SAXTON — One big run can cause a game to go in favor of one team in any game.
With the game between Tussey Mountain and Claysburg-Kimmel so close in the first half it was just a matter of a run to blow the game open.
Trailing 20-17 in the second period, the Bulldogs got a 13-point run in the second quarter to take a lead they would not relent in a 65-58 victory, Wednesday.
“This was a great win tonight,” said Claysburg-Kimmel coach Mike Harris. “The Terrordome is a difficult to win in. My kids held their composure really well. We held on and played really smart basketball down the stretch.”
The Bulldogs used seven free throws on nine attempts and three buckets to take a 30-20 lead with 4:17 left to play in the first half. Kyle Glass recorded nine of those 13 points, while Landan Bauman and Dom Francona each added two points.
The run was broken up with a free throw by Matt Leonard. The free throw attempts came on a technical called on Harris with 4:07 left in the half.
“This was like playoff basketball,” Harris explained. “The crowd was getting into it. I got a technical foul tonight. I got that for (former Tussey Mountain) Coach (Dave) Bailey. I haven’t seen him in a long time, and he was here tonight. I thought I’d get one for him and make everybody happy.”
Leonard added a putback with less than three minutes left to play, cutting the deficit to seven, 30-23.
Glass hit a three-pointer that was answered by a basket by Devin Swope. The Bulldogs finished out the first half with a six-point run to take a 39-25 lead into the half.
“We came out flat and we played the game flat,” said Tussey Mountain coach Jeff Swope. “We couldn’t have picked a worst night to play flat. We told the boys coming that Claysburg is one of these teams where anyone can show up.”
The second half was a much closer game, with the Titans outscoring the visitors, 33-26.
Glass and David Gregg scored for the Bulldogs to start the second half, while Leonard added a basket. Glass scored another bucket which was answered by Tussey’s Chad Morningstar.
After a lay-up by CK’s Alex Kulick, Tussey’s Swope and Jordan Berkstresser added consecutive three-pointers, putting the Titans within eight points of the Bulldogs, 47-35.
The Bulldogs pounded the ball inside, using a pair of buckets and three free throws to take a 54-41 lead into the final period.
After a bucket by Bauman pushed the Bulldogs ahead, 56-41, the hosts battled back to cut the deficit to eight points.
Swope opened the seven-point rally with a three, while Leonard added back-to-back baskets.
The Bulldogs answered with a pair of baskets by Bauman and Francona to take a 12-point lead with 3:55 left, 60-48.
The Titans finished the game four for 15 at the free throw line, and the free throw shooting woes hurt the Titans by going one for five at the line late in the game. Morningstar got a steal that resulted in a basket, with the Bulldogs’ lead being cut to nine points, 60-51.
After a CK free throw, Berkstresser got a steal for a lay-up. Morningstar answered a pair of Bulldogs’ free throws with a putback, and after a three by Berkstresser, the Titans trailed by five points with 5.8 seconds left to play, 61-58.
The Bulldogs closed the game with a pair of free throws by Alex Kuilick, holding on for the 65-58 victory.
“I felt like our zone gave them a little bit of trouble,” Harris added. “When you hold one of their leading scorers like Swope to 11 points, that’s pretty good. He’s been averaging about 14-15 points a game. We keyed in on him, and I thought we did a really nice job.”
Each of the teams had a trio of players finish with scoring in the double digits.
Glass had a game-high 27 points, while Kulick and Bauman chipped in 14 and 12 points respectively.
Leonard led the Titans with 20 points, while Morningstar added 13 and Swope finished with 11.
“Everybody says when you go on the road, the officials aren’t on your side,” Harris said. “It has nothing to do with it. It’s the fact you’re uncomfortable, and you’re not playing aggressive and not taking the ball to the basket. We did. We took the ball to the basket, and we got them into foul trouble. We didn’t shoot very many threes, but we kept driving to the basket and it paid off.”
The game was the Titans’ Senior Night. The Titans graduate five —Berkstresser, Alex Gonzalez, Brendan Gorey, Devin Neuder, and Mason Reed.
“These boys helped the program get to where it’s at today,” Swope added. “They’ve helped a lot behind the scenes and many don’t see that.”
Both teams are back in action this Friday. The Titans visit Everett, while the Bulldogs host Bellwood-Antis for its Senior Night.
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL 65, TUSSEY MOUNTAIN 58
Claysburg-Kimmel 17 22 15 11 —65
Tussey Mountain 14 11 16 17 — 58