By Kenny Varner
LEWISTOWN – For three and a half quarters the MIfflin County boys basketball team were within striking distance of a very hot shooting Milton Hershey team.
However, the Spartans finished the contest hitting numerous triples to take the contest 71-56.
Mifflin County finished the contest with three players finishing in double figures while one of the three posted a double double.
Leading the offensive attack was Jayden Bilger with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Evan Strohecker finished with 13 points as well.
Rounding out the double digit scorers for the Huskies was Aiden Reed who had 10 points and six boards on the night.
On the evening, the Huskies finished with 32 rebounds and three blocks while Milton Hershey had 28.
It was raining threes in the Huskies gym Tuesday as both teams combined for a total of 20 triples in the contest. Mifflin County had eight led by Strohecker and Bowersox’s three triples.
“I’m proud of the effort tonight. I’m proud of their commitment of working on the small things that we have to close the gap on,” said MIfflin County coach Wade Curry. “We are showing improvements every single game. We’ve had great defensive quarters but we haven’t put four together where it lets us walk away with the win.”
Milton Hershey is a very athletic team. They got some momentum in the second half with some good shooting. We’re not going to stop working. Our guys are committed and there is a good group there.”
Milton Hershey was led by the inside presence of Malachi Thomas who also posted a double double of 23 points and 12 boards. He was followed in the scoring department by the long range attack by Adam Rosa. Rosa, who finished with six triples, added 20.
Another long range shooter for the Spartans, Jason Burney finished with five triples and a 15-point effort.
Mifflin County got off to a solid start early on as their defense was able to keep the middle closed down for most of the period, forcing Milton Hershey to start trying to hit from long range.
The Spartans got on the board first with an inside shot down below the key.
Mifflin County got an early bucket by Reed, tying the game at two.
After forcing a bad shot, the Huskies brought the ball down court and got it to Bowersox who hit the jumper giving MIfflin County the lead.
Strohecker stole the ball on the following trip up the court by the Spartans and went in for the easy lay up and the 6-2 lead.
The lead forced the Spartans to try some early full court pressure but to no avail as the Huskies broke the press and was able to work the ball around the key and then to Bowersox from beyond the arc, hitting the triple and putting MIfflin County up 9-2.
However, Milton Hershey would come battling back, cutting the lead to 9-8 thanks to a 6-0 run thanks to two consecutive triples by Burney.
Mifflin County called a time out to regroup. They did just that as they got yet another triple to extend their lead. This time it would be Landen Eichhorn with the triple with three ticks left in the first.
Mifflin County went into the second period leading 12-8.
Milton Hershey started to Mount their comeback in the second behind the shooting of Thomas who hit the first 2-of-3 of the Spartans shots, leading to a 7-0 run, making it a 15-12 advantage for the visitors.
But with one shot, MIfflin County tied the contest. Bilger got opened in the corner and launched a game-tying triple with six minutes left in the half.
But that lead was only temporary as Burney ended the Huskies momentum hitting a triple of his own, upping the lead to 18-15 advantage.
A jumper by MIfflin County’s Bilger put the Huskies to within one at 18-17.
After a miss by the Spartans, the Huskies regained the lead at 19-18 on a field goal by Tagg Selfies.
Milton would try to breakaway from the Huskies late in the second but MIfflin County stood its ground and was able to tie the contest once again at 23.
Milton Hershey was able to go on an 8-4 run to end the second, leading 31-27.
In the third, MIfflin County was still able to stay within 10 points of catching the Spartans going into the final stanza, trailing just 51-41.
But in the fourth, Rosa was on fire from downtown, posting 11 points in quarter, three came from sporting up from beyond the arc. Thomas also finished strong posting six, giving Milton Hershey the victory.
In the JV game, the Huskies took the Spartans down to the wire but fell in the final seconds, 43-40.
Milton Hershey 71, MIfflin County 56
MH 8 23 20 20 – 71
MC 12 15 14 15 – 56
Scoring: Milton Hershey – Larry Onabanwo 0 5-6 5, Jason Burney 5 0-0 15, Adam Rosa 8 0-0 21, Mohammad Koroma 1 0-0 3, Kyhree Green 1 0-0 2, Malachi Thomas 10 2-3 23, John Regis 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 7-9 71. MIfflin County – Tagg Selfies 1 0-0 2, Jay Miner 2 0-0 5, Evan Strohecker 5 0-0 13, Landen Eichhorn 2 0-0 5, Jaylen Bowersox 3 0-0 8, Jayden Bilger 6 0-2 13, Aiden Reed 5 0-0 10. Totals 25 0-2 56.
Played but didn’t score: Milton Hershey – Joe Naklen 0 0-0 0. MIfflin County – None.
Three-point shots: Milton Hershey – Burney 5, Rosa 6, Koroma. Mifflin County – Miner, Strohecker 3, Bowersox 2, Bilger, Eichhorn