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Tyler Mertiff keys effort as Golden Eagles Overtake Bishop Guilfoyle to win 65-56

After dropping their season opener to Bellwood, the Tyrone Golden Eagles traveled to Bishop Guilfoyle Saturday evening to play the Marauders. The Eagles came out on top 65-56, and were keyed by a 24 point outing by senior guard Tyler Mertiff.
Mertiff, who also hauled in 8 rebounds for the Golden Eagles, was aided by senior point guard Mike Ashcroft in making the game an extremely exciting contest.
The two seniors took charge early in the second half, when the Eagles were down by three. Ashcroft stole a pass one minute into the half, and rifled the ball over to Mertiff who sank the bucket and narrowed the lead to one. After a Marauder field goal, Ashcroft contributed 4 points on a 6-0 run for the Golden Eagles, and from there the game was a back-and-forth battle.
Bishop Guilfoyle sank a three pointer to tie the game, but the Eagles regained the lead when Mertiff hit a field goal, was fouled, and made his free throw. BG answered with another three to tie the game, but Tyrone again regained the lead after an Ashcroft bucket. When the smoke had cleared after the third period shootout, Tyrone was ahead 44-41.
Things hadn’t looked as good for the Golden Eagles earlier on, however. After taking a 4-0 lead a minute into the game, Tyrone fell victim to a 9-0 run by the Marauders. The Golden Eagles were able to claw their way back, ending the period on a Brady Hoover basket to go up 14-13. Hoover supplied 7 of his 18 points in the final four minutes of the first period.
However, the Marauders poured it on in the second period; going on an 11-0 run that took up nearly four minutes of clock. Mertiff kept the Eagles going in the second period, scoring eight of Tyrone’s ten points tallied throughout the period. Despite his efforts, the Golden Eagles had fallen behind 24-27.
While the Golden Eagles’ starting lineup supplied most of the offense on the night, head coach Mike Harris gave his bench a great deal of credit for the victory.
“I thought our bench played real well tonight. We played with a lot of guys. Dan Dominick and Ben Gummo, Leonard Wilson and Kevin Hershberger, those guys played really well tonight off the bench.”
“We have to get guys experience, they have to start playing,” coach Harris went on to say of his bench, which was one of the team’s question marks heading into the season.
While Harris’ bench needs some experience, his upperclassmen were already familiar with the Bishop Guilfoyle Marauders. Last season, Mertiff, Hoover, and Ashcroft were all starters in the district championship game, where the Golden Eagles fell to a tough Marauder squad.
When asked about last year’s loss to BG, coach Harris commented, “They (Tyrone players) wanted it tonight, that was talked about before the game. They wanted them tonight, they remember the loss in the championship last year.”
Tyrone’s second game of the 2002-03 season would not be a repeat performance of the first, in which they allowed a big halftime lead to be erased. Up by three going into the fourth period, the Golden Eagles widened their lead when Mertiff hit two buckets. Bishop Guilfoyle kept fighting, hitting a basket and then answering two more points from Mertiff by adding four of their own. Both squads traded scores throughout the final period, but Tyrone out gained the Marauders 21-15 in the final period to secure their first win of the year.
Josh DeStafano was BG’s leading scorer with 11 points, while Sean Pacifico and Erich Stoer each added 9.
In their first game, the Eagles squandered a lead to Bellwood in a losing effort. Against the Marauders, it was obvious that Tyrone had something to prove, as the Golden Eagles came out strong in the second half of the game. Tyrone scored 24 points in the first half, then came out of the locker room and produced 41 in the second while holding the Marauders to 29.
“t was real big to get a win tonight, especially up here,” exclaimed Harris after the game. “It’ a tough place to play. Our kids really rose to the challenge all week. We really worked hard the past four days, came together, and it showed tonight.”
Tyrone’s junior varsity team also posted a win, edging out the jayvee Marauders 46-42. Leonard Wilson led all scorers with 11 points, while Shane Gherrity added 10 for the Golden Eagles.
Tyrone will host Huntingdon for their third game of the year. The Golden Eagle-Bearcat rivalry has crossed over from the gridiron to the hardwood, and has developed into a very good one. Bishop Guilfoyle travels to Bellefonte.
Score By Period
TYRONE 14 10 20 21 65
BISHOP GUILFOYLE 13 14 14 15 56
Individual Scoring
Tyrone-Mertiff 9 6-8 24, Hoover 6 2-2 14, Cushion 1 0-0 2, Chamberlain 1 0-0 2, Gummo 2 3-4 7, Ashcroft 3 0-0 6, Dominick 4 0-0 8, Hershberger 0 2-3 2
Bishop Guilfoyle- Forr 1 2-4 7, DeStefano 1 0-0 11, Mathis 3 0-0 6, Pacifico 3 3-5 9, Stoer 3 3-5 9, Toomey 1 2-2 7, Miller 3 1-3 7