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Raiders convert 25 free throws in win over Huskies

Bellefonte guard Ty Kroell (3) attempts a free throw during Tuesday's game. Kroell finished the night with 13 made free throws in the win. TIM WEIGHT/For The Express

Bellefonte held a free throw shootout a month ago, and it may have been the reason they were able to defeat Mifflin County at home Tuesday night.

Bellefonte converted an impressive 25 of 29 free throws as it downed the Huskies, 61-48 thanks to a second half surge.

Blair Eckley-Jones–who went a perfect eight for eight from the line–tallied a game-high 22 points for Bellefonte. Eckley-Jones was responsible for his team’s first 15 points as the Raiders’ offense struggled against Mifflin County’s zone early.

The Huskies held a commanding 18-6 lead after one quarter of play.

It was not until midway through the second when someone on Bellefonte other than Eckley-Jones registered a point. Nicholas Way’s jumper from the left ‘short corner’ made it a 22-17 game in favor of the Huskies.

Bellefonte defeated Mifflin County Tuesday night, 61-48. TIM WEIGHT/ For The Express

“I knew my teammates would come on eventually, and then later they started hitting shots,” Eckley-Jones said in response to him scoring his team’s first 15, “I knew once I got going, they would get going. We are now one step closer to hosting districts here and I think we can get it done.”

The Raiders were able to trim the Mifflin County lead down to three entering the half. It was a 13-4 second quarter in favor of Bellefonte that setup the makings of a solid second half.

Although, the second half was from close. Something clicked for the Raiders during their halftime speech. Bellefonte routed Mifflin County 42-26 over the game’s final two quarters to secure the victory.

Raiders coach Rick Hall said he and his team made some major adjustments during that break that proved to be pivotal.

“I told them we had to make them (Mifflin County) play fast. I told them we needed to pick it up and play a full-court fast paced game. That’s our game. I give the kids credit. We were to too complacent against the zone also, we were too flat footed,” Hall said.

After the conclusion of the game, Hall also referenced a decision to pull his starters and play three freshmen early in the first quarter.

“We need that. It was a wake-up call for everybody and me trying to develop the program. Those kids give us depth,” Hall said.

Luke Fisher, Gavin Fravel and Derek Cox were the three freshmen inserted in for Bellefonte early in the first when the Raiders were down. Despite just recording two points collectively, the three did a solid job of helping Bellefonte get back into the game.

One of the starters removed early was Ty Kroell. The junior guard converted a game-high 13 free throws in the win for Bellefonte. Kroell, after missing his first free throw attempt, ended the game with 13 straight makes to secure the win for Bellefonte.

“I played pretty bad in the first half, so I had to come back and do something for the team. They (Mifflin County) just kept fouling me, so I kept hitting them (free throws),” Kroell said.

Bellefonte held a six-point advantage through three and never allowed Mifflin County to get within eight in the final quarter to collect its seventh win of the season.

The Raiders now await the finalization of the district six AAAAA bracket to see who their next opponent will be.

Mifflin County (48)

Cade Penepacker 5 3-6 14, Ty Felmlee 5 0-0 12, Owen Wise 2 3-4 9, Cole Knable 1 0-0 2, Conner Zimmerman 1 2-2 4, Jace Shoemaker 0 4-4 4. Landen Eichhorn 1 0-0 3. Totals: 16 12-15 48.

Bellefonte (61)

Blair Eckley-Jones 6 8-8 22, Ty Kroell 2 13-14 18, Nicholas Way 6 3-5 16, Gannon Brungard 1 0-0 2, Luke Fisher 1 0-0 2, Alex Ebeling 0 1-2 1. Totals: 16 25- 29.

3-point goals: Mifflin County 6 (Felmlee 2, Wise 2, Eichhorn, Penepacker), Bellefonte 4 (Eckley-Jones 2, Way, Kroell)

Records: Mifflin County 2-7, Bellefonte 7-11.

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