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Golden Eagles Win After Strong Second Half behind scoring of Mertiff and Hoover

The Tyrone Golden Eagles upped their record to 2-1 on the season after a 59-47 win over Huntingdon Tuesday night.
Tyrone was lead by Tyler Mertiff and Brady Hoover, who combined for 50 points and made their presence felt early in the contest.
Mertiff had a 26 point night, and started off the scoring only eight seconds into the game. Hoover was right behind him, scoring the next 5 points of the contest and putting the Eagles firmly ahead early. Hoover totaled 24 points, along with 15 rebounds.
The Bearcats responded, however, going on a 10-0 run in the next three minutes of play. Bearcat junior Geoff Kozak hit back to back three pointers during the run, the second of which put Huntingdon ahead 9-7.
“He’s tough,” said head coach Mike Harris of the Bearcat standout. “He’s a real tough player, he’s quick, he makes everyone around him better.”
Kozak led the Bearcats with 20 points on the evening, and his two three pointers were the only shots made from behind the arc all night.
Tyrone came right back when Ben Gummo stopped the Bearcat run with a field goal. Mertiff then scored 2, stole a Bearcat pass, and put the Eagles ahead with 2 minutes to play in the first period.
Things turned sour for the Eagles at this point, however, when sophomore starter Tad Chamberlain went down with an ankle injury.
“Tad’s one of our key players,” commented Harris. “He went down early. It created some match-up problems for us.”
Up by one after the first period, Huntingdon widened their lead to by six throughout the first three minutes of the second period. Two minutes of offensive drought ensued for both squads, but Tyrone was able to break the silence and regain the lead when Hoover and Mertiff combined for an 8-2 run to end the half.
The Golden Eagles came out of the locker room with a two point lead, but quickly pulled away from the Bearcats. Mertiff and Hoover ignited the Eagle offense, scoring all 15 of Tyrone’s third period points. The rest of the Golden Eagles came together on defense, limiting the Bearcats to only 7 points in the period, allowing Tyrone to increase its lead to ten.
“We didn’t play our game, we didn’t play the game we wanted to play,” stated Harris of his team’s sloppy first half. “At halftime we just said we had to pick it up, we have to make a stand right now, and we did.”
Senior point guard Mike Ashcroft, who swatted Huntingdon’s first shot of the game, was also busy getting the ball to the Mertiff-Hoover tandem all night and throughout the period.
Ashcroft and his fellow starters would leave the game early, as the Golden Eagles kept their third period push rolling into the final period of play. Mertiff got a generous roll on a lay-up in traffic, which started an 8-2 run throughout the opening three minutes of the fourth period. After Ashcroft found a cutting Nick Cushion for another two and freshman Leonard Wilson converted on a three point play, the Golden Eagle starters were relieved by the junior varsity.
“It’s huge,” commented Harris on the importance of getting the junior varsity experience. “Itâ’s big. We need to get experience, we need to get guys playing.”
The Golden Eagle jayvees were able to post a 55-41 victory over the junior varsity Bearcats prior to the varsity game. Tyler Hoover led all scorers in the jayvee contest, tallying 18 points for the Golden Eagles. Teammate Shane Gherrity was second among all scorers with 15, and Barry Gummo had a 12 point outing for Tyrone. Huntingdon was led by Brandon Spayd, who also had 12. Tyrone’s junior varsity squad upped their undefeated record to 3-0 on the year.
“I thought overall this was a sloppy game, but it was a game we needed to win and we did,” said Harris following the game. “We’re not playing our best, but we won. We got it done.”
Both the junior varsity and varsity Eagles will face a tough Indian Valley squad this Friday at home.
“We have two days of practice, Indian Valley comes rolling in here on Friday,” stated Harris on his team’s upcoming game. “Indian Valley’s very strong, they’re well coached, and it’ll be a battle, but we’re ready for the challenge.”
Tyrone 59 Huntingdon 47
Score by Quarter
Tyrone 16 13 15 17 59
Huntingdon 17 10 7 13 47
Individual Scoring
Tyrone- Mertiff- 10 6-9 26, Hoover- 8 8-10 24, Gummo- 1 0-0 2, Ashcroft- 1-2 1, Cushion- 1 0-0 2, Wilson- 1 2-3 4
Huntingdon- Kozak- 5 4-5 20, Stidd- 1 0-1 2, Reed- 3 0-0 6, Waleski- 6 3-5 9, Barclay- 2-4 2, Border 1 0-0 2, Black 0-1, Kocik 1-1 1
3-Point Field goals Huntingdon 2 (Kozak 2)