By Kenny Varner
LEWISTOWN – Taking it down to the wire.
Despite trailing at the half 35-25, the MIfflin County girls basketball team rallied to outscore Altoona 25-18 before running out of time, falling 53-50 in the consolation game in the Justin Henry Trust tournament Thursday.
Mifflin County’s sharpshooter Marissa Gingrich led all scorers with a 29-point effort, pulling down six boards, five steals and a block.
Teammate Aija Binder was strong on the boards pulling down a game-high 14-rebound performance.
Amelia Leister complimented Gingrich’s performance following with a 9-point effort.
“That first half defensive effort was just abysmal. That’s not us defensively. It didn’t look like our team defensively. It ended up costing us,” said MIfflin County coach Aaron Gingrich. “We told them after the game that they were the same people in the second half that played the first half, so what changed? Obviously it was that mental intensity and mental effort that showed up in the second half to lock them down defensively.”
Going into the final stanza, the Lady Huskies trailed 43-37.
It would take a total team effort to get themselves within striking distance.
Krull led off the quarter with a strong bucket inside, making it a 45-37 contest.
Treasure Bender got the scoring started for MIfflin County as she pulled down an offensive rebound and put it back for the bucket.
After forcing an Altoona turnover, the Lady Huskies went into the middle giving the ball to Leister inside for the field goal, cutting the Altoona lead to four.
The Lady Mountain Lions went on a 5-0 run to make it a 50-41 lead with 2:43 left.
Gingrich notched her first points in the quarter driving the lane and hitting a shot in traffic.
The Huskies pulled it to within five when Riley Hine pulled down a tough rebound and took it back up, cutting it to a 50-45 contest.
With 47 seconds left, MIfflin County was forced to foul Lanie Wilt, putting her to the line for a one-on-one situation. Wilt was clutch under pressure posting both free throws.
With time hitting the 32 second mark of the game, Gingrich got free from beyond and the arc and hit a clutch triple.
But Krull hit 1-of-2 from the line with 7.9 ticks on the clock, giving the visitors a 53-48 game.
Still battling to the end, Gingrich was fouled from beyond the three-point line with 1.2 ticks left. She hit 2-of-3 to cut it to 53-50 before time ran out on the Huskies.
After the intermission, the Huskies defense came out and held Altoona to eight points while scoring 12, setting up the fourth quarter showdown.
In the first quarter, Gingrich lit it up early and often posting 13 points for the Huskies.
She gave her team the early lead as posted a 13-9 advantage with 2:47 left in the period.
But Altoona ended the quarter going on a 7-0 run.
However, the strong inside game of Melana Eyer (8)and Jaiden Krull (6) put the Mountain Lions up 16-13 going into the second quarter.
Krull finished the contest with 19 while Eyer finished with 15.
Mifflin County fell on the season to 4-4.
Altoona 53, MIfflin County 50
AL 16 19 8 10 – 53
MC 13 12 12 13 – 50
Scoring: Altoona – Achiera Cuspert 1 0-0 3, Melana Eyer 6 1-1 15, Lanie Wilt 1 2-3 5, Harley McGirk 2 0-2 5 Abbie Herncane 1 0-0 2, Zaelinh Wauyen-Moore 2 0-1 4, Jaiden Krull 8 3-4 19. Totals 21 6-11 53.
Mifflin County – Aija Binder 1 1-3 3, Amelia Leister 4 0-1 9, Marissa Gingrich 10 4-7 29, Tessie Bender 1 0-0 2, Riley Hine 1 0-0 2, Mikayla Bodley 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 5-11 50.
Played but didn’t score: Altoona – Jersey Hollibaugh 0 0-0 0. MIfflin County Jacee Cunningham 0 0-0 0, Jalee Bodtorf 0 0-0 0, Maelyn Gingrich 0 0-0 0, Rylee Retherford 0 0-0, MacKenzie Peachey 0 0-0 0, Gracen Haines 0 0-0 0.
Three-point shots: Altoona – Cuspert, Eyer 2, Wilt, McGirk. Mifflin County – Marissa Gingrich 5, Leister, Bodley.