Williamsport boys defeat Central Mountain
MILL HALL – Central Mountain was within four points of Williamsport with just under a minute to play in Tuesday’s game. The Wildcats ultimately fell short and suffered their fifth straight loss as Nassir Jones and the Millionaires proved to be too much.
Jones tallied 17 points in Williamsport’s 69-60 victory over Central Mountain.
Wildcats coach Tyler Bardo said his team’s inability to take care of the ball decided the game.
“We usually try to give them about three keys each offensively and defensively that we feel is going to turn the game. Key number one offensively was limiting our live ball turnovers. I think we finished with 18. That was ultimately what decided the game,” Bardo said. “I think we played just as well or better in a lot of the areas of the game. When you give you 10 to 18 points in fast break off our turnovers, that’s going to get you.”
Central Mountain forward Ashton Probst recorded a team-high 17 points. The junior had a solid night on the boards as he collected six rebounds.
The Wildcats starting five looked a little different Tuesday night. Bardo decided to go with a smaller, more athletic lineup in an effort to slow down the Millionaires. Brett Gerlach was inserted into the starting five, the junior ended the night with eight points.
“The group understands that we don’t necessarily have a set starting lineup. This team has made it very clear that they want to pursue a possible home district playoff game and more. In order to do that we have to mix our lineups to get the best match-ups. That’s all it was tonight, Brett did what Brett does, he didn’t overdo it, he moved without the basketball and found himself in some great positions,” Bardo said.
Right from the beginning Williamsport’s defensive aggressiveness was on display. After each made basket, the Millionaires aligned in a full court press. The press worked early as Central Mountain’s guards struggled to control their tempo. The Wildcats hung with the Millionaires despite the ill-advised turnovers, it was tied at 16 after one.
Not only was Williamsport’s full court defense doing its job, but its half court was also equally as effective. Jones did an exceptional job of locking down Central Mountain’s leading scorer Jack Hanna. Jones held the sophomore to zero first quarter points.
Hanna registered his first points of the night after he sank a three off a screen. Hanna’s three made it a 20-19 game in favor of the Millionaires.
It was a fast-paced second quarter of ball that featured tons of back-and-forth scoring. Al-Kabeer Jason continued his solid first half for Williamsport as the senior recorded his eight point of the opening half on a fast-break layup as the Millionaires began to pull ahead.
The result of turnovers and Williamsport’s ability to score in transition had it ahead 33-26 with just over a minute left.
That was when the Wildcats got a boost from Probst. The forward rattled off five points on back-to-back possessions to cut the deficit to two points heading into halftime.
Williamsport played its most well-rounded quarter in the third as it began to pick up even more momentum. Ry-meer Brown and Jason were terrific for the Millionaires in the open floor as the two ran the fast break exceptionally well and had Williamsport ahead 52-45 through three quarters.
The Wildcats chipped at the lead throughout the entire fourth quarter, scrapping their way back into the game. Probst continued his solid night around the rim as he connected on a floater with 2:49 remaining to cut the lead to four points.
On the ensuing possession, after a Millionaire turnover, Central Mountain got layup out of Aidan Major and found itself down just two.
That’s the closest the Millionaires let the lead get the rest of the way out. Kenon Brown connected on two insurance free throws lead to make it a six-point game late. The Millionaires later held on for their seventh victory of the season.
Williamsport 16 17 19 17–69
Central Mountain 16 15 14 15–60
Nassir Jones 6 5-5 17, Al-Kabeer Jason 7 1-2 16, Elijah Frierson 5 2-4 12, Ry-meer Brown 5 0-1 10 Kenon Brown 2 5-6 9, Jeffrey Beagle 1 0-0 2, Xavier Taylor 0 2-2 2, Nayim Connell-Ali 0 1-2 1. Totals:26 16-22 69.
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN (60)
Ashton Probst 8 0-0 17, Cayde McCloskey 3 2-2 11, Trevor Adair 3 1-2 10, Brett Gerlach 3 2-2 8, Aidan Major 3 0-0 6, Jack Hanna 1 1-2 4, Nick Long 2 0-0 4. Totals:22 6-8 60.
3-pt goals: Williamsport (Jason), Central Mountain 10 (McCloskey 3, Adair 3, Hanna, Probst)
Records: Williamsport 7-3, Central Mountain 4-9.