By Kenny Varner
CRESSON – They went down fighting!!
In a rematch from last year’s District 6 Class 6A girls basketball title game, MIfflin County and Altoona renewed acquaintances Friday at Mount Aloysius College in a winner take all contest.
Last season, the Huskies got the title nod and was looking for two-in-a-row.
The game was also a rematch from a December contest where the Little Mountain Lions won by a slim 3-point margin 53-50.
However, the Mountain Lions came out strong, posting a 23-point second quarter to take a 31-12 advantage going into the third quarter en route to the 61-35 victory.
Mifflin County’s offense had its trouble getting in sync as Altoona was able to contain MIfflin County’s floor general Marissa Gingrich with numerous double teams.
The Altoona offense had both its inside and outside shooting clicking throughout, finishing in double figures three of the four periods.
In the end it would be Altoona’s scoring attack that would take home the title once the dust settled.
But the Lady Huskies still hold the moniker as D6 runner up.
Leading the way offensively for the Lady Huskies was Gingrich as she finished with 13 points and four rebounds to pace her team.
Teammate Jalee Bodtorf followed with two late threes finishing with six.
Altoona was led by Melana Eyer with 17, Lanie Wilt with 16 and Zaeliah Nguyen – Moore posting 12.
“He (Altoona coach Chris Fleegal) defended us similarly in both but he brought the double team much earlier in the game this time. At our tournament, he tried a diamond-and one on her and we were able to plan for things and avoid the double,” said MIfflin County coach Aaron Gingrich on what did Altoona did differently on defense to defend against Marissa Gingrich. “Here they were doubling right away to get the ball out of her hands.”
In the first quarter both offenses had its difficulties early on, the Huskies were led by four points from Gingrich.
But it would be the play of Altoona’s Lanie Wilt that would be the difference in the period as she drove to the hoop three times, posting two lay ups and was fouled going in. She was successful on both shots from the foul line, helping her team end the first period with an 8-4 advantage.
In the second quarter, things started to slip away from MIfflin County as the Mountain Lions combined for numerous rebounds, turnovers and multiple scorers to score 23. Eyler led the Mountain Lions scoring in the period with 11.
The Lady Huskies got four more from Gingrich.
Trailing by 46-21 going into the third.
Mifflin County finished its season with a 12-10 record while Altoona moved on with a record of 16-9.
“We’ve had our ups and downs this season. There were points in time that we showed glimpses of turning that corner and there were other times there were the inexperienced girls looked inexperienced,” said Gingrich when asked about the season. “ We knew what other teams were going to do against Marissa going into the season and they did. Twenty four games and 24 games of what I like to call junk defenses or specialty defenses.”
The contest also ended the high school career for the elder Gingrich as she left her mark in the Huskies as she finished as the MIfflin County Huskies’ All-time leading scorer as well as possibly one of the best players to play in MIfflin County. She was truly a generational player.