players made the extra pass throughout the contest. Four different players recorded assists as the Huskies had 12 assists on 21 buckets from the floor.

“We had a lot of different combinations and a couple that we hadn’t had in together that really made some nice things happen,” Herto said. “Everyone was looking for the next person. We talk about not making the pass, just make the next pass. Usually then you get something like we got tonight there a few times. A lot of different lineups and we did OK.”

Gingrich’s big night came as no surprise as the sophomore has been locked in over the past two weeks.

“Marissa tonight, that was an easy 20 for her,” Herto said. “I had to encourage her to shoot. She is so unselfish and tonight with it being senior night, she was looking for people but she’s so good that she can have a quiet 20 points.”

The Huskies celebrated their four seniors, Hanna Rittenhouse, Halle Rittenhouse, Molly Wagoner and Yeager before the contest.

Yeager has played a big role as a captain in 2021, as the guard is a critical part of the Huskies defensive efforts. Yeager had five rebounds and two steals while adding four points on the evening. All four seniors have dealt with injuries throughout their careers, but having Yeager healthy again has been important for Mifflin County.

“Emma Yeager, our captain, is playing the best basketball of her career after two years of working her butt off to just be able to get into a game,” Herto said. “Molly (Wagoner), we only got to see a year and a half of her. She would’ve re-wrote a lot of pages in the record book. The great thing for Molly is that she has herself healthy and back on track. I’m really looking forward to see Molly and her future with UPJ. The Rittenhouse twins, it’s really hard to believe they are graduating. They both have been great contributors to our program and both could play college basketball.

“This senior class has persevered,” Herto continued. “COVID is tough enough but when you look at the injuries that those kids have gone through in their careers, it’s just mind boggling. It’s a good group of girls with a pair of them moving on to play college basketball. I just couldn’t be prouder of them. I will remember this senior class for their perseverance.”

With the victory, Herto feels that his team is finally on the same level after COVID-19 delayed the start to the Huskies season.

“After starting about two or three weeks behind everyone else we feel like we are finally on an even playing field,” Herto said. “I’m really anxious to see what we can do with this team. Defensively I’ve been so happy with what they have done the past few weeks.”

The Huskies will have a few days off before hosting Cedar Cliff in a Mid-Penn Keystone Division rematch on Friday night. Mifflin County fell to the Colts, 39-32, on Jan. 27.

Herto believes the key to success will be continuing to get the ball up the court quickly in transition to counteract opponent’s size.

“Our offense needs to be better and that’s really where the game is going to be for us,” Herto said. “We are trying to get the ball up the floor and go up-tempo. We need to get up the floor before defenses can set up. We are a small team and to dig in against zones, that doesn’t really stack up in our favor.”

The Huskies won the JV game, 39-17. Amelia Leister led the Huskies with 20 points.

The Mifflin County Junior High JV team improved to 5-0 with a 27-19 win over Hershey while the varsity team improved to 4-1 with a 36-17 win over Hershey.

Mifflin County 53, Red Land 19

MIFFLIN COUNTY

Marissa Gingrich 8 0-0 20, Brianna Bodtorf 3 2-4 8, Emma Weaver 3 0-0 8, Mya Aumiller 2 1-1 6, Hanna Rittenhouse 2 0-0 5, Emma Yeager 2 0-0 4, Amelia Leister 1 0-2 2. Totals: 21 3-7 — 53.

3-point goals: Gingrich 4, Weaver 2, Hanna Rittenhouse, Aumiller.

Did not score: Halle Rittenhouse, Kate Knable, Tessa Pavlova, Aija Binder.

RED LAND

Heather Sholley 4 0-0 8, Carlee Collier 2 0-2 4, Kendall Metzel 1 0-0 3, Zayda Crumpton 1 0-0 2, Kenna Duffie 1 0-0 2. Totals: 9 0-2 19.

3-point goals: Metzel.

Did not score: Courtnee Collier, Claire Laur, Madelyn Keelin, Caroline Cramer, Autumn Kinsinger

SCORE BY QUARTERS

MC 14-14-19-6 — 53

RL 6-4-8-2 — 19

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