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Eagles breeze past Blue Devils

Photo for the Mirror by Chuck Meyers Tyrone’s Damon Gripp gets inside for two points as Bellwood-Antis’ Nathan Wolfe defends on Saturday.

TYRONE — This year’s Tyrone Area High School boys basketball team is talented and formidable, even if many of the players on the roster might not be old enough to shave yet.

Tyrone starts four sophomores, and there are a total of six freshmen and five sophomores on the 14-man roster.

“This is the youngest team I’ve ever coached in my 13 years here,” Tyrone coach George Gripp said Saturday evening. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the younger guys, as well as our two seniors and our junior. The players are working hard, and the future is bright.”

The present isn’t too shabby for Tyrone, either. The Golden Eagles improved their season record to 5-2 Saturday by breezing to a 77-27 victory over Bellwood-Antis at the Tyrone Area High School gymnasium in the championship game of the eighth annual Reliance Bank Holiday Tournament hosted by Northern Blair Kiwanis.

Tyrone routed Bellwood, 63-18, in the season opener Dec. 7, and that actually gave Gripp a little reason for concern entering Saturday’s championship.

“It’s hard to beat a team that bad twice,” Gripp said. “We just didn’t want our guys to have any letdown.”

No worries for the Golden Eagles.

Tyrone burst out to a 21-9 lead at the first-quarter pole, thanks to nine first-quarter points by sophomore guard Jacob Taylor, who finished with 16. Behind four second-quarter field goals from sophomore guard Damon Gripp — who scored a game-high 20 points and earned the tournament’s most valuable player selection — the Golden Eagles carried the second period, 20-7, to expand their lead to 41-16 at halftime and win going away.

“We didn’t want to take them lightly,” George Gripp said. “We just had to go out and play our game, and stay focused. I’m so pleased with our defensive effort. We were locked in, and we took away what they like to do.”

Another sophomore guard, Blaine Hoover, added 11 points for the Golden Eagles, who led, 62-24, after three quarters.

Bellwood (3-3) upended Hollidaysburg in overtime in the first round of the tournament Friday, but the Blue Devils could not pull off another upset.

“We were just overwhelmed — like the first time around against them,” Bellwood coach Kevin Conlon said. “They were fresh, they had a day off (after winning Thursday) and we were coming off an emotional overtime win over Hollidaysburg.”

Conlon acknowledged Tyrone’s superiority, however.

“They’re the better team,” Conlon said. “We lost by (45) the first time, and 50 this time. They pressure you for four quarters. They run you, run you, run you, and we probably had over 20 turnovers tonight.”

The fast start helped the Golden Eagles settle into cruise control by the second half.

“We always come out hard and try to run the floor,” Damon Gripp said. “Most teams don’t like to keep the fast pace, and that’s something that we try to do.”

Taylor, an all-tournament selection, also said that the Tyrone game plan was to start quickly.

“We just came out strong and fast early on, and kept our foot on the gas,” Taylor said.

Ten different players entered the scoring column for Tyrone. Bellwood-Antis was led by senior forward and all-tournament selection Nathan Wolfe’s 10 points and nine rebounds.

“The kids came out and put it to them from the start tonight,” George Gripp said.

Josh Holsopple led all scorers with 20 points as Hollidaysburg defeated Tussey Mountain, 65-38, in consolation action.

Tussey Mountain’s Devin Swope scored 17 points.

Game notes: Other all-tournament selections were Mason Yingling of Bellwood-Antis, Holsopple and Swope … Tyrone held a 27-23 edge in rebounds, with senior center Corbin Moon grabbing seven for the Golden Eagles, who are off until next Saturday when they host Richland. Bellwood-Antis hosts Glendale Friday.

CHAMPIONSHIP

BELLWOOD-ANTIS (27): Yingling 1 1-2 3, Z. Mallon 0 0-0 0, Wyland 1 0-0 3, Walker 3 1-2 7, Wolfe 5 0-0 10, Frederick 1 0-0 2, Luensmann 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0, Pellegrino 1 0-0 2, Gibbons 0 0-0 0, S. Mallon 0 0-0 0, Pellegrine 0 0-0 0. Totals — 12 2-4 27.

TYRONE (77): Gripp 9 1-1 20, Lucas 2 2-3 6, Ferguson 1 1-2 3, Hoover 5 0-0 11, Taylor 5 3-5 16, Moon 3 1-1 7, Locke 1 0-2 2, Wagner 0 1-2 1, DeHaas 2 2-3 6, Rhoades 2 0-0 5, Lang 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Gwinn 0 0-0 0, Coleman 0 0-0 0. Totals — 30 11-19 77.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Bellwood-Antis 9 7 8 6 — 27

Tyrone 21 20 21 15 — 77

3-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 1 (Wyland); Tyrone 6 (Taylor 3, Gripp, Hoover, Rhoades).

Records: Bellwood-Antis (3-3); Tyrone (5-2).

Officials: Bill Pfeffer, Joe Bilka, Kevin Laird.

CONSOLATION

HOLLIDAYSBURG (65): Batzel 1 1-3 3, Delerme 2 0-0 4, Craney 2 1-2 5, Gildea 1 2-2 5, McGinnis 1 0-0 2, Grassi 0 0-0 0, Stevenson 0 1-2 1, Sloan 0 0-0 0, Barton 3 0-1 6, Servello 6 3-5 16, Dean 0 0-0 0, Holsopple 7 1-2 20, Yeager 1 1-2 3. Totals — 24 10-19 65.

TUSSEY MOUNTAIN (38): Swope 6 5-6 17, Leonard 1 0-0 3, Morningstar 4 4-6 12, Berkstresser 1 0-2 2, Rightenour 1 0-1 2, Reed 1 0-0 2, Henry 0 0-0 0, Kling 0 0-0 0. Totals — 14 9-15 38.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Hollidaysburg 22 14 9 20 — 65

Tussey Mountain 7 8 13 10 — 38

3-point goals: Hollidaysburg 7 (Gildea, Servello, Holsopple 5); Tussey Mountain 1 (Leonard).

Records: Hollidaysburg (7-3); Tussey Mountain (2-5).

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