Meyer comes up clutch for Mansfield

MANSFIELD — Dylan Meyer’s ankle looked even worse than it felt. The right ankle he injured Saturday was black, blue and swollen.

But Meyer never considered missing Thursday’s third-place District 4 Class AA playoff game against rival Wyalusing. Not with a state tournament berth on the line. Not with North Penn-Mansfield’s season being over if it lost.

Meyer played. Oh and how well he did so.

Meyer scored 19 points, recorded a double-double and scored the game-winning basket off a putback with 40 seconds remaining as North Penn-Mansfield edged top-seeded Wyalusing, 43-41 at Mansfield’s Decker Gymnasium and clinched its third state tournament berth in four seasons. Meyer scored 19 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots and helped the Tigers (17-10) earn a spot in Tuesday’s play-in round at either District 6’s Rockway or North Star.

“I knew my ankle was a little iffy, but I was going to push myself until I couldn’t go anymore and it worked out,” Meyer said. “I knew I was at least going to go out and fight and play until I couldn’t move anymore.”

Meyer and his teammates fought hard the whole game. That Meyer could play as well as he did, though, was both surprising and courageous.

Meyer injured his ankle late in the first quarter against Muncy. He returned briefly in the third, but quickly exited as he was severely hobbled. Meyer did not practice Monday or Tuesday and spent two hours each those days receiving treatment.

When Meyer awoke Thursday, he said the pain was still bad, but not enough to keep him off the court. Once on the court, the junior forward was nearly unstoppable whenever he caught the ball in the post. Meyer made 9 of 11 shots, repeatedly ignited an offense that was having a rough shooting night and delivered when the pressure was highest.

“Dylan is gritty,” NP-Mansfield coach Kipper Burleigh said. “I told him you might not be able to play and if you can’t play that’s OK. He’s gritty and he’s tough, though, and he gave us everything he had.”

Mansfield completed a three-game sweep of the NTL-II champions and top seed, but this was its hardest-fought win yet. The lead changed hands six times in the fourth quarter and Wyalusing (19-6) took its last lead, 41-39 with two minutes remaining when Jon Morrison (22 pooints, 12 rebounds) hit a jumper. Inside the final minute, Garrett David (10 points) was fouled and hit the front end of a 1-and-1.

His second shot was off the mark, but the miss ultimately was the best thing that could have happened. Meyer crashed in hard from the right elbow, grabbed the rebound and banked in the putback, giving NP-Mansfield a 42-41 lead with 40 seconds remaining.

“I was just going to fight through as hard as I can and it was a once in a lifetime moment,” Meyer said. “It felt great after I did it. I couldn’t even comprehend what happened.”

Meyer came up huge again on the ensuing Wyalusing possession, blocking a potential go-ahead shot. The Tigers missed the a free throw, but Wyalusing turned the ball over and Brent Burleigh hit a foul shot with 16.9 seconds remaining that gave them a 43-41 lead.

Kasar Cameron rebounded a miss for Wyalusing and the Rams called a timeout with eight seconds remaining. NP-Mansfield swarmed Wyalusing on the final possession, cutting off passing lanes and keeping the ball well beyond the 3-point line. Morrison’s desperation shot was short and NP-Mansfield, a team that lost eight seniors from last year, celebrated their third state tournament berth in four years.

“We had to overcome foul troubles and turnovers and you could see the frustration,” Burleigh said. “The kids came a little unglued but they came back together and that’s the most important thing.”

Point guard Jayden Andrews played a second straight strong playoff game, making six steals for the Tigers. He disrupted Wyalusing’s offense throughout the first half and Burleigh hit a buzzer-beating putback to send NP-Mansfield into halftime up, 43-41.

NP-Mansfield (43)

Nick Kasper 0 0-1 0, Garrett David 3 4-7 10, Dylan Meyer 9 1-2 19, Brent Burleigh 1 2-4 4, Jayden Andrews 1 2-3 4, Jacob Green 1 0-0 3, Sawyer Freeman 1 0-0 3, Logan Tokarz 0 0-0 0, Alex Stein 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 9-17 43.

Wyalusing (41)

Jon Morrison 5 8-11 22, Will Martin 7 1-2 15, Calvin Burke 0 0-1 0, Kasar Cameron 2 0-0 4, Scott Eberlin 0 0-0 0, Chandler Brown 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 9-14 41.

Mansfield 8 16 8 11–43

Wyalusing 11 8 10 12–41

3-point goals: Mansfield 2 (Green 1, Freeman 1). Wyalusing 4 (Morrison 4)

Records: North Penn-Mansfield (17-10), Wyalusing (19-6).