MARTINSBURG - Tyrone Area High School junior wing Jordan Miller endured a tough start to his 2012-13 basketball season.
Miller suffered a broken index finger on his left hand during a preseason practice and sat out the entire month of December.
But he's been quickly making up for lost time. Miller followed up a 22-point effort against Huntingdon on Wednesday with a 15-point showing against Central Friday night.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Tyrone’s Wyatt Fowler gets an easy two points during second-quarter action against Central on Friday.
All of Miller's 15 points Friday came via the 3-point shot, as he drained five from beyond the arc to help the Golden Eagles to a 48-34 Mountain League victory over the Scarlet Dragons at the Central High School gymnasium.
"That's basically the biggest part of my game,'' Miller said of his 3-point shooting ability. "That's what the coaches have me doing, and that's how I contribute best.''
Miller hit two big 3-pointers in the third quarter to allow Tyrone to maintain some separation entering the fourth period, which the Golden Eagles carried, 13-4, to improve to 9-1 in the Mountain League and 12-4 overall.
After sophomore Alex Lafferty drained a 3-pointer from the left corner to draw Central to within two points, 32-30, Miller found himself open from the left side and dropped in his second 3-pointer of the third quarter to put Tyrone up by five points, 35-30, entering the fourth period.
"Jordan broke his finger early in the season, but he has been playing some good basketball for us since he's been back,'' said Tyrone coach George Gripp. "He's really been stepping up. He had a good game against Huntingdon, and he continued that tonight.''
Miller showed no ill after-effects from the injury last night.
"I had surgery and was out a good month, but there are no problems at all now,'' Miller said.
Miller and junior point guard Brandon Gripp, Tyrone's leading scorer, give the Eagles a potent 1-2 shooting punch. Brandon, the coach's son, is averaging 24 points per game. He scored 13 on Friday, including three 3-pointers.
After Central junior Austin Cunningham - who scored a game-high 16-points - got a friendly roll off a shot from in close to bring the Dragons to within 35-32 early in the fourth quarter, Miller hit another 3-ball from the left side to put Tyrone up by six, 38-32. Junior forward Lucas Patterson's bucket for Central made it a 38-34 game, but Brandon Gripp hit a 3-pointer from the top of the circle and Tyrone was back in control, 41-34.
"Brandon and Jordan have been playing basketball together since they were very young,'' George Gripp said. "They both a have good sense of knowing where the other is on the floor.''
The Golden Eagles scored the game's last seven points, including five by freshman forward Anthony Politza.
"Our kids played as hard as they could play, but it seemed like every time [Tyrone] had an open shot, they would make it,'' said Central coach Reggie Nevins, whose team dropped to 9-7 overall and 4-6 in the league. "We had a chance to win the game with five minutes left, but we allowed their two best shooters to get open looks, and they buried their shots.''
Tyrone held a 23-19 lead at intermission. The Golden Eagles trailed, 7-6 before a pair of Brandon Gripp 3-pointers from the right side and left corner helped Tyrone to a 12-9 lead after one quarter.
After Central tied the game, 19-19 on a pair of Ryan Mills free throws in the second quarter, Tyrone responded with a Miller 3-pointer from the left side and one of two free throws by senior forward Wyatt Fowler to take the 23-19 halftime lead.
Tyrone scored the first seven points of the third quarter, with Miller hitting a 3-pointer from the right side, junior forward Erik Wagner connecting for a deuce from the middle of the floor, and Brandon Gripp hitting another field goal from the right side to give the Eagles their biggest lead of the night, 30-19.
"If we'd have missed some of those 3s, it would have been a different outcome,'' George Gripp said. "This has always been a tough place for us to play, but we were able to keep them at bay.''
Game notes: Tyrone held a 27-24 edge in rebounds, with Fowler grabbing eight and Wagner seven. Patterson had a game-high 10 rebounds for Central ... Tyrone made 18 of 35 floor shots, while Central converted just 14 of 49 ... Central's 1992-93 District 6-AAA championship team was honored before the game. Members of that team who were on hand included Blair County's all-time leading scorer, Ben Bithell, who had 2,106 career points, and 1,000-point scorer A.J. Hoenstine, the school's former football coach and current baseball coach ... Tyrone hosts Mount Union this afternoon, while Central is idle until Tuesday, when the Dragons host Bellefonte.
TYRONE (48): Gripp 5 0-0 13, Fowler 4 1-2 9, Wagner 2 0-0 4, Ingle 0 2-2 2, Miller 5 0-0 15, McKeehan 0 0-0 0, Belinda 0 0-0 0, Politza 2 1-2 5. Totals - 18 4-6 48.
CENTRAL (34): Cunningham 7 0-0 16, Mills 1 2-2 4, Slagenweit 0 0-0 0, Patterson 4 0-0 8, Greenland 0 0-0 0, Forshey 1 0-0 3, Brumbaugh 0 0-0 0, Vollkommer 0 0-0 0, Lafferty 1 0-0 3, Mellott 0 0-0 0. Totals - 14 2-2 34.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Tyrone12 11 12 13 - 48
Central9 10 11 4 - 34
3-point goals: Tyrone 8 (Miller 5, Gripp 3); Central 4 (Cunningham 2, Forshey, Lafferty).
Records: Tyrone (12-4 overall, 9-1 in the Mountain League); Central (9-7 overall, 4-6 in the Mountain League).
JV: Tyrone, 41-36. High scorers-N. Soellner, T, 18; Forshey, C, 19.