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Mifflin County keeps it close for much of game against Harrisburg

By Kenny Varner
LEWISTOWN – For three quarters, the Mifflin County boys basketball team went toe-to-toe with the up-tempo play of Harrisburg.
It was a back and forth thriller until Harrisburg’s floor leader Tony James got hot and the Cougars went on to pull away in the fourth, taking the contest 87-67.
After losing earlier in the season by a mercy-rule contest, the Huskies wanted to show the Cougars and the Huskies’ fans that wasn’t going to happen again.
After the final buzzer sounded, the Huskies had scored over twice as many points than they did in the first meeting and finished with four players finishing in double-digit scoring.
Mifflin County was led by the relentless attacking offensive prowess of Ryan Walker who finished with a team-high 22-point effort. Walker was dead on from the three-point line, drilling four.
Battling hard on the boards and in the paint was teammate Tanner Hepner who complimented Walkers game with a 13-point effort.
Also posting a strong game all over the key was Isaiah Collins with 14.
Rounding out the double-digit scorers was Noah Wright who contributed with a solid 12-point effort.
“We played very well. That was as confident as I have seen them play,” Mifflin County coach Dave Sheetz said. “They finished plays. Just the mid-third quarter they started to make a run on us. They got a few run-outs and that kind of got the lead out to 10 to 15 and we weren’t able to come back from that.”
Harrisburg got a huge game from James who posted a game-high 29 points.
Teammates Nyzick Bannon and Delan Patterson both chipped in with 13 points apiece.
In the first quarter, the Huskies established their game early.
Harrisburg took the tip and went right to work as Ali Anthony collected an offensive board and put up his only bucket of the game.
Mifflin County evened it out when the Huskies got the ball for their first bucket by Collins.
Early on, the Huskies had to battle through a tough full court press.
Harrisburg took back lead seconds later when Nyaire Sumpter hit a jumper, 4-2 with 6:44 left.
Noah Wright put his team up by one, hitting the game’s first triple.
Back came the Cougars and they found yet another new person to do the scoring, getting the ball to Rynell Gannt.
After a Mifflin County turnover on the following possession, Harrisburg extended its lead to 8-5 when James broke out in transition and went in for the lay up.
But the Cougars lead was wiped out completely with one launch from beyond three-point land by Walker as he tied the game with his first triple with 4:23.
Seconds later, Walker gave the Huskies back into the lead hitting a three after forcing a Harrisburg turnover, 11-8.
Harrisburg, like it has all season, was relentless on offense, cutting the Huskies lead to 11-10 on a offense board bucket by Gannt.
The Cougars held strong on the following possession and got the ball back and made the most of it.
Patterson put his team back out ahead with a triple of his own, 13-11. The bucket forced Mifflin County to call a time out to plan their next trek down court.
It was Walker again who got the call as he tied the game with two minutes left in the period.
Once again, Harrisburg answered the bucket with one of their own.
Gannt once again was clutch inside and posted another bucket.
It was Drew Westover’s time to hit from beyond the arc when he hit nothing but net on his bucket, putting Mifflin County back in the lead 16-15.
With time running out, Mifflin County got the ball in the middle to Collins for a smooth ally-oop, giving his team an 18-15 first quarter lead.
Harrisburg regrouped in the second half, outscoring Mifflin County 24-15 to take a 39-33 lead into the intermission.
Walker led all scorers in the period with five while Harrisburg got an 8-point performance by Patterson.
The second half belonged to James as he exploded out the gate in the second half and outscored the entire Mifflin County team himself 14-12.
However, the Huskies kept the rest of the Cougars relatively quiet as Harrisburg scored just 20 total points in the period.
But unfortunately for the Huskies, the Cougars has built up a 59-45 advantage as the game went into the final stanza.
Hepner and Walker both led the way for the “Purple and Black Attack” posting four points each.
From there, the Cougars continues to hammer the ball to James.
James finished the fourth quarter with 11 in the period while teammate Tyhier Butler chipped in with nine, en route to the 87-67 victory.
Hepner was tough on the offensive glass all night but especially in the fourth as he was the leading scorer with seven while Walker had five.
Not much of a turn around time for Mifflin County as it hosts Carlisle today.

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