By TY R. STATES
Tussey Mountain and Bellwood-Antis completed the regular season Thursday with a very closely played contest that saw the two squads within four points of each other on the scoreboard throughout the first three quarters of action. In the final period a 14-0 run lifted the Titans to a 59-42 victory on Senior Night in Saxton.
This one went back and forth as the Blue Devils (11-11) made six of their seven three-pointers in the first half. The Titans (15-6) seemed poised to take control late in the first half but ended up trailing 27-25.
Devin Swope scored nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to lead the way to the win.
“At halftime they said how much they wanted this and I told them this is your half to prove it to me,” said Tussey Mountain head coach Jeremy Molosky. “I told them slow it down, take good shots, rebound and take care of the ball. The foul shooting was pretty good at the end.”
Molosky went with an all-senior starting lineup of Swope, Matthew Leonard, Coby Hann, Skyler Peck and Logan Reed.
Leonard finished with 18 points as he passed Larry Wyles and Craig Enyeart on Tussey Mountain’s all-time scoring list. Leonard needs 27 points to pass Eric Husick for 10th place.
Swope now has 50 three-pointers this season and 150 for his career. That puts him in sixth place in Titan history as he moved past Pat Black. Swope is now 49 points away from 1,000.
Both teams hit three treys in the first quarter. Hann drained a three for the game’s first points.
A flurry of threes finished the first with Bellwood up 17-15.
Tussey Mountain started to get some momentum with a 25-21 lead in the second. The Titans didn’t score the last 3:18 of the half and were down 27-25 at the break.
Troy Walker sank a three for a four-point Bellwood lead in the third. Tussey Mountain took a 38-36 edge into the fourth.
Early in the fourth the Titans were up 41-38. Tussey then put together a 14-0 run to take over the game. That gave the Titans a 55-38 lead with 2:03 left to play.
There wasn’t enough time for Bellwood to try and comeback and the Titans won 59-42.
Tussey Mountain plays in the ICC championship game Saturday at Claysburg-Kimmel High School against West Branch.
“They’re pretty excited. I’m excited too. They wanted this bad. They wanted the south, the overall and district five championship,” noted Molosky.