TYRONE - As many outstanding offensive performances Tyrone coach George Gripp has seen from his guards, that was not the case on Saturday in the Northern Blair Kiwanis Tournament championship game against Chestnut Ridge.
Guards Brandon Gripp and Jordan Miller, the Golden Eagles' two leading scorers, combined to shoot just 3-for-19 from behind the arc, but as Chestnut Ridge coach Randy Meck stated, the two "hit shots when it mattered."
Leading 31-30 just seconds into the fourth quarter, Miller sank a 3-pointer after missing his previous eight attempts that started a 16-0 Tyrone run to secure the victory, 52-38, and capture the tournament championship at Tyrone Area High School.
"We didn't start out the way we hoped," Gripp said. "The guys grinded away and I told them after the third quarter that someone has to start making plays. [Jordan] Miller made a shot, Brandon [Gripp] made a shot and some guys stepped up. It was a total team effort."
After Miller's 3-pointer, Gripp added two baskets and Politza netted one, before the Golden Eagles entered the 1-and-1 with 3:40 remaining.
Gripp led all scorers with 19 points, while Miller and Anthony Politza each added nine.
"We kept telling [Miller] during timeouts to keep his head up," Gripp said. "I told him to keep hanging in there and keep shooting. Everything that you would want to tell a shooter to help him out. It was a good thing that we won with [Miller and Gripp] shoot poorly."
"We told the kids to slow down Gripp and get a hand up on Miller's shots," Meck said. "They hit shots when it mattered."
Chestnut Ridge led after the first quarter, 15-14, but managed just 23 points through the final three frames.
"We didn't do a good job moving the ball," Meck said. "We had guys standing around. We needed to attack the gaps and we tried to throw different defenses at Gripp, but he is a good player and he sets up his teammates well."
Tyler Wiley had 12 points for Ridge along with being named to the all-tournament team, while Matt Monko added six.
Ridge combined for just 13 points in the second and third quarters, but Tyrone could not separate itself until Miller's 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
"We're making it hard on ourselves," Gripp said. "If we shoot well, this isn't a close game. I'm not taking anything away from Chestnut Ridge, but we have wings wide open and we have to have guys make those shots. It's frustrating not to do that.
Brandon Gripp was named tournament MVP after combining for 51 points in the two games, and joined teammate Anthony Politza on the all-tournament team.
Politza, just a sophomore, has become a key part of Tyrone's squad.
"He's our most consistent rebounder," Gripp said. "When he gets significant minutes, he gets double-digit rebounds. He has a nose for the ball and uses his body well."
Game notes: The all-tournament team was named after the championship game, consisting of Noah Davis (Bellwood-Antis), Chad Tsikalas (Penn Cambria), Tyler Wiley (Chestnut Ridge), Anthony Politza (Tyrone) and Brandon Gripp (Tyrone; tournament MVP). Chestnut Ridge was without starter Beau Bosch for both tournament games and Meck says he should return "pretty soon."
CHESTNUT RIDGE (38): T. Wiley 6 0-6 12, Stultz 2 0-0 5, Weyant 2 1-2 5, Monko 3 0-0 6, Smith 1 0-0 2, Grubb 2 0-0 4, Hengst 2 0-0 4, Bowser 0 0-0 0, Leppert 0 0-0 0, Schade 0 0-0 0, Loar 0 0-0 0, M. Wiley 0 0-0 0. Totals- 18 1-8 38.
TYRONE (52): Gripp 5 8-8 19, Wagner 0 2-4 2, Brooks 1 0-0 3, Lingafelt 3 2-4 8, Politza 3 3-5 9, McKeehen 1 0-0 2, Miller 3 1-2 9, Geis 0 0-0 0, N. Soellner 0 0-0 0, Mitchell 0 0-0 0. Totals-16 15-22 52.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Chestnut Ridge15 5 8 10-38
Tyrone 14 11 6 21- 52
Records: Chestnut Ridge (5-4); Tyrone (7-2).