Despite losing starting point guard Jordan Card for most of the week due to illness, the Port Allegany boys basketball team pulled out two North Tier League wins — including a frenetic finish at Otto-Eldred — to stay alive in the District 9 playoff hunt.

In Monday’s game at Cameron County, the Red Raiders proved once again that they’re one of the better squads in the area, easing to a 64-36 victory to complete the season sweep.

“We really didn’t play bad in the first half,” coach Kyle Babcock wrote via text message. “I was content going in only down 11, especially after being down like 25 at home (in the first meeting). Second half, it seemed like every time we would get something going, they would answer with something better. Jordan wasn’t feeling well, and we just got tired.”

Dino Brown led a balanced scoring attack for the Red Raiders with 21 points, with Hayden Brown (14), Dylan Guisto (12) and Caden Beldin (11) also hitting double digits. Howie Stuckey dropped in 19 points to lead the Gators.

“We did a good job on Beldin. He had 26 on us at home, 11 tonight,” Babcock wrote. “They have 4-5 guys that can step up and help with the scoring even if one guy is having an off night.”

The Gators found out they’d be without Card on the morning of their Jan. 22 home game against Austin, leaving the coaching staff scrambling to reshuffle the lineup. The moves paid off when Dominick Guerrero and Noah Archer buried back-to-back threes on Port’s first two trips down the court, giving the Gators an early lead they’d never relinquish in the 56-35 victory.

“That kind of set the tone for us,” Babcock said. “I told the younger guys, ‘Here’s your chance to step up. If you play well tonight, it will earn you playing time the rest of the year.’ At one point, we had the three freshmen (Archer, Blaine Moses, Drew Evens) in the game and I didn’t even realize it. I thought they held their own.”

Port led by as many as 19 in the first half before an offensive dry spell and a pair of Panther three-pointers slashed the margin to 30-21 late in the third quarter, but Stuckey countered with a long trifecta with 38 seconds left in the frame. The savvy senior then grabbed a rebound and hit the putback, stole the ensuing inbound pass, scored again and added a free throw to blow the game open, part of a 36-point performance on the night.

“I did get nervous when they cut it to 10 or 11 in the third quarter; I thought, ‘Here we go, we’re going to give it away.’ And then Howie scored eight in a row in less than a minute,” Babcock said, adding, “I didn’t realize he had that many until I looked at the book.”

Jackson Glover led Austin with 21, with Parker Glover adding nine for the Panthers.

“Down there was the first time we threw our 3-2 defense together, and it worked a little bit so we stuck with it tonight,” Babcock said. “I thought we forced Jackson to shoot some deep ones. He made them, but I’d rather force him out there than get into the lane and make layup after layup. He’s a good player. He’s tough.”

Stuckey had the hot hand again in Friday night’s game at Otto-Eldred, and the Gators needed every one of his 34 points to outlast the Terrors, 54-53. Much like the first meeting back in December, both teams scorched the net from outside the three-point arc, with the Terrors hitting a dozen trifectas to the Gators’ eight.

Following a 9-0 O-E run late in the second quarter to give the home team a 35-28 lead at the break, the Gators trailed by 10 at one point in the third quarter before mounting their comeback. With Stuckey trading trifectas shot-for-shot with O-E’s Jake Merry (20 points on six 3’s) and Cole Sebastian (17, three 3’s), the Port senior had the last laugh, launching a rainbow from near midcourt that rippled through the net for the game-winning score with under 30 seconds remaining. Stuckey dialed long distance seven times during the game, finishing with 34 points.

“It was a crazy finish,” Babcock wrote. “We’ve had a lot of close games this season that we lost. It feels good to finally win one.”

Port (7-9, 6-5 NTL) has two games scheduled for this week, hosting Smethport on Jan. 28 and traveling to Coudersport on Jan. 30.

Next week: Oswayo Valley, Feb. 4; Ridgway, Feb. 6; at Galeton, Feb. 7.

At Emporium, Jan. 20:

Port Allegany (36)

Card 2 0-0 4, Stuckey 8 0-0 19, B. Moses 2 0-0 4, C. Moses 1 0-0 2, Guilds 1 0-0 2, Guerrero 1 0-0 2, Amell 0 1-2 1, Edgell 1-0-0 2. Totals: 16 1-2 36.

Cameron County (64)

D. Brown 8 3-4 21, Dylan Guisto 4 3-6 12, Caden Beldin 4-3-4 11, Good 0 0-0 0, H. Brown 5 3-4 14, Morton 2 0-0 6. Totals: 23 12-18 64.

Port Allegany — 9 20 27 36

Cameron Co. — 13 31 47 64

3s: CC 6 (Dino Brown 2, Guisto 1, Morton 2, Hayden Brown), Port 3 (Stuckey 3); Total fouls: CC

4, Port 15. Fouled out: none.

At Port Allegany, Jan. 22:

Austin (35)

Crawford 0 2-4 2, Ja. Glover 5 7-8 21, P. Glover 4 0-1 9, Jo. Glover 0 0-1 0, Rees 0 0-0 0, Nicka 1 0-0 3. Totals: 10 9-14 35.

Port Allegany (56)

Archer 1 0-0 3, Stuckey 13 3-3 36, Guerrero 1 0-0 3, C. Moses 1 1-2 3, Guilds 2 2-4 6, McNeil 0 0-1 0, B. Moses 1 3-4 5. Totals: 19 9-14 56.

Austin — 7 11 21 35

Port A — 17 28 38 56

3s: Austin 6 (Ja. Glover 4, P. Glover, Nicka); Port 9 (Stuckey 7, Archer, Guerrero). Fouls: Austin 14, Port 12. Fouled out: Rees (A).

At Duke Center, Jan. 24:

Port Allegany (54)

Archer 0 0-0 0, Stuckey 12 3-4 34, Guerrero 1 0-0 2, C. Moses 1 1-3 3, Guilds 2 0-0 4, Evens 1 0-0 3, B. Moses 1 2-4 4, Edgell 2 0-0 4. Totals: 20 6-11 54.

Otto-Eldred (53)

Jimerson 0 0-0 0, Jake Merry 7 0-0 20, Smith 1 0-0 2, Cole Sebastian 6 2-2 17, Maholic 3 0-0 7, VanScoter 0 1-2 1, Bell 0 0-2 0, Rhinehart 2 0-0 6. Totals: 19 3-4 53.

Port A 14 28 41 54

O-E 16 35 42 53

Three-point goals: Port 8 (Stuckey 7, Evens), O-E 12 (Merry 6, Sebastian 3, Rhinehart 2, Maholic). Fouls: Port 12, O-E 9. Fouled out: none.