By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
MIFFLINBURG -- Kellan Masser got the ball in the lane, jumped toward the basket and rolled in a layup off his fingertips with 4:20 to play in the first quarter. The Line Mountain basket cut Mifflinburg's lead to just three points.
Maybe it was just early jitters in the season-opener, but Mifflinburg didn't take long to regain focus. The Wildcats proceeded to go on a 15-0 run, and by the time Line Mountain scored another basket from the floor, they were staring at a 18-point deficit.
That nearly 5 1/2 minute-long scoring drought proved extremely costly for Line Mountain.
The Wildcats didn't let up the rest of the game and cruised to an 82-33 victory at the Mifflinburg Tipoff Tournament on a snowy Friday night.
The Wildcats play Milton at 7:30 p.m. in the championship game today, while Line Mountain plays Hughesville in the consolation game at 6.
"We've been preaching to the kids that they have to really get out and run. It's something that we haven't done in the last couple of years," Mifflinburg coach Andre Roupp said. "We want to take advantage of our hard work on defense and really push the ball and get some easy ones out of it."
That defense for Mifflinburg (1-0) caused numerous problems for Line Mountain (0-1). The Eagles struggled against Mifflinburg putting points up, and shot 29 percent from the floor. The Eagles also struggled with second-chance opportunities, grabbing just four offensive rebounds while Mifflinburg had 17 defensive boards. Mifflinburg held Line Mountain to single-digits in two quarters and just 10 points in the third.
After Mifflinburg's 15-0 run in the first quarter helped build a 18-point lead, the Eagles never again threatened. Mifflinburg steadily increased the margin to 20 and then 35 points late in the second quarter. The lead was 41 in the final seconds of the third.