Southern boys deny Spartans PIAA trip

MILTON — For Hughesville to be in the position of playing for a state playoff berth was something in and of itself, considering the Spartans had started their 2017-18 season with a 4-7 overall mark.

“It didn’t happen quite as we expected,” admitted Spartan coach Nic Tagliaferri. “But the boys do deserve credit to have that opportunity to go to states.”

Only, Southern Columbia had other plans. It got downright defensive in denying Hughesville a return trip to the PIAA tournament.

The Tigers (15-10) limited Hughesville to nine first half points while forcing 10 turnovers, and though Taylor Mason scored 21 second half points, the Spartans’ rally fell short, 54-43, Saturday evening at Milton High School.

Southern coach Joey Britto was blown away at the first half defensive performance his unit turned in.

“I couldn’t have imagined us doing that to anybody,” Britto said. “But we did disrupt them and the kids stuck to the game plan perfectly.”

That plan: Smother the Spartans at any and every opportunity, and it worked. Southern went to work on its 10-6 advantage through eight minutes, ripping off eight unanswered points to lead by 12, then closing the half on an 8-2 spurt to take a 26-9 margin into intermission.

Hughesville played without its second-leading scorer, Matt Myers, but Tagliaferri wasn’t about to make excuses for his squad’s fourth-place finish.

“I’m not sure why we didn’t (play well),” Tagliaferri said. “This was a winnable game and a winnable second half. The first half, we just didn’t execute.”

Hughesville scored eight straight points to trim Southern’s lead to 26-18, but the Tigers put the Spartans to rest scoring nine of the next 11. Mason came alive for Hughesville in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of his 21 second half points in the frame. He scored 22 for the game, which led all participants.

Southern Columbia, which advances to face Dobbins Tech of the Philadelphia Public League, got 10 points apiece from Tobias Walden and Brett Szuler.

Hughesville (43)

Isaiah Savage 2 0-1 6; Luke Ergott 1 0-0 2; Patrick Rogers 1 0-1 2; Devon Busher 0 2-2 2; Tobias Harrington 1 1-4 4; Taylor Mason 6 9-13 22; Blake Sherwood 2 0-0 5; Ori Shaner 0 0-0 0; Nick Rouhoff 0 0-0 0; Austin Long 0 0-0 0; Orion Snyder 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 12-21 43

Southern Columbia (54)

Tobias Walden 3 3-4 10; Brett Szuler 3 3-4 10; Elijah Dobson 2 4-5 9; Mark Adamski 3 0-0 8; Damian Ares 4 3-5 11; Oak Six 3 0-0 6; Jacob Petro 0 0-0 0; Blake Day 0 0-0 0. Totals 18-13-18 54.3-point goals: Adamski 2, Walden, Szuler, Dobson.

Hughesville 6 3 11 23 — 43

Southern Columbia 10 16 9 19 — 54

3-point goals: Hughesville 5 (Savage 2, Sherwood 1, Mason 1, Harrington 1), Southern Columbia 0.

Records: Hughesville (13-12), Southern Columbia (15-10)

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