by Chris Brady Published: Friday, December 24, 2010, Standard Journal
MIFFLINBURG — Nothing like squeezing in a couple of milestones to make the season a little merrier in Mifflinburg, right? Eight days after watching his son sink his 1,000th career point, Coach Eldon Hoy led his Wildcats to a convincing 66-45 win over Towanda in the Cats’ Den, tallying his 200th career win as basketball mentor in Mifflinburg.
Zac Hoy drained a game-high 19 points and Corey Murtha and Dillon Culp sank 14 points apiece as the Wildcats improved to 4-0 on the young season. The Black Knights dropped to 1-5.
It was last week that the Mifflinburg faithful were on hand for Zac’s milestone and the troops returned, including a number of Hoy’s former players, to see the elder Hoy reach the 200-win milestone.
“That’s the best part,” said Eldon. “It’s not really seeing former players, but you’re seeing friends. You obviously follow them when they are in college, in life, when they are starting families, starting jobs. It just feels like a big family.”
Before the celebrating began, the game had to be won and the Wildcats, having gone without game action the last eight days, were a little sluggish, however the defense was stifling early and eventually the flow came on offense.
A three-point edge after one quarter of play built to 12 at halftime and when Travis Trutt sank one of two freebies with 5:12 left in the third, the Wildcats had pushed the lead to 20.
Towanda looked early like it wanted to be the more physical team, but the Wildcats’ defense took the Knights out of their game while Murtha and Culp, who combined for two treys apiece in the first half, got the offensive wheels rolling.
“The nine days off, that really didn’t help,” said Zac. “We pride ourselves on defense and we wanted to keep it low scoring, force them into mistakes.”
“Our quickness made a big difference,” said Eldon. “We played with a lot of intensity.
“I thought we shot the ball quickly early, shots we didn’t have to take. We weren’t getting good shots.”
Things changed quickly in the second as the Wildcats scored eight unanswered to grow the lead to 20. Even with liberal substitutions, Mifflinburg didn’t miss a beat.
“We fell into a rhythm offensively,” said Eldon. “I think our knowledge of the game helped.”
“That’s just experience on our part,” said Zac. “We’ve played together since second, third, fourth grade.”
In addition to the trio of Wildcats in double figures, Mifflinburg got nine from Trutt.
The Knights were led by Cody Miller’s 18 points. Joseph Leljedal added 10.
Mifflinburg is back in action Monday in Florida as the Wildcats take on Colts Neck, N.J., at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.
In his 14th season at Mifflinburg, Hoy has set more than a few benchmarks. An alum, he said he, along with much of his coaching staff, “have a stake in it.”
“That’s the pride,” he said.
Hoy has led the Wildcats to four league crowns (three Central Susquehanna Conference, one Heartland Athletic Conference) and coached the first Mifflinburg team to win a state playoff game. He has coached four 1,000-point scorers, led Mifflinburg to four 20-win seasons, including the team that set the all-time Mifflinburg record for wins (26-2). He is also a four-time coach of the year.
“It comes down to, if you want to do something well, you really have to have pride in it,” he said. “We played here and we want to see the program do well.”
“It’s special,” said Zac, of the opportunity to share two milestones in the matter of days. “Since I’ve been young, he’s been a role model for me. He’s helped me become who I am. He’s made me work harder.”