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Milestone moment for Gripp

Damon Gripp

MARTISNBURG – The 1,000-point career mark is a coveted milestone for most high school basketball players, and Tyrone senior guard Damon Gripp reached that milestone Wednesday night.

Gripp, a four-year starter for the Golden Eagles, hit one of two free throws right before halftime to hit the 1,000-point mark, and his 18 points led all Tyrone scorers as the Golden Eagles staved off Central, 63-51 in a Mountain League game at the Central High School gymnasium.

“It’s obviously something that you want to achieve, and it’s one of the main (individual goals) for basketball,” said Gripp, who entered Wednesday’s game with 986 career points and reached the milestone with a 14-point first half.

“Especially since my older brother, Brandon, scored 1,470 points,” Gripp added. “Hopefully, I’ll get in some bragging rights.”

Brandon graduated from Tyrone several years back. He and Damon are the sons of Tyrone coach George Gripp, who applauded Damon’s effort.

“Any time anybody scores 1,000 points, it’s obviously attributed to the hard work that they’ve put in the gym,” George Gripp said. “He puts a lot of hours in the gym, and it is good to see his hard work pay off on the court. He also has had great teammates who have gotten him the ball.”

Led by Damon Gripp’s 14 first-half points, Tyrone — which improved to 3-1 overall and 3-0 in the league — busted out to a 36-19 halftime lead before spirited Central made a game out of it.

The Scarlet Dragons — playing without three starters — pulled to within 38-32 midway through the third quarter by riding a 10-point run.

Senior Lleyton Kling’s 3-pointer from the top of the circle started the rally, and senior Cassimier Lowry followed with a 3-pointer from the right side to pull Central to within 38-28.

After sophomore forward Seth Bean — who scored a game-high 19 points for Central ­ — scored off a reverse putback from underneath the basket, freshman Hunter Smith hit a jumper from the right baseline to make it 38-32 with 4:29 left in the third.

“Those kids never quit,” George Gripp said of the Scarlet Dragons (0-2 overall and in the league). “They could have packed it in when they were down 17 at halftime, but they have heart, and they kept fighting. We knew that we were in a game, and that’s a credit to their kids –­ they didn’t throw in the towel.”

After a timeout, Tyrone regrouped behind the long-distance shooting of junior guard Cortlynd Rhoades to bump its lead back up to 15 points, 52-37 after three quarters.

Rhoades, who scored 14 points for the Golden Eagles, hit three 3-point field goals after senior Brandon Lucas converted a 3-point play (field goal off an inbounds pass, followed by a free throw when fouled on the shot), as Tyrone weathered the storm.

“Cortlynd was a big key for us tonight,” George Gripp said. “He hit some huge shots with those 3’s to extend our lead.”

Senior guard Jake Taylor scored 11 points for Tyrone, which never led by less than seven points the rest of the way. Taylor’s layup and inside bucket off a Lucas feed put Tyrone in front, 60-49 midway through the fourth quarter after Central had drawn to within 56-49 on a pair of free throws by sophomore Eli Lingenfelter.

Central coach Paul Frederick – who has had starting guard Jeff Hoenstine out since the beginning of the season with a broken leg suffered during the District 6 football playoffs — said that two other starters, senior Hunter Klotz and junior Devon Boyles, were also unavailable Wednesday, but he expects the latter two to be back very soon.

Bean’s 19 points, Lowry’s 12, and nine from Lingenfelter picked up the slack for Central, which won the second half, 32-27.

“I thought we battled,” Frederick said. “Our focus and effort were better in the second half. The kids really battled, and showed some guts.”

With Smith grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds, Central carved out a 28-24 advantage on the boards. Senior guard Blaine Hoover snared ninerebounds for Tyrone.

“We made enough plays when we needed to make them to take the (win),” George Gripp said.

Game notes: Tyrone made 24 of 49 floor shots (49 percent), while Central converted 19 of 44 (43 percent) … An informal count showed less than 30 fans in the gymnasium due to COVID-19 restrictions … Both teams will play next in league games on Friday night. Tyrone will host Penns Valley, and Central will host Clearfield.

TYRONE (63): Taylor 4 3-4 11, Hoover 3 0-0 6, Gripp 6 6-8 18, Lucas 3 1-1 7, DeHaas 2 0-0 5, Rhoades 5 0-0 14, Lang 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Gampe 1 0-0 2, Legars 0 0-0 0. Totals – 24 10-18 63.

CENTRAL (51): Smith 3 0-1 6, Kling 1 0-0 3, Lingenfelter 3 3-5 9, Lowry 4 1-2 12, Bean 8 2-2 19, Daugherty 0 0-0, Brumbaugh 0 2-2 2, Yingling 0 0-0 0, Butler 0 0-0 0, Rhule 0 0-0 0. Totals – 19 8-12 51.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Tyrone 20 16 16 11 — 63

Central 12 7 18 14 — 51

3-point goals: Tyrone 5 (Rhoades 4, DeHaas); Central 5 (Lowry 3, Kling, Bean).

Officials: Clark Adelman, Skip Dry, Randy Burket.

Records: Tyrone (3-1 overall, 3-0 in the Mountain League); Central (0-2, 0-2).

JV: Tyrone, 48-37. High scorers–Ross Gampe, T, 18; Rylan Daugherty, C, 15.

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