By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item
SUNBURY - Bernadette Chaney didn’t try to paint a pretty picture.
The Shikellamy Braves are what they are — a team with more scrap than skill — and they own it.
“We don’t have a star player, so to win we all have to be aggressive and work together,” Chaney said after Wednesday’s 47-31 win over archrival Selinsgrove. “Hustling, getting rebounds and turnovers is the only way we’re actually going to do that.”
The teams played a rough-and-tumble game that was virtually even over the final three quarters. In the first period, however, the Braves knocked down four 3-pointers, forced 11 turnovers and forged an 18-3 lead that was overwhelming for a Selinsgrove team missing its best player.
“That’s how we’ve been starting every game. Every time we turn around, we’re down 15 or something at the end of the first quarter,” said Seals coach Tim Lauver. “Same thing happened against Loyalsock; same thing happened against Shamokin. The rest of the game we’re fine. I just don’t know.”
Seals senior post Laura Long, recovering from a fractured ankle, dressed out for the game but did not play. Lauver said she may get a few minutes’ work Saturday against Danville.
Selinsgrove (1-10, 1-3 HAC-I) has lost 10 consecutive games as they struggle to make up the 13 points and eight rebounds Long averaged a season ago.
“Other girls are trying to more than what they’re capable of doing, trying to make up the difference, and then they start getting a little bit frustrated,” Lauver said. “I think they’ll just be glad to have her back.”
Shikellamy (4-4, 2-2 HAC-I) graduated an all-star in 1,000-point scorer Alexis Angstadt. Rather than pressing to make up her 16 ppg., the Braves work hard on defense — even if that means more floor burns and fouls than points — to keep the score down.
“We have to make the other team play ugly,” said Shik coach Lew Dellegrotti.
In the first quarter Wednesday, the Braves forced 11 turnovers which limited Selinsgrove to seven shot attempts, only one of which was good. The Seals committed turnovers on eight of nine possessions at one point, and Shikellamy built a 16-3 lead with three minutes left in the quarter.
“Everything was clicking,” said Dellegrotti, “but that’s what this young team we have has got to learn: That they can generate offense that way.”
The Braves made four 3-pointers in the first quarter: two from Kelsey Zimmerman and one each from Andrea Amerman and Alexa Moore. Zimmerman made three treys in all, upping her team-leading average to 13.6 ppg. after the junior scored just 10 total points in 19 games last season.
Selinsgrove took better care of the ball in the second quarter, and capitalized on more opportunities to cut its deficit to 20-10. Nikki Krebs scored three of her team-high 10 points in the period and assisted a bucket by Jess Kerstetter (7 points, 9 boards).
Shik made six straight free throws in the last 2 minutes of the half and pulled ahead 28-12 at the break. The Seals had a run of turnovers to open the third, and Raven Fatool scored four of her eight points in an 8-3 run that pumped the margin to 21.
Zimmerman capped the burst with a 3-pointer from in front of her bench, and finished with 17 points. Amerman had six, while Chaney matched her and added five rebounds and five steals.
“We know who are shooters are and where we want to get the ball,” said Chaney. “At the same time, we know that everyone has to work (and) everyone has to hustle. We know our roles and we know what we’re best at.”