MIFFLINBURG -- Lewisburg and Mifflinburg refused to budge Wednesday night in a fierce Route 45 and Heartland Athletic Conference crossover battle.
While neither team could separate itself by more than two possessions the entire way, there came a point in the fourth quarter that someone had to step up and create some separation. That player happened to be Green Dragons junior guard Travis Conrad.
Conrad ignited a huge final push for Lewisburg, outscoring Mifflinburg by himself in the final period. His 12 fourth-quarter points and game-high 18 to go with Michael Driscoll's hot hand and a tormenting defense led to a 50-41 victory at the Cats' Den.
The Green Dragons outscored the Wildcats 23-11 in the fourth, as Conrad's back-to-back 3-pointers started a 16-4 run with just over six minutes remaining. Over a four-minute span, Lewisburg didn't allow a field goal after Alex Vidunas' triple made it 33-30 with 7:00 to go.
There were seven ties and five lead changes as the Green Dragons avenged a lopsided 57-43 loss to their neighboring rival a season ago.
"This was just another Lewisburg-Mifflinburg battle, where no matter what the records are these teams are going to play tough," said Lewisburg coach John Vaji. "I thought the last six minutes of the game we really picked up the intensity and passion. We knocked down some shots, got the lead and the guys maintained their composure.
"He (Conrad) has the ability to step up like he did. He's a competitor and he is a great catch-and-shoot type player. But at the same time I thought Michael (Driscoll) also hit some big shots and this was just a great win."
"This was a big one and Cam (Cassels) said before the game that he hadn't beat Mifflinburg in his previous three years," said Conrad. "Everyone wanted this one and the defense got our offense going. Getting this one feels good, especially doing it down the stretch."
Driscoll added 14 as the only other Lewisburg scorer in double figures. Connor Pierce paced Mifflinburg with 15 points, but had just six in the second half. Vidunas added 14, including four treys.
Mifflinburg led for 14 minutes in the opening half, but never pushed its lead to more than four, which happened to be its largest lead of the game. With two minutes left in regulation, the first three-possession lead was establish after Erich Kline knocked down a pair of free throws for a 45-37 Lewisburg lead at the tail end of the game-changing run.
"We knew this game was going to be close throughout," Mifflinburg coach Andre Roupp said. "All you have to do against a good shooting team like Lewisburg is give them an inch and they take a foot. But if you give those two shooters room they'll take advantage and knock down some down."
The Lewisburg defense forced Pierce into challenged shots and took him off the ball in the second half. Other than the two main scorers the Wildcats' next leading scorers were Nick James and Jeremy Uscowskas with three points apiece. Mifflinburg shot just 33 percent for the game.
"We really tried hard to deny their guards and play solid help defense," added Conrad.