LEWISTOWN - The Mifflin County boys basketball team is no stranger to the 3-point shot.
In its game earlier in the season against State College, the Huskies could not find an answer for the trey.
But in the championship of the boys 2012 Holiday River Tournament Friday, they had to. C.J. Tyler scored 18 of his game-high 26 points from beyond the arc, but Mifflin County was able to overcome an early deficit and hold on for a 61-56 victory over Shikellamy at Mifflin County High School.
Mifflin County’s Seth Wagner (44, white) moves around Shikellamy’s Ryan Kenney for a shot Friday in the championship game of the Holiday River Tournament in Lewistown.
After allowing 11 3-pointers, Mifflin County battled back with five of its own, three of which came when the game was in the balance.
"Tonight is a perfect example of 'a win is a win,'" Mifflin County coach Aaron Gingrich said. "I thought our intensity was lower than we've seen in the last two weeks and when you do that against a scrappy, underdog team like Shikellamy and lose some of their shooters early, all of a sudden it's a close game and their still in it. Now it gives them a ton of confidence that they can pull the huge upset on our court."
Despite being in foul trouble for most of the game, Mifflin County center Seth Wagner led all Huskie shooters with a 19-point effort. Teammate Hunter Wright followed up with a 12-point effort while guard Cy Treaster finished with nine.
Shikellamy had three players finish the night with double digit performances. Along with Tyler, another hot hand beyond the 3-point line was Derek Ammerman, who collected four triples en route to a 14-point night. Rounding out the double-digit scorers for the Braves was Ernie Tyler with 10.
Mifflin County found itself trailing at the intermission by a point, 29-28. But the Huskies wasted little time taking back the lead in the early minutes of the third, going on a 7-2 run.
The run started on a steal and a bucket by Curtis Jerzerick, taking back the lead.
After holding the Braves to a missed shot, the Huskies took the ball down the court and got it to Wagner. Wagner went right at hoop and made the hard shot in the lane. Treaster got the final field goal of the run when he got a tough shot in underneath the basket while fending off the Braves' defenders, upping the lead to 34-29.
After a Shikellamy basket, Wright hit one of two from the charity stripe, making it 35-31 with 4:31 left in the quarter.
A triple by Ammerman brought the Braves back to within one but on the following possession, Wright picked up an offensive board and put it in, stretching the lead to 37-34.
Shikellamy wasn't done yet, retaking the lead on another long-distance call by Ammerman and a pair of free throws sunk by Ernie Tyler to give his team a two-point edge.
But Mifflin County gave Shikellamy a dose of its own medicine, roping three consecutive triples to take back and extend the lead to 46-39.
Wright started the charge hitting his only trey from beyond the arc and after two more consecutive defensive stops, Seby hit two consecutive triples of his own, giving Mifflin County a 46-39 lead going into the final period.
"We had to make plays down the stretch and we had to make some defensive stops," Gingrich said. "As a coaching staff we weren't too pleased with the defensive early positioning and finding their shooters and the 3-pointer is a great equalizer that kept them in the ball game tonight."
In the final stanza, Mifflin County was able to keep the Braves at bay for the entire quarter, allowing them to get as close as 55-52 before going on one final offensive push where they would outscore the Braves 6-4 to make the final.
Mifflin County was well represented in the all tournament nominations as Jerzerick and Wright were named to the all-tournament team. Teammate John Michael Maclay was named outstanding defender and Wagner picked up the nod as tournament MVP.