COAL TOWNSHIP — Shamokin boys basketball played with the energy of a boxer in his biggest fight and the program got a statement win against Mount Carmel on Monday, 76-61.
Joe Masser set the tone by playing shutdown defense in the first quarter, collected several rebounds and scored 15 points against the daunting Red Tornadoes.
The Indians dismantled MCA by flying up and down the hardwood and making all the right passes.
Shamokin had a commanding 25-9 lead in the first 10 minutes and 20 seconds as different players got involved.
Senior Collin Bowers had eight points as fellow Indian Mason Filarski tacked on five of his own in the opening half.
Shamokin head coach Chris Zimmerman told his team the importance of not worrying about mistakes and playing the game the right way as everything else should fall into place.
“Don’t worry about making mistakes. Don’t worry about missing shots or if your guy scores. Get lost in the game. There’s so many ways you can affect the game,” he said he told his team. “They’re going to make good plays because they’re trying to win the game, too. If we play the right way, we’re going to make more and we’re going to end up winning the game.
“I thought our kids did a great job tonight. They came out aggressive and I thought they executed what we’ve been talking about when it comes to moving the ball and finding the open man. Defensively, we kept our focus. I thought we did a really nice job guarding the ball and rebounding it. I thought it was a good game tonight,” Zimmerman said.
Masser brought intensity to a game that was jam-packed with Shamokin students jumping for joy with every big play that took place.
The junior forward and his Shamokin teammates slowed down production from Tom Reisinger and the MCA big man had no points during the Indians’ fast start — a start that seemed like it would last an eternity.
Masser said, “We were focused at the beginning of the game. We had our students cheering for us and everybody was into the game. We came mentally prepared. We need to do this every single game and if we do that we’re going to be unstoppable.”
He continued, “We finally showed we can beat a good team from around the area. Mount Carmel is a really good team. Now we build off of this and get ready for Danville on (Thursday) and do what we did today — the same exact way.”
Shamokin’s game against Danville, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed to Thursday night.
As for Mount Carmel, it was a tough road contest as Donovan James fouled out with just over three minutes left in the game and even though Resinger finished with 20 points, it was too little too late for the Red Tornadoes to make any noise.
Mount Carmel head coach John Lazicki said he warned his team about overreacting to the loss, despite it being a rivalry game.
“I told the kids this doesn’t hurt us division wise or district wise. It might bump us down maybe a seed, but it’s not the end of the world,” he said. “We haven’t been shooting the ball too well lately. We missed a ton of open shots and they made shots. They were physical, they scrapped and their defense did a good job.”
He continued, “They’re a good team — give Shamokin credit. I wanted to come play here this year. I deliberately wanted to play in an atmosphere like this. Shamokin is well coached and they play hard and I wanted us to experience this. This game isn’t the end-all be-all. Looking at PHAC play and district play, that’s where it really matters.”
Lazicki added that his team can learn from this loss and grow as the playoffs get closer.