MCA, Shamokin make history tonight in PHAC Championship game
Any time Mount Carmel and Shamokin meet, regardless of sport, it's a spectacle.
But there's an extremely historic aspect to tonight's Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference Girls Basketball Championship scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Shikellamy Field House in Sunbury — the two schools have never, in any sport, met in a championship game.
That's what Mount Carmel athletic director Greg Sacavage is claiming after putting local sports historian Jose Gonzalo to the task of deciphering decades of history between the two long-time rival schools.
The factoid itself is almost impossible to believe and much more surprising than Shamokin's (17-7) shocking comeback win over Montoursville (21-2) in the semifinals on Wednesday to make the meeting possible.
The Indians met Mount Carmel (22-1) on Jan. 9 and, though holding a 39-38 lead heading into the fourth quarter, were outscored 20-11 in the final stanza to surrender a 58-50 loss to the Red Tornadoes.
After the meeting, Shamokin head coach Jordan Rickert said she felt her team did a good job of keeping the ball away from Mount Carmel's leading scorer, Nicole Varano, during the first half of the game.
Varano, however, was still able to score 20 points, while Shamokin's Abigail Aurand scored 22 to lead her team.
Mount Carmel head coach Lisa Varano described the game as a tale of two halves.
"We appeared to be stagnant and couldn't get much going," she said. "But we switched up our defenses in the second half were finally able to score points on their miscues to gain control of the momentum."
Mount Carmel used a strong performance from the free throw line to gain the advantage, much like Wednesday's 68-62 victory over Mifflinburg in the semifinals.