Having to wait almost a week since their last two games against Central Mountain and Moshannon Valley, Tyrone’s varsity boys basketball team showed little signs of rust as they went into Panther country and outplayed Lewistown 64-49.
In the win, the Eagles, now at 18-3, extended their win streak to 10 games while stopping the Panthers win streak at six games. The win also earned the Eagles a lock on the Number One seed in the upcoming District 6-AA boys classification.
While Tyrone was hoping to play Penns Valley this past Tuesday for a chance to clinch the Mountain League’s Nittany Division, a school cancellation due to weather conditions forced the game to be rescheduled for Thursday, February 7. So the remaining three regular season games will be Monday, February 4, at Indian Valley, followed by back-to-back home games Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 6 and 7, with Philipsburg-Osceola and Penns Valley.
The last time Lewistown and Tyrone met at the TAHS gym on Wednesday, January 2, the Eagles got off to a fast start with strong defense and balanced scoring, and went on to rout the Panthers 62-43. Tyrone showed that even when a lot of defensive pressure is being exerted on their leading scorer Steve Catich, they can step up with contributions from several other players. Last night’s game at Lewistown was further confirmation that the Eagles have been becoming a well-balanced team well worth the price of admission.
In the first quarter, Nate Dane got things started as he scored Tyrone’s first two buckets. He was soon joined by an eight point effort from Steve Catich and scores from Matt Brooks, Brandon Gehret, and Johnny Franco. Lewistown countered with five points from Elliot Searer and four from Tyler Fink. But at the end of one period, the Eagles had forged a six point lead at 19-13.
The second period was nearly a draw, as both teams flexed their defenses and neither could get the upper hand. Lewistown slowed down the Tyrone attack to just six points, but they could only manage seven of their own. The first half ended with the Eagles on top 25-20.
Coming out after the half, it was beginning to look like the second quarter scoring pace would continue. But at the 6:16 mark, Ben Ingle broke the ice with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put the Eagles up at 28-20. Moments later at 5:28, Steve Catich got a layup, and at 5:16, Brandon Gehret added another off a Lewistown turnover to open up a 32-20 lead. The Panthers immediately called timeout. They needed to find a way to handle Tyrone’s full-court zone press.
Following the timeout, Lewistown got their first point of the half with a free throw. But Nate Dane countered at 4:14 with two free throws of his own at the other end when fouled on a lane shot. With the score at 34-21, Elliot Searer finally got the Panther’s first bucket on a layup halfway through the quarter. Lewistown was struggling to get back in the game, but Tyrone’s Kyle Updyke had other ideas. The junior guard came off the bench and immediately benefited with a steal and quick pass by Gehret to get a layup, and then followed that with another steal and layup to make the score 38-23 with 3:10 remaining. Lewistown stole a pass almost a minute later and converted a layup to make it 38-25, but a rebound by Matt Brooks and long pass to Updyke resulted in another Tyrone layup to put the Eagles up 40-25.
At this point, with 56 seconds left to play in the third quarter, Steve Catich was whistled for an offensive foul on a short baseline drive. But before the frustration could wear off from that call, at 38 seconds, he was whistled again for another offensive foul for seemingly incidental contact while driving down the floor. The foul was his second in less than 20 seconds and his fourth overall. Coach Gripp received a technical foul for protesting the two calls in quick succession. Catich went to the bench, Lewistown hit the two technical foul free throws, and from that point on, Tyrone was in double bonus, having committed 10 team fouls.
Resuming the game at the score of 40-27, Lewistown’s Brody Blessing reduced the deficit to 10 points when he hit a 3-pointer at 30 seconds. Tyrone quickly turned the ball over, but got it back for one more try as Nate Dane drove by Lewistown’s pressure to hit Kyle Updyke in the lane for a floater bringing his quarter total to eight. The Eagles finished the quarter up 42-30.
Starting the final period with Catich still on the bench, Dane powered down low for a layup and was fouled, but missed the free throw. With the score 44-30, the Panthers made their move. With the Eagles in double-bonus, Lewistown got to the free throw line and scored three straight free throws at 6:51 and 6:27 to reduce the margin to 11. A steal by Elliot Searer and layup made it 44-35, and at 5:49 Coach Gripp called timeout to talk to his team and to get Steve Catich back in the game.
Lewistown struck quickly again at 5:32, when Blessing scored on a layup to pull them within seven at 44-37. But Tyrone resurged, sensing the closeness of the game. Catich found Matt Brooks with a pass for a layup at 5:10. Brandon Gehret was fouled in the lane at 4:38, and hit 1 of 2 free throws. And then Steve Catich scored back to back 3-point plays at 4:18 and 3:54. The first on a power layup and free throw, and the second on a short bankshot and free throw. The Eagles raised the lead to 53-37, and Lewistown called timeout with 3:50 to play.
Following the timeout, Tyrone went into their motion offense designed to burn the clock and generate open shots. At 3:25, Dane found Johnny Franco open for a layup to make it 55-37. The Panther’s Searer was fouled at 3:08 and hit a free throw. But at 2:28, Franco hit Brooks for another layup. With the Eagles holding a commanding 57-38 lead at 2:02, Gripp called one more timeout.
The final two minutes resumed with a layup from Searer. And then at 1:31, he was fouled as he hit a shot from the top of the lane. He sunk the free throw, making it 57-43. The Eagles countered with a putback by Brooks at 1:16 for a 59-43 score. With under a minute to go, both teams traded a few more free throws and baskets to make the final score 64-49 in favor of the Eagles.
Despite foul trouble in the 3rd period, Steve Catich was still able to lead his team to victory with 21 points. And the Eagles spread plenty of scoring among Matt Brooks (10 pts.), Nate Dane (9 pts.), and Kyle Updyke (8 pts.). Seniors Brandon Gehret and Johnny Franco chipped in seven and six points, respectively. Elliott Searer lead all scorers with 22 for the Panthers.
Following the game, assistant coach Steve Ramsey said “I appreciated how much our team maintained their composure during that rough stretch in the third quarter. Steve Catich was out with four fouls, but everyone stepped up to maintain the lead.
“And then Steve played under control when he came back off the bench in the fourth quarter,” Ramsey added. “We’re looking forward to a big game at Indian Valley on Monday.”
Tyrone 64, Lewistown 49
Tyrone – Catich 8 4-8 21, Brooks 5 0-0 10, Dane 3 3-5 9, Updyke 4 0-0 8, Gehret 2 2-4 7, Franco 3 0-1 6, Ingle 1 0-0 3, Totals 26 9-18 64
Lewistown – Searer 6 9-14 22, Fink 3 0-1 6, Baker 2 0-1 6, Blessing 2 0-0 5, Klinger 1 2-4 4, Muir 1 0-1 2, Fagan 0 2-2 2, Randall 1 0-0 2, Totals 16 13-23 49
Score by Quarters
Tyrone 19 6 17 22 – 64
Lewistown 13 7 10 19 – 49
Three-point goals: Tyrone 3 (Catich, Gehret, Ingle),
Lewistown 4 (Blessing, Searer, Baker-2)