MANSFIELD — The North Penn-Mansfield Tigers basketball team (8-8) topped the Sayre Redskins (3-10) by a score of 54-40 on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
The Tigers rallied behind an extremely balanced offense and a suffocating defense to sweep the Sayre team for the 2021 season.
“I think as the season has gone on we’ve gotten a lot more comfortable,” NP-Mansfield sophomore Sammy Lawrence said. “We’re on a streak so we’re just picking up momentum and getting better as we go.”
Mansfield has now won eight of their last nine contests after picking up the win on Wednesday, and the Tigers are starting to peak as the season heads into their final stretch.
In the first quarter, the Sayre team used a barrage of three-pointers to gain an advantage. Dom Fabbri hit four shots from three-point distance and the Tigers quickly fell behind by a score of 20-13.
After a spotty first, the Tigers defense came out energized during the second quarter, and played nearly flawless as they only allowed eight points as they quickly started to close the gap.
Sophomore guard Lawrence played extremely well on both sides of the ball, especially defensively, and as the season has continued he continues to show nightly improvement.
“I think we played a lot better on defense as the game went on,” Lawrence said. ``We started slow, but we played really great defense in the second half.”
Tiger seniors Alex Stein and Eli Shaw both came alive during the surge, with Stein hitting two three-pointers for six points and Shaw scoring seven points and doing a great job of recognizing favorable matchups and taking advantage.
“His confidence has gone through the roof,” Mansfield Head Coach Kipper Burleigh said of Shaw’s play. “We had a game with Cowanesque Valley where he was eight for eight from the field. Now he’s finishing with contact, he’s shooting off the glass and he’s playing to his ability so it’s nice to have that confidence fly.”
After a flurry of scoring for the Mansfield boys, the score was 35-28 heading into the half with the Tigers defense completely taking charge.
In the second half the Tigers maintained control and picked up a 54-40 win for their eighth of the season.
The Tigers were extremely balanced on offense in the win, with eight players scoring points and six players scoring five or more points.
Both Stein and Curtis Craig notched 10 points each, while Shaw added nine points, Lawrence netted eight points, Brody Burleigh scored six points and Jacob Evans added five points.
Sayre was led by Fabbri who scored 14 points and Zach Moore who scored 10 points in the loss.
“Every game is a battle,” Coach Burleigh said. “I think Sammy said that the team feels like we can beat anybody. But having said that, anyone can lose to anyone in the league. I think Northeast Bradford demonstrated that with a big win over Wellsboro. I think Canton has an outstanding team and I know their record isn’t what they want it to be, but they gave Troy all they could handle the last time and it was only a one-possession game.”
Now the Tigers have just two games left on the schedule after falling to Canton, 85-72 on Saturday, Feb. 20 and to Wellsboro on Monday, Feb. 22.
Against Canton the Tigers were led with 22 points from Craig and a double-double from Burleigh who notched 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Tigers.
Dominick also had a strong performance of 15 points on 71% shooting.
Against Wellsboro, the Tigers put together an inspired, impressive performance, and rallied from down seven in the final 30 seconds to force overtime.
They gave the Wellsboro team all they could handle down the stretch, with Stein, Dominick and Evans all making incredible plays in the fourth quarter to send the game to an extra period.
But the Hornets free throw shooting proved to be too much as they were unable to pull off the upset.
Stein turned in a strong night with 14 points, while Burleigh added 12 points and Evans chipped in 10 points.
In their final contest of the week the Tigers traveled to take on the Northeast Bradford team on Tuesday, Feb. 23 where they were stunned by an overtime buzzer beater by Nick Beers to fall 40-39.
Mansfield was unable to bounce back after an overtime loss just the night before, as the red-hot Northeast team were able to capture their fourth win in a row.
The Tigers were led by Stein and Dominick who scored 12 and 11 points respectively in a very low-scoring game.
Craig added eight points while Burleigh scored six points during the tough loss for Mansfied.
The Tigers have just two games remaining and will look to get back on the right track to end their season.
The next contest for the Tigers is on Thursday, Feb. 25 as they host the Williamson Warriors (1-17).