Blue Jays' defense ends Mifflinburg's season

Feb. 23—MIFFLINBURG — Central Columbia's defensive game plan was pretty simple against Mifflinburg in Friday's District 4 Class 4A quarterfinals.

"We wanted to limit what (Tyler) Reigel and (Jackson) Griffith did on offense," Central Columbia senior Andrew Beagle said.

The Blue Jays limited the Wildcats' top two scorers to a combined 24 points, and avenged a regular-season season sweep in a 53-44 victory.

"They played great defense, and we struggled offensively all night," Mifflinburg coach Kelly Griffith said.

The fifth-seeded Blue Jays (14-9) advance to play No. 1 Shamokin, an 81-53 winner over Midd-West, in next week's semifinals. Mifflinburg ends its season at 13-10.

Central Columbia started the year 8-2, but went through a stretch in the middle of the season where it dropped seven of nine games, including losses to the Wildcats in which it gave up 60 and 58 points, respectively. Reigel and Jackson Griffith combined to score 68 total points in those wins.

"We learned a lot from this season, and we hit some bumps in the road," Beagle said, "but we learned from it, and the coaches had us in position to win games (at the end of the year)."

Since the calendar turned to February, the Blue Jays have won five straight, including Friday's quarterfinal victory.

Mifflinburg led by a point to open the fourth quarter, but Beagle had two layups — part of his game-high 17 points — on back-door cuts. Mason Kingery knocked down a 3-pointer, and the Blue Jays built a 39-34 advantage with 6:12 left in the game.

"The coaches prepared us the last couple of days just working on what we thought we could attack them," Beagle said.

Sophomore Cole Reibsome kept the Wildcats within striking distance, scoring five points sandwiched around another Beagle back-door cut layup to get Mifflinburg within 41-40 with 2:48 left.

"This was a close game until we had to start fouling," Kelly Griffith said. "I thought both teams played great defense; we just never got untracked defensively."

The key sequence came on the Blue Jays' next trip down the court. Mifflinburg forced a miss, but there was a scramble for a loose ball. Cam Humphrey picked it up, and was fouled on his lay-up. His made foul shot with 2:12 left gave Central Columbia a 44-40 advantage.

Mifflinburg managed one basket over the next two minutes — a Reigel layup with 1:24 left — but Humphrey's scored all seven of his points in the final 2:48, including five consecutive foul shots.

In addition to its defense, there were two other big keys for Central. The Blue Jays went 15-of-18 from the foul line, while the Wildcats were just 5-of-13. The Blue Jays had just two turnovers overall, none in the second half.

Jackson Gump added 12 points in the win, while Kingery, a freshman, had nine points off the bench.

Jackson Griffith led the way for Mifflinburg with 13 points, while Reigel finished with 11.





Central Columbia (14-9) 53

Kemp Bowman 1 0-0 2; Cam Humphrey 1 5-5 7; Jensen Sarisky 2 0-0 4; Jackson Gump 5 2-2 12; Andrew Beagle 7 3-5 17; Mason Kingery 2 3-4 9; Larson Kocher 0 2-2 2. Totals 18 15-18 53.

3-point goals: Kingery 2.

Did not score: Christian Nowak, Finley Huber.

Mifflinburg (13-10) 44

Tyler Reigel 4 1-2 11; Chad Martin 2 2-3 6; Jackson Griffith 5 2-6 13; Kyler Troup 1 0-0 2; Charles Reader 1 0-0 3; Rem Noll 1 0-2 2; Cole Reibsome 3 0-0 7. Totals 17 5-13 44.

3-point goals: Reigel 2, Griffith, Reader, Reibsome.

Did not score: Simon Snook.

Score by quarters

Central Columbia;9;11;12;21 — 53

Mifflinburg;11;9;13;11 — 44