By RYAN HILDEBRAND
After a loss at Lewistown Wednesday, the Golden Eagles opened up the Hollidaysburg Tournament against Kiski Area. Tyrone outlasted the Cavaliers, scoring a 67-58 victory.
The contest opened up with a three pointer from Kiski’s Greg Hutcherson, and the outside shooting for the Cavaliers would be a theme throughout the game. While Tyrone was unable to connect on a shot from behind the arc, the Cavaliers were able to knock down seven three-pointers, all of them seeming to be more crucial than the last.
“We worked on defense,” replied Tyrone head coach Mike Harris when asked about his team tried to counter the Cavaliers’ outside game. “I told our guys defense was the key, and I thought tonight our defense did really well.”
Just as Kiski showed their style of offense from their first score, so did the Golden Eagles. Brady Hoover answered the Cavalier three-pointer with a bucket from inside, and he would continue to haunt Kiski on both sides of the ball. He finished the game with 26 points, along with a more than impressive 20 rebounds.
The two squads traded scores throughout the next few minutes of the opening quarter, until the Golden Eagles found a rhythm and hit the next three baskets of the game. The Tyrone run was started by senior Dan Grazier, who scored half of his eight points in the first quarter. The opening game of the tournament was his second game of the season, as the senior was kept out of Tyrone’s first five games due to an ankle injury suffered during football season.
“It helped a lot,” commented Harris on having Grazier and Tad Chamberlain back for action after ankle injuries. “It helped as far as our size, and with our toughness. Grazier is one of the toughest kids I know. It helped a lot to get that leadership back.”
Kiski came right back, however, going on a 6-0 run of their own. Not surprisingly, the run was ignited by a Hutcherson three-pointer. He finished the game with 16 points, and teammate Zach Rupert tallied 16 as well.
After Grazier converted a three point play with no time left in the first quarter, the Cavaliers picked up where their run left off, taking the lead on a 9-3 run throughout the first half of the second quarter. Hoover and Tyler Mertiff responded for the Golden Eagles, scoring nine of Tyrone’s next 11 points. When Hoover finalized the first half scoring on a shot with 17 seconds remaining, Tyrone had pulled within two heading into the locker room.
The Golden Eagles came out of the locker room on fire, overtaking the Cavaliers on a 14-4 run throughout the first half of the third quarter.
“I told the guys in the locker room that the first five minutes of the third quarter would be key,” stated coach Harris. “We had to come out and blast them, and we did. The guys came out really hard, we worked the ball, got huge shots, kept attacking them. We just have to keep doing that, we can’t play passive.”
Hoover and Mertiff combined for 13 points on the run, which pulled the Eagles ahead 41-33.
The Cavaliers came right back, however. They erased Tyrone’s lead by scoring seven straight points, and after Grazer converted a three point play for the Golden Eagles, Kiski scored six straight to go ahead 47-44. Tyrone fought back, and the two teams went into the final quarter deadlocked at 50 points a piece.
After the Cavaliers scored the first four points of the quarter, it looked as though the Golden Eagles would have to claw their way back again. The fourth quarter was all Tyrone, however, as the Golden Eagles outscored Kiski 17-8 throughout the final period of play.
Tyrone’s senior point guard Mike Ashcroft came up big for the Golden Eagles, scoring all of his points in the fourth quarter after being held scoreless throughout the first three. Ashcroft contributed six points for the Golden Eagles right when they needed it, and hauled in five rebounds.
Tyrone sealed the deal with a minute and a half left to play, when Mertiff made a shot and was fouled after coming away with a steal. The Tyrone captain made both free throws, which put the Golden Eagles ahead 65-68. Mertiff’s four points were part of an 8-0 run by Tyrone at the end of the game.
“It’s great for us,” said Harris on the importance of gaining team experience through tournament play. “We need that experience. We had a lot of young guys playing tonight. They need experience, and tonight they got it.”
The Golden Eagles move on to the second round of the tournament, and will play the winner of the Columbia and Hollidaysburg match-up. Depending on the outcome of that game, Tyrone will play this afternoon against Hollidaysburg at 6 p.m..The Golden Tigers were 84-77 winners over Columbia. The winner of that game will then advance to the tournament finals on Sunday.
Tyrone 67, Kiski 58
Score by Quarter
Tyrone – 13 14 23 17 – 67
Kiski – 13 16 21 8 – 58
Tyrone – Ashcroft 1 4-6 6, Mertiff 5 11-12 21, Gummo 0 1-3 1, Domenick 1 0-0 2, B. Hoover 10 6-7 26, Grazier 3 2-3 8, Chamberlain 0 0-0 0, Wilson 1 1-4 3, A. Hoover 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 25-35 67.
Kiski – Hutcherson 6 1-1 16, Rupert 6 3-6 16, Gunn 1 0-0 2, Interieri 3 1-2 9, Blanciak 3 1-2 2, Skinner 0 2-2 2, Paolo 1 0-0 3, Conte 0 0-0 0, Confer 1 1-2 3, Schwarz 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 9-15 58.
3pt. FG: Kiski 7 (Hutcherson 3, Paolo 1, Rupert 1, Intrieri 2).
By RYAN HILDEBRAND