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Burleigh wins 300th game in NPM win

MANSFIELD –Things looked grim at halftime of the Peg Berguson Memorial Game for North Penn-Mansfield. The first half had not gone Kipper Burleigh’s way, who came into the game with 299 career wins. Wellsboro leading scorer Joe Grab had 19 points, Mansfield’s leading scorer Logan Tokarz had two fouls. The Tigers trailed by 12 at halftime in front of a raucous crowd. The script flipped completely though.

Tokarz had 16 second-half points, Grab was held to only eight in the final two quarters and Mansfield made the plays in the last two minutes after a back-and-forth final quarter to win the Berguson Trophy and get Burleigh his 300th career win, 66-60.

Burleigh demurred when asked about his 300th career win, saying that he had coached a lot of years. While that’s true, the 18th-year coach is averaging nearly 17 wins a season and his program has been the epitome of consistency. To get the win against Wellsboro in the Berguson game was extra special for Burleigh.

“I knew Peg well. She was a wonderful lady. My first year, her oldest son Jeff was a sophomore. Then came Mark and Tim and Luke and a lot of success and right after Luke came my kids,” said Burleigh. “Brody (Burleigh) is a freshman this year and is my last kid and for him to play big minutes tonight with all this game means will be a memory that will last a long, long time.”

Wellsboro was firmly in control of the game early on. Grab was getting to the rim in transition and Liam Manning (20 points, 8 rebounds) owned the paint. Mansfield went into the locker room after getting outscored by 10 in the second quarter and knew things needed to change.

“We went in there and we just knew we had to play better,” said Tokarz. “I knew I needed to play better and play smarter.”

Mansfield came out in the third on fire, scoring on their first five possessions, including two contested Tokarz threes to tie the game up at 40 and eventually take a lead before Liam Manning had four straight to send the game tied at 48 to the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter featured four ties and five lead changes before Mansfield finally grabbed a lead more than a basket when Tokarz drove baseline, scored and drew a foul. The ensuing foul shot was good.

Wellsboro would have one final chance, though. Down by two with under 20 seconds left, Isaac Keane got a wide open look at a 3-pointer from the right corner right in front of his bench. It was no good, Mansfield got the rebound, and closed the game out at the foul line.”

Alex Stein was huge for Mansfield, holding Grab to just eight points in the second half. After the game, he was jubilant.

“It means so much for us to win Peggy (the Trophy),” he said. “I knew I needed to do a better job on Grab the second half and did.”

N.P.-Mansfield 66,

Wellsboro 60

WELLSBORO (60)

Grab 11 2-2 27, Adams 3 0-0 8, Callahan 1 1-2 3, Manning 9 2-4 20 Mitchell 2 0-0 2. Totals 25 5-8 60.

N.P.-MANSFIELD (66)

Lawrence 0 0-1 0, Tokarz 4 6-7 16, Garverick 5 1-2 13, Stein 4 2-2 12, Craig 4 0-2 8, Burleigh 1 1-4 3, Evans 5 1-2 14. Totals 23 12-21 66

Wellsboro 18 18 12 12 — 60

N.P.-Mansfield 16 8 24 18 — 66

3-point goals: Wellsboro 5 (Grab 3, Adams 2), NPM 10 (Evans 3, Tokarz 2, Gaverick 2, Stein 1).

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