LEWISTOWN - It's not always how you start but how you finish that is important in sports.
The Mifflin County boys soccer team might not have taken a victory on the field Saturday - that went to Red Land. 2-0, in the Commonwealth Division game - but the Huskies can take solace in how well they played in the second half.
The Patriots collected two first half goal on 19 shots while the Huskies managed only three shots.
But in the second half, Mifflin County slowed down the high-octane Red Land offense, holding the Patriots to only eight shots on goal while the Mifflin County offense revved up its intensity with eight as well.
"One of the things we did going into this game was challenge our boys. We wanted them not to give up a goal in the last five minutes of game. That was our Achilles heel last year and this year," Lewistown coach Jared Byler said. "We didn't do that today. But the other thing we do sometimes is ball watching. We don't go after the second ball we just wait and see if one of the other teammates will get it. That hurt us on the first goal.
"But after we settled in, unfortunately, we were down 2-0. We needed a little more action in the second half out of our mids and we got that from James Wilburne today. Ben Kauffman did a great job at the 50-50 balls in the first go."
IF YOU GO
* Mifflin County travels to Altoona today
Mifflin County got the first shot on goal to get the game off and running but the Red Land defense held and sent its offense down the field for its first shot on its first offensive possession.
The Patriots followed up with two more uncontested shots on goal but the Huskies back third, led by defender Bret Pallotto and strong goalie play by Derek Heimbach, kept the game scoreless despite the Red Land pressure.
Mifflin County's speed and clutch goalkeeping kept Red Land at bay while its run-and-gun style kept the game at a stalemate.
However, at the midpoint of the half, the constant offensive pressure of the Patriots allowed them to find a crack in the Huskies' defense as Ben Kunkle got a rebound from a shot that hit the goal and blasted it past Heimbach for the 1-0 advantage.
Red Land continued to isolate Mifflin County's Ian McGinnis, allowing only a few good looks at the goal in the first half.
But when he had his chance, McGinnis battled his way through and had chances but after having breakaway chances, the defensive third of the Patriots made it difficult for him to finish.
When he did, he was stopped by clutch goalkeeping by Red Land's goalie Kyle Hamilton.
At the end of the day, Hamilton collected three saves while Mifflin County's Heimbach saved 12.
Red Land added a late first-half goal, adding some insurance going into the second half, just minutes later.
With 13 minutes left in the half, Ausitn Miller sent a pass to teammate Shane Gill. Gill gave the Patriots a 2-0 lead going into the intermission.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, the ball did not cooperate in the second half, as some shots were missed by inches.
"We got find a way to get the ball into the back of the net and we will be fine," Byler said. "We're getting better each game and that is something we can build of off."
Mifflin County will be back in action today at Altoona.