By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE -- On paper, Wednesday's Heartland Athletic Conference Division-I opener between Selinsgrove and Shamokin looked very much like it would be a tightly contested game.
Both teams were looking for a confidence-building win after getting the season off to a slow start.
With 6-foot-1 senior center and captain Laura Long sitting on the bench for the Seals with a fractured ankle, Shamokin took advantage of her absence down low and scored their first six points from the low post.
The Indians fanned the flames of that momentum and turned it into a 12-1 run to start the game as they cruised to a 41-26 win.
Shamokin coach Bill Callahan said his team was lacking confidence following losses to Lewisburg, North Schuylkill, Marian Catholic and Pottsville.
"Getting off to a fast start was very important for us," he said. "Right now with a young team we are hurting for confidence and we came out and played very well. Hopefully this is a springboard for us."
Callahan said he challenged senior Catie Pancher during the North Schuylkill game and she's responded since then. She lead all scorers Wednesday with 13 points.
Early in the second quarter with the Indians up 17-5, Pancher hit an off-balance jumper and back-to-back 3-pointers on three straight offensive possessions for the Indians (2-4, 1-0 HAC-1) to stretch the lead to 25-5.
"That was real nice of Catie to come out and play like she did," Callahan said.
The Seals (1-3, 0-1 HAC-1) missed Long's presence inside as Shamokin's Gabrianna Lahr dominated the glass all game.
"Gabrianna didn't score much (two points) but she did a real nice job boxing out as Selinsgrove is an extremely physically team and they bounce you underneath. I thought she stood her ground tough," Callahan added.