SAXTON - Entering Friday night's Inter-County Conference South and Sideling Hill showdown between Northern Bedford and Tussey Mountain, Titans guard Eric Husick was just 13 points shy of the 1,000-point club.
He couldn't have made the accomplishment any more dramatic.
Husick's free throw with 45.8 seconds to play ended up lifting the Titans (5-3 overall) to a 68-63 win over the Black Panthers (6-2) at a packed and wild Tussey Mountain High School.
"It's something I have been waiting for," Husick said. "To have my name up on the board is pretty awesome."
Tussey Mountain coach Dave Bailey wasn't surprised that it took a lot for Husick to achieve the milestone based on past history.
"Eric played well late and struggled early," he said. "He's not the first guy I have coached that [getting 1,000 points] got to."
Husick scored 19 points and led all scorers with fellow guard Michael Mitchell.
The first quarter couldn't have started better for the Panthers as Zach Pressel came up with a key block at the 5:46 mark. That momentum slipped briefly as Mitchell buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to bring the Titans within two, 15-13, after one quarter.
The second quarter appeared to be even more of a nightmare for the Titans.
The Panthers mustered two key blocks from Tayler Pressel with 4:10 left in the half and Blake Over with just less than 1 minute to play. It was all topped off by a half-court buzzer beater from Garrett England to give the Panthers a 37-28 advantage at the intermission.
Tayler Pressel finished with 16 points. The block by Over, who scored nine, eventually led to a technical foul being issued to Bailey.
"We had to get some offense from turnovers because we weren't going to get anything inside," Bailey said of his team's halftime adjustments
The third quarter was where the Titans started turning it around.
Husick, with 1:41 to play, made a layup that resulted in a three-point play to tie the game. Tussey ended the quarter trailing Northern Bedford, 52-49.
"We didn't get into offensive sets very well," Northern Bedford coach Barry Crawford said. "We got into their style going up and down the floor."
The Panther woes ultimately broke them in the fourth quarter.
With 4:34 to play, the Titans took their first lead of the game at 56-54, and the visitors lost starters Over and Zach Pressel to foul trouble.
"Any time you have two guys sitting with five fouls, that's tough," Crawford said.
Husick bypassed a shot and passed the ball to Luke Zelanko to give Tussey a 61-60 lead.
"I've always been win, win, win," Husick said of his decision. "If I had to wait until next week to get my 1,000th point, then so be it."
Zelanko was called for a technical foul, and Zach Pressel made both free throws with 3:15 left in the game, but Tussey was able to pull out the victory.
Bailey felt that back-and-forth games have just been a part of the Titans' season.
"I think we've had a lot of them back and forth," he said.
Crawford is hoping that his team will learn from the setback.
"We got a bunch of juniors and seniors that have played," he said. "It's going to be a rough weekend, but we'll get back at it on Monday."
Northern Bedford will host Southern Huntingdon on Monday while Tussey Mountain heads to Chestnut Ridge Tuesday.
NORTHERN BEDFORD (63): England 3 1-2 9, Z. Pressel 2 1-3 5, Diehl 2 4-5 8, T. Pressel 6 4-6 16, Over 3 2-4 9, Barnes 2 1-2 5, Snyder 2 5-6 10, Litzenberger 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 18-28 63.
TUSSEY MOUNTAIN (68): Runk 5 2-4 16, Husick 6 7-9 19, Mitchell 6 2-2 19, Zelanko 4 1-1 9, Wilson 0 1-2 1, Kline 1 0-2 2, Cornelius 0 0-0 0, Chadwick 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 13-20 68.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Northern Bedford17 20 15 12 - 63
Tussey Mountain14 14 21 19 - 68
3-point field goals: Northern Bedford 4 (England 2, Snyder, Over); Tussey Mountain 9 (Runk 4, Mitchell 5).
Records: Northern Bedford (6-2, 2-1 ICC South, 3-1 Sideling Hill); Tussey Mountain (5-3, 3-1 ICC South, 3-1 Sideling Hill).
JV: Tussey Mountain, 56-16. High scorers-Cory Zimmerman, NB, 6; Parker Cornelius, TM, 16.