COMEBACK CATS: Central Mountain erases 16 point deficit, beats Selinsgrove High, 64-53

Central Mountain High School’s Tanner Lavelle (20) shoots in the lane against Selinsgrove High School during high school boy’s basketball action on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 in Mill Hall. The Wildcats won 64-53. (The Express/Tim Weight)

Central Mountain High School’s Tanner Lavelle (20) shoots in the lane against Selinsgrove High School during high school boy’s basketball action on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 in Mill Hall. The Wildcats won 64-53. (The Express/Tim Weight)

MILL HALL — With two minutes remaining in the opening period, it looked inevitable that Central Mountain was headed toward a lopsided loss.

They were trailing 20-4 and playing flat basketball. The crowd was flustered, but the players kept a level-headed demeanor on the court.

“We knew we had to get back to playing our brand of basketball,” senior guard Tyler Adair said. “I feel like we got away from that, but once we got back to it, you see what happened.”

The Wildcats erased a 16 point deficit to bang out a 64-53 win over the Selinsgrove Seals, giving them the series sweep this season.

Collin Jones had a game-high 20 points and Issiah McCann added another 14. Seven players recorded figures for the CM, including eight from Tanner Lavelle who drilled a pair of three pointers in his increased role in the game.

“I thought Tanner Lavelle stepped up and played some huge minutes,” CM coach Tyler Bardo said. “And JT Pentz has continued his intensity, particularly on the defensive end and on the rebounding at both ends.”

After falling behind by 16, Central Mountain developed a rhythm. Tanner Lavelle nailed a three pointer and Collin Jones recorded a layup to cut Selinsgrove’s lead, 20-9, entering the second.

COMEBACK KIDS

Central Mountain finally arrived in the second quarter. They outscored Selinsgrove 18-8 in the period despite sticking to the game plan that cost them in the first quarter.

“We didn’t make any adjustments,” CM coach Tyler Bardo said. “Truthfully, we didn’t know what adjustments needed to be made because we didn’t execute the game plan prior to that.”

Central Mountain’s ball movement got them back in the game. It started when JT Pentz found Issiah McCann under the basket for a quick score to cut CM’s deficit, 23-13 in the period. McCann’s bucket was the beginning of a 15-5 rally by CM to close the period and head into halftime trailing just 28-26.

McCann gave CM its first lead of the game following an assist from Matt Storeman to put the Wildcats up, 36-35, in the third. The Wildcats controlled a 45-44 lead to end the third period before breaking away in the fourth.

Matt Storeman drilled a three pointer with a hand in his face to extend CM’s lead 56-49 in the fourth. He knocked down another four free throws before Addison Thomas’ layup sealed the win and comeback for Central Mountain, 64-53.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Collin Jones had another soild outing.

The junior led the Wildcats with a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds. He shot 10-of-16 from the field and is the team’s No. 1 scoring option.

After scoring just two points in the opening period, Jones tallied a combined 16 points in the next two quarters. He said his resilience showcases his mental toughness.

“I played pretty good,” Jones said. “With the slow start I was a little rusty in the beginning, but it’s a mental and physical game.”

MEDIC’S TENT

Senior guard Trevor Hanna exited the game in the first quarter with a knee injury.

Two minutes into the game, he came down with the offensive rebound, but a Selinsgrove player banged Hanna’s right knee and hyper-extended it. He was able to leave the court on his own power.

“It’s feeling alright,” Hanna said of the injury. “I’ll be okay.”

Although he never returned to the floor, Hanna was active on the sideline. After the third quarter ended, he communicated a sense of urgency to his teammates to hype them up for the fourth. He told them the outcome would be decided by who ever craved the win more.

“It definitely showed down the stretch,” Hanna said of his speech’s results. “I’m so proud of my guys. They did an awesome job.”

FUTURE STARTERS

Central Mountain won the JV game, 49-44.

With the game tied at 44, Ujjval Adroja hit a corner three with 40 seconds remaining to put CM ahead, 47-44.

Conner Soo and Haden Heichel each added another free throw before the final buzzer to seal the game for CM.

TEAM SCORING

SS 20 8 21 4 – 53

CM 9 17 28 10 – 64

INDIVIDUAL SCORING

Central Mountain: Collin Jones- 20 points, Issiah McCann- 14 points, Matt Storeman- 9 points, Tyler Adair 9-points, Tanner Lavelle- 8 points, JT Pentz- 2 points, Addison Thomas- 2 points.

Selinsgrove: Kolton Elsayed- 15 points, Thomas Kerstetter- 14 points, Tony Dressler- 14 points, Logan Leiby- 8 points, Drew Gabrielson- 2 points.

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