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Bulldogs fall to Wildcats in districts

MIFFLINBURG – The final buzzer sounded and Jersey Shore’s season ended with a 46-34 road loss to Mifflinburg in the District 4 Class AAAA playoffs Thursday. But even in defeat, the team left the court with their heads held high. The Bulldogs utilized every bit of energy and mental fortitude that they had which is all any coach can ask for.

“Even though we were down by nine in the first half we kind of controlled some things,” Jersey coach Darrin Bischof said. “After the first quarter, we played very, very well defensively in the second quarter to get us back in it. But every time we seemed to get back in the game within five or six, there would be a breakdown.”

A few sequences of defensive lapses really hurt the Bulldogs. Midway through the first quarter the game was tied at eight but the Wildcats managed to take a 17-8 lead into the second.

Another defensive-lapse occurred in the second quarter’s final possession. After Sadie Griswold converted a free throw to slash the Bulldogs’ deficit to six, the Wildcats knocked a down a 3-pointer, after a trio of offensive rebounds, as time expired to carry a 24-15 lead into halftime. Jersey Shore surrendered 17 first-quarter points and seven in the second, but the late 3-pointer was a buzz kill heading into the locker room

“That 3 at the end of the half hurt us,” Bischof said. “There was three offensive rebounds to get an extra shot that kind of put us in a bind, but then we battled again in the third quarter.”

Jersey Shore’s third quarter was its best offensive performance of the night. Early on they trailed by as many as 13 but their ability to force turnovers and capitalize on second-chance points paid off. Aubrey Stetts hit a deep two late in the period, and later undercut a Mifflinburg pass and raced down the court before being hacked on the layup attempt. She hit just one, but slashed Mifflinburg’s lead to 31-25 after the Bulldogs outscored the Wildcats in the period, 10-7.

“We got it back to six, and had some chances, but it was one of those games where we could never seem to seize the momentum all the way. It was like halfway and then it stopped.”

Offensive turnovers were prevalent early on in the fourth as a quick 8-0 run for the Wildcats stretched Mifflinburg’s lead 39-25. Stetts bandaged the bleeding when she knocked a pair of free throws but Jersey Shore’s offense was unable to keep pace with Mifflinburg as they dropped the game, 46-34.

“For my seniors it’s really tough,” Bischof said of the loss. “Because we worked really hard to come down here and we felt like we had a good chance.”

Jersey Shore’s starting five received a standing ovation from the Bulldog crowd as they exited the game with 22.8 seconds remaining. For Aubrey Stetts, Hailey Stetts, Brielle Hess, Sadie Griswold and Bella Kriner, it was their final appearance in a Bulldogs basketball uniform. Aubrey Stetts scored a team-high 15 points, including all 10 of the team’s third-quarter points. Seniors Hess and Griswold added seven and six points, respectively.

“I’ll miss them, everyone of them,” Bischof said. “They’ve been a part of my life for four years, and that’s hard. It’s hard to say good bye and turn the page, but they’ve got nothing to put their heads down about. They should be proud of what they accomplished here at Jersey Shore. It’s a tough group to lose.”

Mfflinburg 46,

Jersey Shore 34

JERSEY SHORE (34)

Aubrey Stetts 4 7-10 15, Brielle Hess 3 0-0 7, Sadie Griswold 0 6-9 6, Aubrey Schilling 3 0-0 6. Totals 10 13-19 34.

MIFFLINBURG (46)

Angela Reamer 5 3-5 14, Brooke Catherman 5 2-2 12, Ella Shuck 3 1-3 8, Mollie Bomgardner 2 3-5 7, Mara Shuck 1 0-3 3, Cassie Keister 0 2-4 2. Totals 16 11-22 46.

Jersey Shore 8 7 10 9 — 34

Mifflinburg 17 7 7 15 — 46

3-point goals: Jersey Shore 1 (Hess 1), Mifflinburg 3 (Reamer 1, M. Shuck 1, E. Shuck 1).

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