By: Ed Weaver | NTL Sports | January 22, 2020 | Photo courtesy The Home Page Network
32 minutes. 4 quarters. 2 halves. In typical Wellsboro-Mansfield fashion, Tuesday's game came down to the final seconds as the Tigers edged Wellsboro 66-60 for the Margaret (Peg) Berguson Memorial Trophy.
The win was the Tigers' 4th win in the game's 6th installment and the 300th career win for Tiger head coach Kipper Burleigh.
"Its special winning the Peg Berguson Trophy back tonight in a great high school atmosphere," said Burleigh. "I have been blessed to be supported by a wonderful wife and surrounded by young men who are eager to listen and give their all for a team and the unknown of what that team might be able to achieve. I am very proud of the sacrifice, commitment, and energy so many outstanding players have put into the program over the years. I am proud to have been part of it."
The 1st quarter was back and forth for the full 8 minutes. Both teams matched opening three point shots before the Tigers took an early 6-3 lead, only to have the Hornets pull back in front to lead 9-6. The Hornets later increased the lead to 18-16 late in the quarter on a three from freshman Conner Adams. Wellsboro started to increase their lead in the 2nd quarter as they held the Tigers to just 8 points while they built a 12-point lead at halftime.
Just as Wellsboro won the 1st half the Tigers won the 2nd, notably the 3rd quarter. Right from the start the Tigers began knockign down shot after shot, including 4 three-pointers (two from Logan Tokarz and one from Alex Stein and Jacob Evans) to score 24 points, as many points as they scored the entire 1st half, while holding Wellsboro to just 12 points. Mansfield took a late 4-point lead in the quarter until a jumper and layup by sophomore Liam Manning tied the game at 48-all heading into the final quarter.
Similar to the 1st quarter the 4th was back and forth early, except this time the Tigers began to pull away late. Both teams traded leads all the way up until the game's final minute. Mansfield held a slim 61-58 lead until Manning hit a jumper that pulled the Hornets within a point. The Tigers went up two points, 62-60, on a foul shot another pair of foul shots by Tokarz put the Tigers up 64-60. Tokarz then made the play of the night as he came up with a steal, and was fouled to go to the line for a pair of shots, both of which went in, to give Mansfield the win.
"I told the boys at halftime that if we're going to win we have to play defense," continued Burleigh. "We didn't do a good job playing defense, we got in foul trouble so the fact that we were able to play with more energy, better transition, and just a better job defensively in the 2nd half."
4 Tigers were in double-figures scoring on the evening led by Tokarz with 16, Evans with 14, Dominic Garverick with 13, and Alex Stein with 12. Curtis Craig added 8 and Brody Burleigh scored 3 off the bench.
Junior Joseph Grab led Wellsboro with a game-high 27, 19 in the 1st half, and sophomore Liam Manning had 20 points and 8 rebounds. Adams finished with 8 points and 3 assists, sophomore Darryn Callahan added 3, and senior Daniel Mitchell added 2 points and 8 rebounds.
"It was a good game for the fans to watch," said Wellsboro head coach Steve Adams. "You have to give Mansfield credit, they executed down the stretch when they needed to. It was an honor to play in the Peg Berguson game, she was a great person and a friend and its good to see her legacy continuing."
The win improves the Tigers' record to 9-6 (6-3 NTL Large School Division) while the Hornets fall to 9-7 (6-4 NTL Large School Division). Both teams are back in action on Thursday, January 23 as Mansfield travels to Athens and Wellsboro hosts Towanda for senior night.