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Tyrone junior high boys basketball team holds on to defeat Central

Given that the PIAA length of a junior high basketball game is 24 minutes total and the boys are 14 and 15 years old, one might not expect to see the level of play more normally witnessed when attending JV and varsity games. But such was not the case yesterday at the Tyrone High School gym when the Scarlet Dragons rolled into town determined to knock the Eagles from their lofty perch of nine straight wins. It’s safe to say that basketball lovers would not leave disappointed.
Used to having their way in getting out to a quick lead, the Tyrone boys were forced to deal with a quick and aggressive Central team, that used a full court press from the start, and made the eagles pay for their mistakes. Central jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and it took till the 4:19 mark of the first quarter before big Josh Bradley got a basket underneath. He later tied the game 3-3 from the free throw line at the three-minute mark, and again tied the game 5-5 on an end-to-end rebound and layup. But Central forced two quick turnovers from their full court pressure, and converted them into layups to go up 9-5. They finished the quarter with yet another score, making it 11-5, and the Eagles suddenly found themselves looking up.
The second quarter was as fast-paced as the first, but the Eagles were resilient and unwilling to yield. Tyrone raised the intensity of its game, looking for some strength from their bench. Finding themselves down by a score of 16-9, they fought back into the contest behind some strong rebounding and four points from Nathan Dane, who also made a dandy inside pass to Jon Hampton underneath for an easy score. Then with under 20 seconds to go, Ethan Etters got a steal off a midcourt pass by the Dragons for a layup. The Eagles had cut the lead to two points, 16-14, by halftime.
After the intermission, the Eagles picked up where they left off. With the starters back and refreshed, Brandon Gehret broke through the Central press to feed Josh Bradley for an easy score, and the game was tied at 16 with 4:23 left. At 3:25, Jon Hampton hit Bradley with a backdoor pass for a score to stay within one point, and at 2:30, Gehret hit a three-pointer to put Tyrone on top to stay 21-19. But Bradley wasn’t finished as he scored off an inbound play at 1:50, took a charge on the defensive end with 45 seconds left, and sunk two free throws with eight seconds to go. With the Dragons reeling, Brandon Gehret stripped the ball at midcourt, and hit a layup to put Tyrone on top 27-19 to end the quarter.
Regrouping, the Central boys refused to quit, and they quickly scored the first 5 points of the last quarter to get within three 27-24. Another score by Bradley off an inbound was matched by a Central score to make it 29-26. But quiet since his first quarter score off a Dane pass, Jon Hampton rose to the occasion to sink two big three pointers from the left side. At the 2:10 mark, Tyrone had a 35-26 lead.
Central drained a three-pointer at 1:36 left to get back within five at 35-29, but Jon Harris drove the entire floor, hitting a layup off a jumpstop to make it 37-29. The importance of that shot became evident as the Dragons got two quick scores from their pressure to get within 37-33. And after a Gehret miss of the front end of a one-and-one opportunity at 53 seconds to go, the Dragons hit a three with one second to go to make the final score 37-36. The Eagles had successfully held off a 17-10 fourth quarter rally by Central to win their 10th straight game, and go to 11-2 overall.
Josh Bradley once again led the Eagles with 14 points, followed by eight from Jon Hampton and seven from Brandon Gehret. They will play again Wednesday at the Tyrone gym against the Bearcats from Huntingdon.
Ninth Grade
Tyrone 37 Central 36
Score by quarters:
Tyrone 5 9 13 10 – 37
Indian Valley 11 5 3 17 – 36
Scorers: Bradley 14, Hampton 8, Gehret 7, Dane 4, Harris 2, Etters 2
In the prelim eighth-grade game, the Eagles raised their record to 12-0 as they stunned the Dragons with 13-0 and 9-3 first and second quarters to take a 22-3 halftime lead, and then coasted to a 27-13 final victory. John Shaffer led a balanced scoring attack with seven points.
Next stop for the eighth graders will be Huntingdon on Wednesday afternoon at the Tyrone gym followed by a tournament game at St. Marys in Altoona 5:30 that evening.
Eighth Grade
Tyrone 27 Central 13
Score by quarters:
Tyrone 13 9 3 2 – 27
Central 0 3 0 10 – 13
Scorers: Shaffer 7, Peterman 5, Etters 4, Updyke 4, Dane 3, Black 2, Ingle 2.