By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
COAL TWP. -- Austin Stine went up and grabbed the offensive rebound and saw Ryan Sebasovich bolting down the court. Sebasovich quickly found himself with the ball and scored an easy layup with 50 seconds remaining as Shamokin's fans cheered.
The basket was pivotal in that it gave Shamokin a double-digit lead for the first time since early in the third quarter Friday. From there, the Indians held off Minersville's attempts to rally back and walked away with a 58-47 win in the 47th annual Knights of Columbus tournament at Shamokin's Purple Palace on Friday night.
Shamokin (7-0) faces Lourdes -- a winner over Line Mountain -- in today's championship game at 7:30 p.m.
The Battlin' Miners made it an interesting game early in the fourth quarter when Tobin Spencer hit a shot with 5:53 to play to make it a three-point game, 46-43. It was all part of a rally that saw the Indians relinquish an 18-point lead as they struggled offensively in the second half.
In the second half, Shamokin scored only four baskets from the floor (two in each quarter).
"Give Minersville a lot of credit: they defended well. They had a pretty strong group out there and we only had four baskets, but we were going to the foul line quite a bit," Shamokin coach Chris Zimmerman said.
The Indians used the charity stripe to prevent Minersville from swinging all the momentum its way. Shamokin went 6-for-9 at the stripe in the third quarter and 8-for-12 in the fourth. As a team, the Indians shot 69 percent (25-for-36) from the line.
Spencer led Minersville with a 13-point performance, along with six rebounds, while Collin Hashin scored 12, and Bethea Shameik added 10.
Shamokin had a bend-don't-break mentality on Friday, however, and despite giving up a huge 18-point lead, the Indians never trailed to Minersville in the second half and stayed focused on the task at hand.