Mifflinburg guard Jordan Tyson raised his fist as the crowd cheered upon his being named the overall MVP of the Ram Winter Jam tournament on Friday night.
Tyson, who also earned defensive MVP honors for the tournament, made the game-winning play minutes earlier to lift Mifflinburg past Bellefonte 47-44 in the championship game of the holiday tournament at Penns Valley.
Tyson grabbed a loose ball off of a missed shot and finished a layup with 1.6 seconds left to break a 44-44 tie with the Red Raiders. Tyson was fouled on the play and knocked down the free throw for the game’s final point.
“If there’s anybody on the court for us that’s going to get a loose ball or a rebound, I’m never counting Jordan out,” Mifflinburg coach Andre Roupp said.
Bellefonte suffered a close loss one night after earning its first win of the season over host Penns Valley. The Red Raiders, who fell to 1-6 on the season, were led by Nate Tice’s 15 points in the loss Friday night. Tice knocked down five 3-pointers against Mifflinburg, while Bellefonte big man Caleb Rockey added 12 points.
Bellefonte coach Kris Glunt said Tice’s performance was a step in the right direction for the Red Raiders. He was encouraged by Rockey’s play, too.
“I think overall we took a step forward,” Glunt said. “I thought we had a lot of opportunities today to capitalize and ultimately win this tournament, but credit Mifflinburg. They played hard, forced us into some mistakes that ultimately, I think that was the difference in the game.”
Glunt said the Red Raiders need more contributors on the offensive end. It’s been an area of concern during Bellefonte’s slow start to the season.
“Offensively, our efficiency has not been great,” Glunt said. “That’s something we need to continue to work on. Our defense has kept us in games. We just have not been able to capitalize on the opportunities that our defense has created for us.”
Bellefonte tied the game at 44-44 on a late 3-pointer by Ben McCartney on Friday night. Mifflinburg then took a timeout with 33.2 seconds left, setting up for its final possession of the night.
Mifflinburg’s Tanner Stoltzfus drove to the rim and missed his game-winning attempt, but Tyson was in position to battle for the loose ball.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going to grab it and I just kept slapping it and I got it,” Tyson said.
Tyson then finished the game-winning layup — and Bellefonte’s heave from three-quarters court rolled off the rim.
“He’s just all over the floor and can get to about anything,” Roupp said. “For him to get in there and battle with the big guys, pull that and put it back up, that says a lot about his character.”