Tyrone Basketball Sets High Goals for 2021

Tyrone is hoping that 2021 will be their year to stake their claim to the D6 title

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Lucia Isenberg

Tyrone junior guard Landon DeHass moves the ball up the court vs. Indiana last week

The Tyrone varsity boys basketball team is off to a good start and is looking forward to a very successful 2021 campaign.

According to head coach George Gripp, the team goals remain the same as last year: “win the league, win districts and make a run in states.”

Tyrone fell just short of the district championship last year after being upset by the Huntingdon Bearcats in the District finals last season. After leading by nine in the final quarter, Huntingdon managed to come back and upset the Eagles 49-48 in the game’s final seconds.

Hopefully, as we continue to mature, we will do a better job at finishing games. We feel like we can run more and expand leads where we can be more comfortable at the end of games”

— Senior Damon Gripp

But with another year of experience and a new focus on defensive intensity, the Eagles hope to capture Coach Gripp’s first district title this season.

The Golden Eagles starting lineup includes seniors Jake Taylor, Damon Gripp, and Brandon Lucas, who have been playing together since grade school.

According to Coach Gripp, “experience, depth, team speed, and work ethic” will be the team’s strength.

The starting five and several key subs who will contribute significant minutes all return from last year’s successful squad, so there is certainly no shortage of talent and experienced players.

“In addition to our seniors, we are looking for solid contributions from our juniors Cortlynd Rhoades, David Lang, and Landen DeHaas, and also sophomore Zach LeGars from the guard position,” said Coach Gripp. Sophomore Ross Gampe, and juniors Jake Johnson and Keegan Gwinn from center and forward positions will also see court time.

Tyrone was set to start in December before the state shut down high school athletics until January, and then Tyrone’s opener against Clearfield was called off when that school was temporarily closed.

“The start of the season has been confusing, and the guys and I are so excited to jump back in and finish what we started,” senior co-captain Damon Gripp said. “Hopefully, as we continue to mature, we will do a better job at finishing games. We feel like we can run more and expand leads where we can be more comfortable at the end of games.”

But since the rocky start to the season, the team is 5-1, with their only loss being to a talented Loyalsock team that is currently ranked fourth in the state by MaxPreps, and will likely go deep into the 3A playoffs. Tyrone is competing in Division 4A and would not have a rematch with Loyalsock in the playoffs.

The early season run also included an incredible 82-12 rout of visiting Indiana last week, which shows the offensive and defensive prowess that the Golden Eagles have this season.

The biggest challenges this season may be off the court, as related to COVID restrictions and staying healthy, as well as dealing with mask requirements and mostly empty stands.

Outbreaks of COVID in schools have canceled several games already this season but the players are doing their best to keep the focus on the court and on things within their control.

“It’s been an ongoing process that seems to change daily. Very tough on both the players and the coaches. We just try to stay on a normal schedule as much as possible, and make sure we are doing what we need to do at practice,” said Coach Gripp.

Tyrone plays Clearfield at home on Friday night in a makeup game of what was supposed to be the season opener before Christmas.