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Golden Eagles fourth quarter spurt upsets Lewistown boys

The Golden Eagles headed into their Tuesday night contest against the 14-5 Lewistown Panthers on a two game skid and without standout Brady Hoover. However, they also went on a 28 point romp in the fourth quarter to chalk up a come from behind victory.
“I always feel that we can beat anybody on our schedule,” stated Tyrone Head Coach Mike Harris after the win. “Without Brady tonight I thought our kids really rose to the occasion. They just hung in there. They never gave up, they just stayed with it and stayed with it.”
Each team’s offensive star made their presence felt very early, starting when Lewistown’s Joe Stewart opened the scoring ten seconds into the game. Tyrone’s Tyler Mertiff answered back half a minute later, chalking up the first two of his game-high 24 points. Stewart was close behind, finishing with 23.
While Mertiff scored his team’s first six points, Stewart was able to post 10 points in the opening quarter to help his Panthers build a five point lead going into the second.
However, Mertiff was able to keep his point total rolling into the second quarter. After Nick Cushion pump faked a three pointer and drove to the basket for two, Mertiff scored 11 of Tyrone’s next 13 points. Three of these points came when Mertiff put back his own miss, was fouled, and converted the three-point play to tie the game up at 22 a piece.
“I think Tyler could get a shot if he had ten kids against him,” commented Harris. “They were holding him tonight, they were switching on him, they were doubling him, and he was able to get shots off.”
Despite Mertiff’s 17 point, five rebound first half, the Golden Eagles headed into the locker room down four. To make matters worse for Tyrone, the Panthers seemed to come out ready to play in the second half. Lewistown began pushing the ball, scoring several times off fast break opportunities.
Although the Panthers were able to open up their lead to six heading into the final quarter, Mike Ashcroft scored his first points for the Golden Eagles in the final minute of the quarter, and this would be a recurring theme in the fourth.
Ashcroft started the scoring in the final quarter when he stole the ball and took it down the court for a Tyrone bucket. Although the Panthers scored the next five points, Ashcroft nailed a three after Dan Domenick converted a three point play for the Orange and Black. Jared Hartsock answered with a three pointer for Lewistown, but Ashcroft came right back by hitting another shot from behind the arc.
“We told him to stick with it,” said Harris of his senior point guard, who struggled from the field in the first three quarters. “We told Mike not to get down on himself, keep shooting the ball, they weren’t’ going to guard him. They didn’t guard him, and he started making his shots.”
Along with Ashcroft and Mertiff doing much of the scoring for Tyrone, the Golden Eagles relied on excellent foul shooting to keep them in the game throughout the contest.
“We were 19 for 22 from the free throw line, that’s pretty good,” stated Harris. “We work on that everyday, like every other team does. Our guys down the stretch made every single foul shot.”
The biggest free throws of the game came late for the Golden Eagles. Mertiff made both his shots on a one and one opportunity with 2:38 left, and freshman Leonard Wilson converted both shots on a double bonus with 1:40 remaining. The four foul shots supplied half the offense for an 8-0 run for Tyrone to put them ahead by two.
After the two squads alternated scores, Wilson nailed a short range jumper with 15 seconds left to lift the Golden Eagles to victory. With the win, Tyrone ups their record to 10-7, while the Panthers fall to 14-6.
The Tyrone jayvees foreshadowed the varsity contest, coming from behind late on their way to a two point victory. Nick Cushion led all scorers with 20 points, making several three pointers down the stretch to put Tyrone ahead. Kevin Hershberger and Shane Gherrity each added eight for Tyrone. Kyle Zimmerman had 17 for Lewistown, while Travis Hook and Chris Tressler tallied nine. The Tyrone jayvees are now 12-2.
Tyrone 65 Lewistown 63
Individual scoring
LEWISTOWN- Baker 0 0-0 0, Hartsock 3 4-4 13, Moore 6 2-2 14, Stewart 10 3-4 23, Hillen 4 0-0 11, Heider 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 26 9-10 63.
TYRONE- Mertiff 7 10-11 24, Gummo 3 0-0 6, Ashcroft 4 0-0 14, Domenick 2 1-1 5, A. Hoover 1 1-2 3, Wilson 2 7-8 11, Cushion 1 0-0 2 Hershberger 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 18 18-21 65.
Score by Quarter
Tyrone 11 15 11 28 – 65
Lewistown 16 14 13 20 – 63
Three-Point Goals: Lewistown- 2 (Hartsock 1, Hillen 1); Tyrone- 2 (Ashcroft 2)