COAL TOWNSHIP —With Loyalsock sitting atop the HAC-II standings with an outstanding 22-1 overall record and Montoursville sitting close behind, the strength of the division is not to be questioned.
Nevertheless, Shamokin chalked one up for the HAC-I brigade with Monday night’s 64-49 win over the Warriors on a night Montoursville head coach Mike Mussina was honored for recently being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Shamokin’s Joe Masser continued his run of strong performances, finishing with a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Indians. Masser used his ability to play bigger than he appears to give Montoursville fits.
“They definitely have some size. I think we missed a bunch. I feel like we left a lot of points out there. Joe is 6-1, but he’s got a lot of length and obviously he has athleticism,” Shamokin head coach Chris Zimmerman said. “I’m not sure size really bothers him. I think sometimes he needs to realize how long and how athletic he is, because he can finish on anybody when he puts his mind to it. I think we missed a bunch, but we made enough.”
Shamokin kicked off the night with a 13-4 run in the first four minutes of the contest and the Indians hit six 3-point shots in the opening half — adding an extra element to their offense.
Shamokin led by a tally of 29-23 at halftime after the Warriors got six points from Dylan Bower and four apiece from center Austin Loe and Dillon Young.
Montoursville fell behind by double digits in the third period as Collin Bowers tacked on a pair of field goals. Jahleke West and Mason Filarski each made shots from downtown to pad the lead, but the Warriors would fight back courtesy of Peyton Mussina.
In the fourth quarter, the sophomore connected on three 3-pointers and cut Shamokin’s lead to as low as five, 47-42, with 4:23 left in the game.
“Coach’s kid is a really good shooter and we know that. We talked about it, but the mental part of it, only having a day to prepare is — we have to be better with that,” Zimmerman said of Peyton. “We didn’t make as many mistakes on him and I thought we did a pretty good job guarding him all night. He happened to get lost and make three big shots, which cut the lead to five.”
Bowers would continue to impose his will on the Warriors by scoring nine of his team-high 21 points in the final quarter, including a made shot that gave the Indians a 10 points lead with two minutes remaining. He ended the game with seven rebounds.
Despite Zimmerman feeling the Indians could have shot the ball better, he was pleased with the overall level of play the team provided, especially being in a midst of a game-heavy and practice-short schedule.
“I think we got refocused and our kids played hard. They always play hard. I think it was a matter of our kids just refocusing on what we needed to do and when we did that we took care of the ball and got some baskets in transition,” Zimmerman noted about his team adjusting to the Warriors.