By Eric Schultz
For The Daily Item
COAL TOWNSHIP —
With about 7:18 still on the clock, Shamokin scored on an inside basket for its first field goal of the game.
There was just one thing that made the otherwise ordinary play abnormal though: it was the second quarter.
Both Shamokin and Shikellamy failed to convert a field goal in the first quarter, starting their varsity girls game on a rather sloppy note. The two teams eventually recovered as the contest progressed, and the Lady Indians held off a late rally to win, 39-36.
“We found a way to win. Anytime we can get a win we’ll take one right now,” Shamokin coach Bill Callahan said. “I thought the last three minutes, we really came and played.”
Exiting a timeout with 3:45 to play in regulation, the Lady Indians (3-4, 2-0 HAC-I) trailed, 29-31. Senior Liv Bonshock was then sent to the line for two foul shots. She missed both, but the Indians retained possession and kicked the ball out to Shaylee Pesarchick, who drained a 3-pointer to take the lead.
On the next possession, Pesarchick scored on a fast break following a turnover. Gabriann Lahr closed out the Indians’ run one possession later, taking a defensive rebound down the court and hitting a pull-up jumper.
In less than 75 seconds, the Indians took the lead back from the Braves (2-3, 0-2 HAC-I) and led, 36-31.
They held a six-point lead with time running out, but a turnover gave the Braves the ball again with six seconds remaining, after Alexa Moore hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit in half. Andrea Ammerman appeared to be over the 3-point line, but her shot at the buzzer missed anyway, securing the Indians’ win.
“I think they played well,” Shikellamy coach Lew Dellegrotti said. “Offensively we had a tough night, but because we play that kind of defense, it kept us in the game.”
Both squads started the game with plenty of opportunities, on close and long shots. But fastbreak layups and shots in the paint were squandered, while mental mistakes also held the scoring back.
The Indians found their scoring during the second half from the inside. Bonshock hit five field goals and finished with 13 points, while Pesarchick added 15 on the strength of seven foul shots.
The Braves’ tight, full-court defense helped keep them in the game despite going without a field goal until there was 4:30 to go in the first half. It caused a number of turnovers and loose balls, making matters worse for the Indians’ cold start.
“When they play that hard, these kids know that we have to improve on the offensive end,” Dellegrotti said. “But if we play defense like we played today, we can compete with anybody.
“They made Shamokin earn every inch of the floor.”
And when the Braves found themselves in foul trouble — every starter had three or more — the Indians still left enough points on the floor to keep things interesting, going 13-for-29 at the charity stripe.
Shikellamy’s Kelsey Zimmerman made the most of the opportunity to keep the game close. Of her game-high 18 points, 13 came in the second half. She found open looks against the Indians’ zone defense, finishing with four treys on the day before fouling out in the closing seconds.
“Zimmerman had a great game,” Dellegrotti said. “She kept us in the game.”