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Hughesville falls behind early and can’t rally in loss to Bloomsburg in districts

BLOOMSBURG-Both Hughesville and Bloomsburg brought large student sections to Thursday night’s District 4 Class AAA quarterfinal game. Unfortunately for the Spartans, there was only one side doing most of the cheering.

Bloomsburg started the game on a 9-0 run and never looked back. The Panthers got huge contributions from a couple of their senior leaders, survived a second-quarter scoring drought and earned a spot in the Class AAA semifinals with a 57-43 win. No. 3 seed Bloomsburg (19-4) will take on No. 2 seed Troy next week at a site to be determined.

No. 6 seed Hughesville (13-10) got off to a very slow start offensively. The Spartans made only four field goals, and turned the ball over nine times in the opening half. Carter Cowburn scored on a putback at the 3:45 mark of the first quarter to finally get Hughesville on the scoreboard. After Dan Guzevich followed up on his own missed shot, Bloomsburg had a 14-2 lead, and forced Hughesville to be in catch-up mode for the rest of the night.

“I thought we were extremely prepared,” Hughesville coach Nick Tagliaferri said. “I felt really good coming in. Obviously we got off to a weird start offensively, but honestly, I didn’t worry about that at all. It would have been nice to cash in on some of the stuff in the first half.”

Trailing by 12, Hughesville had plenty of chances to get back into the game in the second quarter. Bloomsburg went scoreless for a stretch of five minutes and 50 seconds. However, the Spartans could only slice five points off the lead. Jeff Fenstermacher’s basket cut the lead to 16-9 with 3:25 left before halftime, but Hughesville could never get any closer, as the Spartans simply had too many empty possessions to effectively narrow the gap.

“We had a lot of makeable shots,” Tagliaferri said. “I don’t think we were aggressive attacking a couple of times. We didn’t get the ball to spots on the floor where we wanted to get the ball. Part of that was, they adjusted a little bit to the last time we played them. We had opportunities, but we just didn’t take advantage.”

A key stretch in the game happened late in the first half and early in the second half. Bloomsburg closed the first half on a 6-2 run to build a 22-11 halftime lead. While a couple of baskets could have brought Hughesville well within striking distance after halftime, things went the other way for the Spartans. Guzevich, on his way to a game-high 17 points, scored on a couple of hustle plays to begin the third quarter. When Madden Locke connected on a three from the right wing, the lead ballooned to 30-13 just one minute and 16 seconds into the period.

“The game was lost in the last minute-and-a-half of the first half and the first minute-and-a-half of the second half,” Tagliaferri said. “We gave up three straight lay-ups to end the half, and we gave up a couple of lay-ups, including an and-1 to start the second half. They gained a lot of confidence from that.”

Hughesville put together a couple of mini-runs, thanks in part to the shooting of Josh Heiney and Luke Kaiser. The pair connected for 3s as Hughesville pulled to within 36-24 late in the third quarter. Heiney finished the game with a team-high 13 points that included five straight to begin the fourth quarter.

“He is certainly played this year like a kid who has always been talented for us,” Tagliaferri said. “He’s been our leading scorer this year. Somehow, he was only honorable mention All-Conference. I’m not sure how that’s possible. He’s really elevated his game this year. He suffered a setback a couple of weeks ago when he got a concussion on a dirty play, or whatever you want to call it. But he had a great practice (Wednesday) and when he was aggressive, I thought he was effective.”

Adam McGinley provided a nice complement to the scoring of Guzevich. Bloomsburg’s senior point guard was pretty much held in check for the first three quarters, but he did score half of his 14 points in the fourth quarter. His trifecta from the right corner matched the Panthers biggest lead of the night at 20, with 2:55 left to play.

“He’s definitely a matchup problem, he’s one of the best players in our conference,” Tagliaferri said of McGinley. “He didn’t go nuts at all, but he did hit a big three or two late. We had him under control to the point where you could win a game when a guy is under control like that. I thought we did what we wanted to do in terms of things that we talked about, but you can’t get away from that. We had a couple of guys get a little weird.”

HUGHESVILLE (13-10)

Landen King 0 0-0 0, Josh Heiney 4 3-3 13, Nick Trevouledes 2 2-2 6, Dylan Bieber 2 2-4 7, Carter Cowburn 4 0-2 8, Ethan Woolcock 0 1-3 1, Jeff Fenstermacher 1 0-0 2, Luke Kaiser 2 0-0 6, Logan Kiess 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 8-14 43.

BLOOMSBURG (19-4)

Rae Grant 2 0-0 5, Madden Locke 3 1-2 9, Nasir Heard 4 0-0 8, Dan Guzevich 6 5-5 17, Adam McGinley 6 1-2 14, Jake Evans 2 0-0 4, Dominick Rosini 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 7-9 57.

Hughesville 4 7 15 17-43

Bloomsburg 14 8 24 11-57

3-point goals: Hughesville 5 (Heiney 2, Kaiser 2, Bieber). Bloomsburg 4 (Locke 2, McGinley, Grant). Fouled Out: Bloomsburg (Heard).

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