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Fourth quarter comeback keys Eagles victory over Bellefonte

The Golden Eagles trailed Bellefonte after each of the first three quarters Wednesday night, but outscored the Red Raiders 19-7 in the fourth to gain their second consecutive win.
“We work so hard in practice,” commented Tyrone Head Coach Mike Harris after his team’s 56-50 win. “One of our sayings is the harder you work the harder it is to surrender. I think our guys work so hard in practice the fourth quarter comes naturally, especially in close games.”
Both teams came out trading scores, with Tyrone junior Brady Hoover opening up the scoring and Bellefonte answering with a three pointer from Andy Gaebal. After Hoover traded another score with the Red Raiders he hit teammate Kevin Hershberger with a nice pass underneath the basket, and Hershberger converted on a three point play.
Bellefonte countered with another three, this time from Nick Olson. The basket started a 7-0 run for the Red Raiders and displayed what would be a Bellefonte scoring threat throughout the game.
“We knew they were going to shoot threes,” stated Harris on the Red Raiders’ threat from behind the arc. “We said we had to give them one shot and that’s it. Our guys played well down the stretch, and I think that was the key.”
After Bellefonte scored 12 of their 28 first half points on three pointers, the Golden Eagles held the Red Raiders to only one successful three in the second half.
Bellefonte opened the second quarter with a three, but then fell victim to a 6-0 run by Tyrone that tied the game. Tyler Mertiff and Leonard Wilson worked together on the last two buckets of the run. After Dan Grazier hit a shot for the Eagles, Mertiff came down the floor on Tyrone’s next possession, drove, then dished to Wilson who made the easy bucket. Wilson returned the favor, as he fought for a rebound on Mertiff’s next shot then hit him with a nice pass to set up the Golden Eagle standout for two. The two squads traded scores throughout the last three minutes of the quarter, and at the break Tyrone was down one.
The Red Raiders went on a run of their own in the third, outscoring the Golden Eagles 11-2 in the middle of the quarter. Hoover and Mertiff each hit two shots in the quarter, but their combined 8 points were the only Golden Eagle points of the period. Bellefonte tallied 15 points in the third, and went into the final quarter up 43-35.
“We wanted to come out hard in the third quarter, but they came out hard and scored a lot of easy buckets,” said Harris. “But we battled back, that was the key. Our kids never gave up, they worked so hard.”
The Golden Eagle effort was immediate in the final quarter, as Hoover and Mertiff combined for six points in the first minute and a half of the fourth. After a Red Raider two, Tyrone senior Mike Ashcroft nailed the Golden Eagles’ only three of the game to bring his team within one.
Although Bellefonte countered with a three of their own, the momentum had turned in favor of the orange and black. The Golden Eagles rattled off another six straight points, and after Bellefonte tied the game up with 2:15 left to play, Tyrone scored six straight to secure the win.
“This was real big,” stated Harris on the victory. “We have to win the home games. We outscored them 19-7 in the fourth, our guys rose to the challenge, they really stepped it up down the stretch. We have to get momentum, that’s what we need.”
Harris’ Eagles see action again Friday night when they travel to Philipsburg-Osceola to face the Mounties. After that contest the Golden Eagles have consecutive home games, facing Penn Cambria on Monday, Jan. 13, and then Bishop Guilfoyle next Friday, Jan. 17.
The Golden Eagle jayvee squad had a close game of their own prior to the varsity contest, edging out the junior varsity Raiders 46-40. Josh Crabtree led all scorers with his 13-point contribution for Tyrone, while teammate Ben Gummo tallied 8. Zack Robbins led the way for Bellefonte with 11, while Red Raiders Dallas Settle and Cody Smith each added 7.
Tyrone 56 Bellefonte 50
TYRONE – Mertiff 8 6-7 22, Hoover 9 0-1 18, Ashcroft 1 0-0 3, Grazier 2 0-0 4, Hershberger 1 1-1 3, Wilson 2 2-2 6 Gummo 0 0-0 0 Domenick 0 0-0 0 TOTALS 23 9-11 56.
BELLEFONTE – Vaugn 1 2-2 4, Gaebal 4 1-2 15, Olson 7 2-2 19, Daughenbaugh 6 0-2 12 Crafts 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 20 5-8 50.
Score by Quarter
Tyrone 13 14 8 19 – 56
Bellefonte 16 12 15 7 – 50
Three-Point Goals: Tyrone 1 (Ashcroft 1); Bellefonte 5 (Olson 3, Gaebal 2).