Indian Valley escapes with two-point victory over Tyrone

If the inclement weather kept you from attending the Friday night basketball game between Tyrone and Indian Valley, you missed a whale of a game. After entering the fourth period with a six-point lead, Indian Valley watched senior guard Tyler Mertiff rattle off 13 of his 28 points for the Golden Eagles in the final quarter. Luckily for the Warriors, they were able to come away with a steal and a lay-up in the final seconds to escape with a 55-53 win.
Said Tyrone head coach Mike Harris of the last second loss, “It’s frustrating, because it never should have happened.”
Harris’ Golden Eagles came out slow, as Indian Valley started the game off with nine straight points before Tyrone was able to score. Finally Brady Hoover got the Eagles on the board when he converted two foul shots three minutes into the contest. However, Indian Valley was still on a roll, scoring the next five points. Tyrone managed to halt the Warriors momentum when Nick Cushion sank a three pointer, and from there the Eagles were able to claw their way back to make it an 18-10 game at the end of the first quarter.
“It was huge,” exclaimed Harris after being questioned about falling behind early. “It was gigantic, because that got us into a hole, and then we had to fight and scratch our way out.”
Both squads alternated scores throughout the third quarter, with things looking a little better for the Golden Eagles. Cushion hit another three to start off the quarter, and Mertiff came off a two-point first quarter to score seven in the second. However, the Warriors were propelled by two three-pointers from Zach Miller in the period, and maintained their ten point lead heading into the second half.
The opening minutes of the second half mirrored the first, as Indian Valley came out strong by scoring the first four points. That’s where the similarities would end, much to the dismay of the Warriors. Senior point guard Mike Ashcroft broke the Warrior run with a field goal, and after both teams alternated several scores, Ashcroft drove to the basket and then dished to Dan Dominick who laid the ball in to cut the Warrior lead to seven. Mertiff scored the last three points of the quarter, and this set the stage for what was to be a thrilling fourth quarter.
Once again, the Warriors opened the quarter strong, this time scoring the first six points. However, this was when Mertiff would take over. Down by ten, Mertiff would then be in on all seven ensuing field goals for the Golden Eagles, and he may have shifted the momentum to Tyrone on a single play.
After Hoover converted a foul shot, Tyrone had narrowed the lead to nine. Mertiff received the ball on Tyrone’s next offensive possession, drove down the baseline, and converted a nifty reverse lay-up as he was fouled. He made the foul shot, and Tyrone was back in business.
“He had to take over the game,” stated Harris of Mertiff, as Brady Hoover fouled out with 10 points on a controversial charge late in the final period.
Mertiff then proceeded to score again, and then steal the ball near half court and streak to the basket for a lay-up. Although Mertiff was now carrying the Golden Eagles, the game remained a team effort.
“The other guys did a good job getting him the ball,” said Harris of his team in the fourth period. “They looked for him, they screened his guy. They did a great job.”
The Warriors were now keying on Mertiff, but Tyrone was able to capitalize when their senior guard drove, drew two defenders to him, and then passed to Ben Gummo. Gummo made the shot, and Tyrone was only down one. After Indian Valley made a foul shot, Mertiff drove toward the basket again, this time nailing a jumper to tie the game at 53-53 with under a minute to play.
From here Tyrone played tough defense, and after pulling down a rebound Mertiff signaled for a time out with 18 seconds remaining. The Golden Eagles waited to take the last shot, but the Warriors came away with a steal and a win in the final seconds of the game.
We need to work on defense, we can’t have three guys playing defense and not all five,” stated Harris.
Now 2-2 overall and 2-1 in the Mountain League, Tyrone will look to go over the .500 mark in a road trip to Bald Eagle Area December 16.
Junior Varsity
Tyrone’s junior varsity team faired a little better in their contest with the Warriors before the varsity game. The jayvee Eagles held off a late Warrior push in the final minutes of the game, hanging on for a 52-48 win. Adam Hoover was the leading scorer in the contest with 19, while Shane Gherrity added 12 for the Golden Eagles. Matt Walters was the leading point-gainer for the Warriors, racking up 13 points in the losing effort. Teammates A.J Yoder and Matt Harpster tallied 12 points a piece for the Warriors. Tyrone’s junior varsity team is 4-0.
Indian Valley 55, Tyrone 53
Score by Quarter
Tyrone – 10 14 12 17 – 53
Indian Valley – 18 14 10 13 – 55
Individual Scoring
Tyrone- Mertiff 9 10-12 28, B. Hoover 3 4-5 10, Gummo 1 0-0 2, Ashcroft 2 0-0 4, Cushion 2 0-0 6, Domenick 1 1-2 3, A. Hoover 0 0-0 0.
Indian Valley- Morris 2 0-0 4, Miskinis 2 1-4 5, Leister 2 0-0 4, Yetter 4 0-0 8, Miller 5 0-0 13, Tundel 7 2-3 16, Fisher 1 3-6 5.
3 Point Field Goals: Tyrone- 2 (Cushion 2); Indian Valley- 3 (Miller 3)