STATE COLLEGE - Coming into Friday night's game against Mid-Penn foe State College, Mifflin County knew that the Little Lions possessed a strong offense and hit an average of six 3-point shots a game.
What the Huskies didn't factor in was a team full of hot hands - the perimeter shooting of State College went a whopping 14-for-23 from beyond the 3-point mark.
The net result was an ugly loss for the Huskies, who fell 71-47 in the Commonwealth Division contest.
Sentinel photo by CHRISTOPHER?SHANNON
Mifflin County’s Curtis Jerzerick drives to the basket for a layup during the Huskies’ game at State College Friday evening.
Leading the way from beyond the arc was Bryan Sekunda with five triples. He was followed by teammates Michael Beattie and Jason Costa with three apiece; Kyle Kanaskie added two.
Sekunda led all scorers in the game, finishing with a 21-point effort. Costa tallied 17 and Beattie went for 13.
"We watched them a couple times this year and I can honestly tell you they shoot it well but not that well," Mifflin County coach Aaron Gingrich said. "You're frustrated as a coach sitting there. Sometimes teams get hot and was it our defense? We gave up a couple looks but a lot of those were contested and they hit 14-for-23 and that was the big equalizer.
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* Mifflin County hosts the Holiday River Classic tournament Dec. 27-28
"The gap between us and them is not what that scoreboard said. Not even close."
Mifflin County was led by the inspired play of Curtis Jerzerick, who tallied a team high 14 points. Most of Jerzerick's points came off of missed shots or tough runs to the basket. Teammate Seth Wagner also finished in the double-digit department dispite being clamped down and sometimes double teamed by the Little Lions. Wagner finished with 13 points despite sitting out most of the fourth quarter after he drew his fifth personal foul.
The Huskies were only able to notch one long ball in the contest, coming from guard Cy Treaster early in the first quarter. Mifflin County kept it close in that opening stanza, trailing by only six points as the buzzer sounded.
Hunter Wright got the Huskies started off on the right foot, hitting a tough shot in the inside.
State College hit from downtown on its first shot of the night when Kanaskie broke free and hit a trey at the bottom edge of the 3-point line.
After a Mifflin County turnover, the Little Lions got the ball back into Kanaskie at the same spot he hit the first triple. He was automatic on the second one as well, upping the lead to 6-2.
On the following possession, Wagner got the ball down in the paint and was fouled as he went up for the shot. He hit one-of-two from the line, making it 6-3 with 5:43 left in the quarter.
State College went right back to the three-pointer. This time, Beattie got the call and despite a hand in his face tickled the twine for the team's third triple of the quarter.
Treaster's 3-pointer cut the lead to three with just over five minutes to play in the opening quarter.
But the Little Lions hit another pair from outside the arc before the quarter ended - five overall in the opening period.
In the process, State College built up a 19-12 lead before Mifflin County rallied in the last minute, cutting the lead to 21-15.
Wagner led the Huskies in the period with five points while State College got six from Kanaskie.
The three point buckets didn't stop there as State College hit three more in the second quarter, en route to outscoring Mifflin County 19-11 in the quarter. When the intermission got under way, the Little Lions held a comfortable 40-26 lead.
Everything the Huskies threw at the Little Lions, State College had an answer for. In the third quarter, State College once again nailed five 3-point shots, outscoring Mifflin County 19-13.
In the JV contest, Mifflin County came from behind in the third and held on for a 43-41 victory.