LEWISTOWN - The Mifflin County girls basketball team returned from its holiday break ready to play, and advanced to the championship of the Huskies' own tournament, running past Central Mountain 53-36 on Friday night.
The Huskies were able to put three players in double figures, as Ashleigh Williams led the way with 17, Olivia Halfpenny chipped in 16 and sophomore Molly Dunmire came off the bench to add 10 points.
The game also marked the return of guard Logan Snyder, a regular contributor to the offense last season. Snyder had been rehabilitating a knee injury that occurred in the spring. She was able to provide six points and four rebounds in the victory, but Mifflin County coach Kevin Kodish was quick to point out even more that she provides to the squad.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Mifflin County’s Logan Snyder (5) jumps to make a layup past Central Mountain’s Sarah Jensen Friday night in Lewistown in the first round of the Huskies’ Holiday Classic tournament.
"Her leadership skills are outstanding, let alone her basketball skills," Kodish said. "Her presence will take some pressure off of Ashleigh (Williams) at the guard spot. She has some rust to shake off, but I think she played very well tonight."
Early on, the teams went back and forth, with no team holding more than a two-point lead in the first quarter. For Central Mountain, it was the Sarah Jensen show, as the junior forward worked the high post for eight points and was able to draw numerous fouls on the Huskies' inside defense.
"I thought Sarah had a very nice game tonight," Central Mountain coach Lindsey Rogers said. "I thought she played very hard and she was trying to create for her teammates after Mifflin County made adjustments on her."
IF YOU GO
Mifflin County plays Imhotep Charter in the championship game today at 7:30 p.m.
The adjustment that Mifflin County made was to double team Jensen, forcing her to kick the ball out to her teammates around the arc. Those double teams allowed the Wildcats to stay close, as Shelbe Walker and Johnna Garbrick contributed three point baskets, keeping Central Mountain within nine points, 28-19, at halftime.
The Wildcats were able to close to within three, 32-29, with 2:48 left in the third quarter after consecutive baskets by Connor Miller. However, it was at that point that the Huskies started to find their legs.
Two fast break baskets by Halfpenny and two free throws by Dunmire gave Mifflin County a seven-point lead, 38-31, entering the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter saw the Mifflin County run continue.
Six consecutive points pushed the Huskies' lead to 44-31, forcing a time out by Rogers.
"By the fourth quarter, Mifflin County started nailing some shots and we looked like we were playing a little defeated." Rogers said. "We looked a little tired and were playing a little sluggish, and that was a game changer at that point."
The Huskies were able to maintain their double-digit lead throughout the rest of the game, outscoring Central Mountain 15-5 in the quarter. Although Kodish was proud of his team for advancing to the tournament's championship game, he saw some things that were concerning.
"I thought we let them dictate too much early. We were very sluggish defensively. We were giving them some easy passes," he said. "Once we moved into the passing lanes in the second half, and started denying those passes, making it more difficult for them to score, things picked up for us and we were able to put some distance between us."
Central Mountain (2-5) will play in the consolation game at 4 p.m. today against Friere Charter, while Mifflin County (5-3) will play Imhotep Charter for the championship at 7. A junior varsity game between the host and Central Mountain will buffer the two varsity contests.