ALTOONA - After snapping a seven-game losing streak Friday night, the Mifflin County boys basketball team put a second straight in the win column Monday.
The Huskies improved to 8-11 with a 53-48 win over Altoona at the AAHS Fieldhouse to take a big step towards qualifying for the District 6 Class AAAA playoffs.
"Our school district has a .500 record policy for making the playoffs," coach Aaron Gingrich said. "We control our own destiny. We have three games left against Central Mountain, State College and Hollidaysburg - all District 6 teams."
Sentinel photo by CHRISTOPHER SHANNON
Mifflin County’s Seth Wagner takes the opening tipoff against Altoona’s Kevin Givens as the Huskies take on the Mountain Lions Monday in Altoona.
Mifflin County led 35-25 early in the third quarter, but Altoona outscored the Huskies 15-4 over the remainder of the period to take a 40-39 lead.
"We had a few mental lapses, primarily with our defensive rebounding," Gingrich said. "We figured they had 13 second chance points, which in a low-scoring game is a big factor."
The lead went back and forth five times in the fourth quarter. Mifflin County finally went ahead for good when Seth Wagner scored on a tip in with 0:54 seconds remaining.
IF YOU GO
Mifflin County travels to Central Mountain Friday
The 6-foot-7 Wagner finished with 21 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter with the game hanging in the balance. Wagner also had 11 rebounds for a double-double and blocked four shots.
Curtis Jerzerick scored in double digits as well with 13 points.
Following Wagner's bucket, Altoona's Matt Dry put up a 3-point attempt that rattled in and out. The rebound resulted in a jump ball, giving the Huskies possession.
Wagner then put Mifflin County up three with a pair of free throws, and John Michael Maclay followed with two more foul shots to seal the win.
The junior point guard also committed no turnovers. The team as whole turned it over a season-low eight times.
"We took care of the ball. The pressure we've seen throughout the season in the Mid-Penn conference has helped us take better care of the ball," Gingrich said.
Altoona played the game minus two injured starters, including top scorer Deshae Lee. Manny Span had a double-double for the Mountain Lions with 13 points and 16 rebounds. Kevin Givens added 12 points and eight rebounds. Altoona as a team outrebounded Mifflin County 33-21.
"We outrebound every team we play. We average more than 30 rebounds a game," Altoona coach Paul Hasson said. "In a close game, there are one or two key moments. Give Mifflin County credit. They shot the ball well and beat us up the floor several times."
Trailing 17-13 after one quarter, the Huskies took the lead with a 9-0 run early in the second quarter. Following a Jared Michaels hoop, Evan Seby drained a 3-pointer from the right corner. Wagner followed with back-to-back buckets.
Altoona reclaimed the lead before the Huskies closed out the first half with six straight points for a 31-25 advantage at the break.
Hunter Wright and Jerzerick scored back-to-back hoops, and Maclay made a pair of free throws.
When Wagner opened the third quarter with a fade away jumper over two defenders and a Jerzerick steal led to a fast break bucket, Mifflin County led 35-25.