By Matt Michelone
For the Mirror
HOLLIDAYSBURG — There has been no time for rest for the Hollidaysburg boys’ basketball team, having played three games in three straight days.
Monday night they got a tough welcome to the Mountain League as Tyrone gave them everything they could handle.
The good news for the Golden Tigers, though, is they survived their first test in the new conference and 32 minutes wasn’t enough. The Golden Eagles’ last -second heave hit the back of the rim and went out as the Tigers held on, 61-60, in overtime in front of a raucous crowd at the Hollidaysburg gym.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge, especially since (Tyrone coach George Gripp) is starting juniors and seniors, and we’re starting four sophomores and playing five most of the game,” Hollidaysburg coach Brad Lear said. “We knew we’d have our hands full. It was a good welcome into the league.”
Hollidaysburg got a dream start to the night as it forced three turnovers early and converted them into seven points, set up by takeaways from Jake McGinnis. That gave the Golden Tigers a 13-3 lead.
“Our rebounding at times when we needed to get a rebound, they seemed to always get it, kick it out, and hit an open 3,” Gripp said. “They must’ve had 15 points off of that. We missed way too many 2-foot shots. Our offensive execution is not where it needs to be yet.”
Tyrone didn’t get on the board until the 2:50 mark of the first, thanks to a Cortlynd Rhoades 3-pointer.
The Eagles chipped away in the second quarter as Landen DeHass buried an and-1 and a layup midway through the frame. That helped Tyrone take a 30-29 lead into the intermission.
“I never have to worry about kids playing hard for me,” Gripp said. “They have heart. We just came up short. We took some ill-advised shots sometimes, we missed some foul shots, we missed some layups, couldn’t secure a rebound when we had to.”
DeHaas led the Eagles with 20 points while Keegan Gwinn chipped in 14.
In the fourth quarter, the Tiger sophomore class came up big as Cole Walters drained a 3-ball and Jacob Hileman added a jumper for a 54-50 lead.
Tyrone answered with its full-court pressure as Gwinn tied the game up at 54, forcing the extra session.
“They’re a talented group, we knew that coming in,” Gripp said. “They run that 5-out dribble drive offense. If you help, they kick it out for open shots, they can all drive past you. I don’t think they missed too many mid-range (shots) which is a lost art in the basketball game today.”
Hileman led all scorers with 21 points with classmates Walters adding 17 and Mason Goodman contributing 12.
In the overtime, Hileman got the plus-1 with 1:34 to go, and Goodman put away a jumper in the last minute for the game-deciding score. Lear credits the senior McGinnis for being a steady hand for the young lineup.
“There is a reason why they’re playing, and there’s a reason why we roll with those guys most of the game,” Lear said. “Jake McGinnis had a heck of a weekend; Jake is a winner. He doesn’t care who gets the credit, he doesn’t force shots, and he was just as happy for them. Jake does such a good job defensively and rebounding wise that he contributes in other areas.”
The Golden Tigers will now have three games in three straight days once again this weekend as they play Clearfield in another league match up Thursday.
“The good thing is that they’re at home, then it settles down a little bit,” Lear said. “We’ll have to make some adjustments on the fly, but tonight (the kids) showed they can do that.”
The Golden Eagles attention is now on its home opener with Penns Valley the same night.
TYRONE (60): Rhoades 3 1-2 8, Gampe 2 1-2 6, Lang 2 1-3 6, LeGars 1 1-2 4, DeHaas 7 6-6 20, Gwinn 5 4-6 14, Johnson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 14-21 60.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (61): McGinnis 3 0-2 7, Hileman 10 1-3 21, Goodman 6 0-0 12, Walters 6 0-1 17, Rhodes 0 0-0 0, Holsopple 2 0-0 4, Naugle 0 0-0 0, Steiner 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27 1-6 61.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Tyrone 10 20 8 16 6- 60
Hollidaysburg 15 14 12 13 7- 61
3-point field goals: Tyrone 4 (Rhoades, Gampe, Lang, Legars), Hollidaysburg 6 (McGinnis, Walters 5)
Records: Tyrone (1-1, 0-1 Mountain League), Hollidaysburg (2-1, 1-0 Mountain League).
Officials: Russ Brown, Jordan Forster, Dan Gitles
JV: Tyrone, 38-30. High scorers: Draven Crowell, T, 9; Brady Steiner, H, 13.