HOLLIDAYSBURG - Reggie Nevins isn't quite sure why his Central Scarlet Dragons have been starting slowly lately, but he is sure the trend can't continue.
"I thought we were nervous," he said Wednesday night after the Dragons advanced to the District 6 Class AA quarterfinals by pulling away from Mount Union in the second half and winning, 60-42, at the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School. "For some reason, the last six-eight games we've had slow starts. It's a bad habit, and we need to get out of it by Friday [against Tyrone]."
The Dragons (15-7) shook off 1-for-11 shooting in the first quarter and used a late second-quarter spurt that featured an Austin Cunningham drive, Ryan Mills taking a charge on B.J. Loner and Zach Slagenweit beating the buzzer that created halftime momentum and a 23-point third quarter.
Mirror photo by Patrick?Waksmunski
Central’s Alex Lafferty puts up a scoop shot as Mount Union’s Trevon Walker (left) and Anthony Gilbert go for the block.
"The way we ended the first half loosened us up," Nevins said.
Junior Alex Lafferty was a catalyst with a game-high 16 points, including four 3-pointers and three straight in the third quarter.
"I felt good in warmups, and I tried to find the same spot," Lafferty, who hit 4-of-6 from deep, said.
Mount Union coach Joe Komir was disappointed in his defense.
"You're playing man defense, and you have a guy hit three 3s in a row," he said. "I thought they killed us in the man, and we gave up too many easy layups."
Komir wasn't too pleased with his offense, either, as the Trojans hit just 4-of-23 in the first half.
"I thought we played pretty good defense in the beginning, but we couldn't put the ball in the hole," he said.
Lafferty's outside shooting opened the lanes for Cunningham, who slashed his way for 13 points, all but two in the second half. The Dragons made 15-of-26 shots in the final two quarters, many from close range.
"We tried to run in the second half, and that got our momentum going," Cunningham said. "I tried to penetrate and get guys open shots."
"Once we got to double digits, we were able to spread the floor, and we're pretty good with the ball," Nevins said. "We only have one guy 6-foot so a lot of teams don't match up with us that well."
Mount Union finished at 13-10.
"You hate to lose," Komir said. "But we have almost everybody back. That's the good news."
Game notes: Mount Union wound up making 16 of 53 shots and was led by Trevor Walker's 14 points and 16 rebounds ... Central won the glass, 29-27; Lucas Patterson pulled down a dozen boards ... Slagenweit, after a one-game absence (flu), had five assists ... Central committed eight turnovers, one less than MU ... Central split with Tyrone in the regular season. Nevins: "It will be a battle."
CENTRAL (60): Cunningham 5 2-2 13, Slagenweit 1 3-4 5, Lafferty 6 0-0 16, Brumbaugh 2 4-6 8, Patterson 3 0-0 6, Mills 2 0-0 4, Forshey 1 2-4 5, Vollkommer 1 1-2 3, Gahagen 0 0-0 0, Kensinger 0 0-0 0, Ayers 0 0-0 0, Fields 0 0-0 0. Totals - 21 12-18 60.
MOUNT UNION (42): Loner 1 2-2 4, House 2 2-2 8, Walker 6 2-7 14, Heffner 2 0-0 5, Pollock 2 1-4 5, Raison 1 0-0 2, Gilbert 2 0-0 4. Totals - 16 7-15 42.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central - 5-12-23-20 - 60
Mount Union - 7-6-11-18 - 42
3-point goals: Central 6 (Lafferty 4, Cunningham, Forshey), Mount Union 3 (House 2, Heffner).
Officials: Lou Garzarelli, Chuck Glasser, Greg Sipos
Records: Central (15-7), Mount Union (13-10)