Little Eagles fly high
The Tyrone Elementary Little Eagles saved some of their best play for the end of the regular seasons, as they won two local championships within the last month of their season.
In the Jewish Memorial Center league, which is played on Sundays in Altoona, the Little Eagles avenged an earlier loss to a tough top seeded team Scott Degol Auto team.
The Eagles took an early lead, and were able to go into half time up 10. Led by the scoring of Brandon Gripp and Jordan Miller, as well as the stingy defensive play of numerous other teammates, Tyrone was able to keep a tough Degol team in check. “
We decided to use a 1-3 zone defense with constant man coverage on O’Shea, to try and neutralize his big scoring that hurt us the first time we played,” said Coach Campbell regarding his team’s defensive game plan in the championship. “The other thing we tried to do was slow the ball down and play our tempo on offense, being especially patient in our shot selection.”
In the second half, Tyrone stuck to what was working and maintained a nice lead throughout, finishing with a 42-25 victory. “The kids played their guts out. It really just came down to us wanting it more than they did. It has always been said that defense wins ball games, and for our team this motto really held true,” said Coach Campbell after the big win.
Miller and Gripp were the high scorers with 21 and 13 respectively, followed by Eric Wagner with four points, Brad Wirtner with four points, and John Lewis with two.
In their second championship contest of the week, the Little Eagles again prevailed in a 25-15 win over the Moshannon Valley Warhawks. Again, defensive effort was the key to victory in holding a tough team to such a low score.
“I told the kids all year that defense wins championships, and I think they are finally realizing it,” commented Campbell. “Our goal on defense is to hold teams to around 20 points in order to take pressure off of our offense. To hold this high powered offense to 15 total points was a huge moral victory for our team.”
Great team defense was played by all including Ben Shetler, John Lewis, Dalton McKeean, Drew Chronister and Jacob Dorminy.
After an even first half (10-8), the eagles opened up an 8-point lead, making the score 18-8. The Little Eagles never looked back. From there, the teams exchanged several more baskets, but as time ticked down the Warhawks were forced to foul. Brad Wirtner and John Lewis converted their free throw attempts to seal the win.
Again Jordan Miller led all scorers with 12 points. Brandon Gripp also scored seven points, with most other players contributing some baskets.
“I am so proud of the efforts of these nine kids. They have stepped it up all year when tough games were on the line,” said Campbell. “Coach Shetler and I have had a lot of fun with this group and look forward to seeing what they can do in the next several years. After a season like this, the kids have set the bar pretty high, but there is always room for improvement!”
The Eagles finished the regular season with a phenomenal 27- 4 record. They capped their year with tournaments in Gettysburg, Roaring Spring, Phillipsburg, and Altoona.
Little Eagles fly high