what basketball is all about - don't give up on any play. Tonight we didn't. We played hard."
How good was the zone defense implemented by Mifflin County? Let's put it this way, the Huskies played defense like they were mainlining on Red Bull. Harrisburg was confused, frustrated and shaken.
It was this hyperactive energy, athleticism and confidence that proved too much for the Cougars (1-2, 1-2). The Huskies evened their record at 2-2, 1-2 in the conference.
Sentinel photo by BUFFIE BOYER
Mifflin County’s Curtis Jerzerick, 12, looks to the basket as Harrisburg’s Steve Olson tries to block his shot Monday in a 59-53 win at Mifflin County High School.
"That wasn't the plan coming in," said Gingrich, when asked about the excellent zone defense played by the Huskies. "But when it's working you stick with what's working. We had a couple defenses lined up but we didn't use them.
"With the zone, you have to move while the ball is in the air. You've got to communicate and you've got to rebound. It's hard to rebound out of a zone especially against a team like Harrisburg that has chasers. I thought our guys did a better job of creating that umbrella in the paint when the shot went up and keeping them out of the paint. We'll take the win, move on, and get ready for Carlisle."
Wright had another double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Jerzerick finished with 12 points and 10 boards and Maclay collected nine rebounds.
"They had a lot of guards who are really quick. We wanted to stop penetration. We figured pack in the zone and make them shoot threes was the best way to do it," Maclay said. "We just want a signature win and show the Mid-Penn we're actually coming around and that we belong there."
Down 45-44 with 3:05 to go in regulation, the Huskies went on a 15-8 run to close out the game and the victory.
The run started when Harrisburg's Carlos Balkcom was assessed a technical foul and Mifflin County scored the next seven points to go up 51-45 with 1:56 to go.
A bucket by Cougar guard DeJour Williams cut it to four, but a Maclay layup and two foul shots by Wright made it 55-47 with 55 seconds left.
"It was a great group effort. We really focused on rebounding this week," Wright said. "Harrisburg just killed us in the past, but we think we've finally figured it out."
Two more jumpers by Williams cut the deficit to 55-50, but two free throws by Nate Koller, who finished with 10 points, and a layup by Jerzerick sealed the victory.
"We all thought we could beat Harrisburg," Jerzerick said. "We got embarrassed last Friday, so we wanted to win this one. We wanted to show the Mid-Penn that we're here to play."
Mifflin County started the game in the 2-3 zone and used solid rebounding and a quick transition game to take an 11-5 lead after one quarter. Jerzerick paced the Huskies with seven in the period.
Harrisburg battled back to take a 24-22 lead at the break, thanks to the scoring of Williams and Jahaad Proctor. The duo combined to score 38 points with Proctor netting 22 and Williams 16.
Mifflin County won the third quarter 14-11, thanks to six points by Wright and a trey by Evan Seby, who came off the bench to score 13.
"We had a little more focus going into this one. We change some of the pre-game ritual stuff that we do and I just though the mental focus was good," Gingrich said. "It starts with what your mindset is before the game. We had a good scouting report. We were in a nice mental state. We were ready to go, ready to attack and ready to execute. It was a nice win."
The Huskies travel to Carlisle on Wednesday.