LEWISTOWN - After trailing Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division leader Central Dauphin East for approximately 22 minutes, the Huskies had the game to within seven points late in the third quarter Tuesday.
A shot near the basket from Olivia Halfpenny plus a layup from Ashleigh Williams were what brought the game to 51-44 in the Panthers' favor - the closest the Huskies had been in a long time - but as the quarter rounded out, Central Dauphin East's Michaela Gelbaugh hit a three of her own and a layup on the next possession to snuff out Mifflin County's last real shot at a comeback.
The Huskies eventually lost 66-51.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Central Dauphin East’s Calee Gelbaugh (22) swats the ball from Mifflin County’s Olivia Halfpenny as she goes for a layup Tuesday in Lewistown. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentine.com
"The story of the game was too many unforced errors against a very high quality opponent. We had turnovers four of our first five possessions," Mifflin County coach Kevin Kodish said.
As it turned out, those early turnovers were an indicator of how much of the game would go for the Huskies.
In the first, sloppy passing by the Huskies in reaction to the Panthers' 2-3, trap-oriented zone defense made it difficult for Mifflin County to produce on offense, and the Huskies missed their chance to take the lead in what turned out to be the closest quarter of the game, which ended at 16-14 in Central Dauphin East's favor. Central Dauphin East's Calee Gelbaugh, who had a game-high 22 points, scored 12 in the first quarter.
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* Mifflin County travels to Cumberland Valley Friday
From there, continued trouble on the offensive side for the Huskies, plus a strong attack on both ends of the court by the Panthers, resulted in a gradually increased point spread at the end of each quarter, with Central Dauphin leading 37-27 at the half.
"They play solid basketball at both ends, and we couldn't afford to give them extra possessions," Kodish said. "We needed to add quality possessions and get shots every time. We didn't do that often enough."
Perhaps the final difference was in the level of consistency each team was able to preserve. Whereas the Panthers consistently hit their shots, Mifflin County's offense was streaky, and it was difficult to tell when the shots would land.
A few strong points from the Huskies' offense included a buzzer beater in the first by Kylee Cassatt to bring the Panthers' lead down to two points.
Another example was the Huskies' third quarter drive to bring the score within seven points - a drive which wouldn't have meant anything without back-to-back 3-point goals from Williams and Rebeka Knable earlier in the quarter.
Halfpenny led the Huskies in scoring with 17.
The Mifflin County JV team won its game, 43-40. Maggie Wilson scored 20 points in the team's effort.
The Huskies (7-4, 4-3) travel to Cumberland Valley on Friday.