COAL TOWNSHIP — Shamokin girls basketball made it tough for Southern Columbia all night long and pulled off a convincing 55-49 win on Friday.
In the first half the Indians made 14 of 23 field goals as Grace Nazih led the way with nine points.
Shamokin’s defense held Sarah Rodriguez to 2-6 shooting and did not allow the Tigers to get enough space, especially in the paint.
Southern’s offense came to life for a few minutes in the opening half.
Down 20-7, the Tigers zipped to a 14-3 run in a minute and 26 seconds as Rodriguez and Morgan Cole each drilled two 3-pointers.
Shamokin clinged to a 23-21 lead at that point and eventually took a 31-23 advantage into the halftime break.
The Tigers and Indians traded shots throughout the second half and it would be hard for either side to generate enough consistency on offense.
Southern shot 50 percent from the field as Summer Tillett and Cole each tallied seven points. Meanwhile, Shamokin went 4-12 in the final half as it relied on its defense and free throws to cap off an upset win over the Tigers, who lost only one game entering the night.
The Indians made 11 of 14 foul shots and its defense created several turnovers.
“The foul shots were extremely important and when you’re in a close game it comes down to foul shots. Our girls stepped up today and shot the ball well down the line, so that was key,” Shamokin head coach Jordan Rickert said.
Nazih had two shots splash into the bucket from downtown and collected 11 points in the half (20 points on the night). The sophomore also stamped three critical free throws in the fourth quarter.
With 20 seconds left in the game, the Tigers could not hit a shot to inch closer to the Indians as Cole and Grace Callahan each missed a 3-point shot.
Rickert thought it was crucial for her team to keep the Tigers offensive talent in check in order to maintain the lead.
“We knew they had a lot of veteran players on the court and girls who could make big time shots, so we just said listen. Keep them in front of you. Make sure you guys are playing good defense, talk and communicate and going back to the basics,” Rickert said about her team’s game plan versus the Tigers.
Emma Tomcavage and Lydia Deptula each scored in double figures and they combined to hit 9 of 10 foul shots.
Shamokin connected on 12 of 16 shots from the charity stripe.