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Valentine’s 43 pushes Mifflinburg past Central Mountain

MILL HALL – Isaiah Valentine lit the gym up with a 43-point performance Wednesday night as Mifflinburg defeated Central Mountain, 71-64.

The senior connected on five 3s in Mifflinburg’s eighth victory of the season.

“He’s just a leader on both ends of the floor,” Mifflinburg coach Andre Roupp said in reference to Valentine. “You can see he gets a lot of deflections on the defensive end and we really rely on him. Not only to just score but to distribute the basketball.”

Outside of Valentine, Mifflinburg got most of its scoring out of Gabe Yoder and Jake Young, who tallied 13 and eight respectfully.

Roupp said he believed his team got a spark from the run it went on during the third as Central Mountain attempted to make a comeback. He was also pleased with his team’s ability to play defense when it mattered most.

“The push at the end of the third quarter really gave us separation. The determination to lock down and pull out a win, it’s always tough to come here, we’re always happy winning here,” Roupp said. “I know these kids knew they could’ve played better defense in the first half and they just stayed at it. They locked down when we had to.”

As for the Wildcats both Trevor Adair and Jack Hanna scored 20 apiece to lead Central Mountain in scoring. Adair shot a perfect four-for-four from the free throw line and Hanna added 8 rebounds in the loss.

“I thought early we did a pretty good job of executing game plan,” Wildcats coach Tyler Bardo said about his team’s plan to stop Valentine. “They took him out of the post and went more perimeter I didn’t think we took his space away well enough. He’s able to create space, he’s a great player,” Bardo said.

Valentine’s big night started early in the first quarter. The senior posted 11 first quarter points as Mifflinburg had a 20-13 lead at the end of the first.

Ashton Probst did all that he could to bring Central Mountain back into the game. The junior forward scored eight in the second quarter in an attempt close the gap. Despite the strong surge from Probst and Central Mountain, Mifflinburg had a 37-34 lead at the end of the first half. Highlighted by Valentine’s 23 points.

Central Mountain was able to crawl all the way back and tie the game early in the third quarter. Hanna converted an unbalanced layup to tie the game at 38 just minutes in.

Mifflinburg turned to both Yoder and Young to do the scoring for the first four minutes of the third quarter as Central Mountain held Valentine scoreless.

The scoreless streak did not last much longer. Valentine got back to his scoring ways late in the third and helped his team take a 55-48 lead in the final quarter of action.

It was a defensive battle to start the fourth. Both offenses had challenging times finding the bottom of the net. Central Mountain managed to go on a 7-2 to run open the fourth, it was capped off by an Adair layup to tie things up at 57.

After that, it was all Mifflinburg for the remainder of the game. The combination of Young and Valentine were simply too much for Central Mountain to overcome.

Bardo spoke on his team’s close loss after the conclusion of the game.

“There’s a reason that we’re always there. We know how to play this game.” Bardo said. “We are a very good team, if we couldn’t do it throughout the course of the game, we wouldn’t find ourselves in these positions. It’s the big moments we really need to capitalize on.”

Mifflinburg (71)

Isaiah Valentine 15 8-9 43, Gabe Yoder 5 0-0 13, Jake Young 1 4-8 6, Zach Wertman 2 1-2 5, Connor Griffith 1 1-2 4. Totals: 24 14-21 71.

Central Mountain (64)

Trevor Adair 8 4-4 20, Jack Hanna 8 3-6 20, Aidan Major 3 0-0 6, Cayde McCloskey 2 2-2 8, Ashton Probst 2 2-2 8, Brett Gerlach 1 0-0 2. Totals:14 11-14 64

3-point goals: Mifflinburg 9 (Valentine 5, Yoder 3, Griffith 1), Central Mountain 5 (McCloskey 2, Probst 2, Hanna 1).

Records: Mifflinburg 8-2, Central Mountain 4-10.

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