Mounts earn splitin rout of Indians

By on December 31, 2013

After losing 54-51 to Spring Grove in dramatic fashion in Friday’s opener of the Ephrata Holiday Tournament, the Mounts were forced to do a quick turn around and face fellow first-round loser Donegal in the consolation game Saturday afternoon.

Ephrata’s Zach Peifer (15) goes above the rim during the Mountsgame Saturday vs. Donegal. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Ephrata’s Zach Peifer (15) goes above the rim during the Mountsgame Saturday vs. Donegal. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Needless to say, Ephrata didn’t have much energy in the early going Saturday against a Donegal team that has just one win on the season. But after a listless first half, the Mounts got things together in the third quarter and impressively closed out the Indians.

Leading 31-27 at the half, Ephrata out-scored Donegal 26-14 in the third and the Mounts (3-5) coasted from there en route to a 69-45 victory.

“The difference between the second half and the first half, and even yesterday’s game was, we played with emotion (in the second half),” Ephrata Coach Jason Coletti said. “You could tell we played with a little more intensity…you have to play basketball with emotion, and they did that and brought it in the second half.”

“Playing in the consolation game at two o’clock in the afternoon is tough,” he continued. “They didn’t seem to have energy to start the game, but luckily at the start of the third quarter they had it. We executed the first couple of possessions and built a nice lead and that allowed us to relax and just play the rest of the way.”

Aaron Huston scored 11 of his 12 points in that quarter as he sank two of the four treys the Mounts sank in the period. His three-pointer opened the scoring on the Mounts’ first possession of the third and ignited a quick 9-0 spurt to balloon the lead to 40-27 at the 6:46 mark.

Then after the Indians cut it to 40-30, Brady Sipe canned a three before Huston converted on a three-point play with 4:29 to go to make it 46-32 Ephrata. The Mounts’ Aaron Hubbard (7 points) converted a fastbreak with 36 seconds to go to give the Mounts their biggest edge of the period at 57-39.

Matt McGillan and Zach Peifer led off the fourth with back-to-back baskets to make it a 20-point game, before the Mounts played ball control the rest of the way to easily close things out.

Early on, Ephrata’s Nathan Zimmerman helped the Mounts overcome their slow start as he scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the first half. It was his second-straight solid offensive game as the 6-5 junior scored 12 in the loss to Spring Grove.

Ephrata’s Matt McGillan (left) drives past a Donegal defender during Saturday’s Consolation Game of the Ephrata Holiday Tournament. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Ephrata’s Matt McGillan (left) drives past a Donegal defender during Saturday’s Consolation Game of the Ephrata Holiday Tournament. (Photo by Stan Hall)

“We’ve been talking to him about being in attack mode,” Coletti said of Zimmerman. “He was kind of just being out there and being comfortable at times. We need him to be in attack mode. We need him to score or at the very least, be aggressive, because when he is aggressive, that opens up stuff for other people.”

Louis Summerville finished with 10 points to lead the Indians (1-10).

Friday night in the first round vs. Spring Grove, the Mounts fell 54-51 to the Rockets in a game that ended in controversial fashion.

Ephrata appeared on its way to overtime when Hubbard sank what appeared to be a improbable game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.

Flashback to six seconds earlier and the Mounts seemed to have little hope.

Spring Grove (3-5) seemed to put it away on a pair of foul shots by Nick Spangler which upped the Rocket lead to 54-49 with six seconds to go.

Hubbard then went coast-to-coast for a quick lay-up to cut it to 54-51 with 1.8 ticks remaining. Leading by three, Spring Grove basically just needed to inbound the ball, which the Rockets did. However, Spangler, trapped in the corner, attempted to call time-out, except the Rockets had none left.

Initially, a technical foul was called on Spring Grove, which would have meant foul shots and possession for Ephrata. However, after a long conversation between the officials, the Mounts were given possession of the ball, but no foul shots.

Why? We’re still trying to figure that out.

Any way, Ephrata still had a chance to tie with a three-pointer, but with just 0.3 seconds left. The Mounts lobbed the inbound pass to Hubbard, who was located beyond the arc. The senior guard caught it as he was going up, and in one motion, launched the tying shot, which swished through the basket, setting off a loud celebration from the home crowd.

However, after one official initially made the indication of a “good basket,” the two refs conferred and eventually waved it off because the rule states that “any shot taken with less than .3 seconds must be a tip.”

Game over.

It was a tough way to lose for Ephrata, but a game that was really lost in the second quarter when the Mounts, leading 17-10 after one quarter, were out-scored 26-9 and ended up trailing 36-26 at the break.

Ephrata did cut the deficit to just four at 43-39 heading to the fourth, with a late putback by Zimmerman. The Mounts did get as close as 45-43 on a pair of free throws by Hubbard with 5:26 to play, but the Rockets maintained the lead the rest of the way.

Spring Grove’s Eli Brooks came off the bench to score a team-high 18 points, which included four three-pointers. Spangler added 11 for the winners.

Hubbard led all scorers with 21 points for Ephrata, while Zimmerman chipped in with 12.

Box Score

Box Score

Following Saturday’s consolation and championship games, the all-tournament team was announced. The Most Valuable Player award went to Dallastown’s Ben Doorn, who led his team to the title with a 51-45 victory over Spring Grove.

The all-tourney team included: Zimmerman (Ephrata); Roman Heckstall (Ephrata); Johnny Sutton (Dallastown); and Brooks (Spring Grove).

Up next, the Mounts return to Section Two play this Friday when they host Elizabethtown, beginning at 7:30 p.m. They’ll remain home the following Monday and Wednesday as they take on Lebanon before battling Cocalico.

Both of those games will tip off at 7:30 p.m.

“We were hoping to be in the championship game (of the tournament) and unfortunately we were not,” Coletti said. “We did get the split and hopefully it gives us some momentum going into section play next Friday against E-town. Those are the ones you really need to get, especially on our home court.”

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