By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
COAL TWP. -- Once Austin Stine's name was read along with those on the 47th annual Knights of Columbus all-tournament team, the Shamokin High's Purple Palace erupted with cheers from the Indians' home fans, and for good reason.
The senior was phenomenal both days of the tournament, but perhaps saved his best performance for the championship game.
Stine recorded his second double-double in as many nights with a 26-point, 18-rebound effort as Shamokin handled Lourdes, 62-34, to win the tournament and remain undefeated on the season.
"Austin was huge the whole game," Shamokin coach Chris Zimmerman said. "He's finally starting to put it together and he's going to be a handful the rest of the year."
Stine helped lead a first-half surge for Shamokin (8-0) that saw the Indians pull away from Lourdes (4-3) with an 11-1 run. Stine accounted for 10 of those points, including a nice putback off a missed free throw to start his streak.
The Indians built a double-digit lead early in the second quarter. The Red Raiders cut the lead to eight points twice just inside of two minutes before halftime, but that was the closest Lourdes got the deficit, as Shamokin led by 10 at the half.
The Indians shot 23-for-53 (43 percent) from the floor.
"It was obvious to see we didn't shoot the ball very well. We're a much better shooting team than we played," Zimmerman said. "I guess it's a good night to be cold being that we had some other things going and kind of scored inside at will."
While Stine was the offensive spark that kept the Indians going, Shamokin got seven points from Josh Pappas. Jakob Weaver, Dan Delbaugh and Thomas Campbell -- who came off the bench late -- each added six.
Stine left the game with 3:59 to play as did the rest of the Indians' starters. Shamokin led by 20 late in the third quarter.
"We have guys that can run and jump and want to play fast and obviously, (Lourdes) wanted to play slow. Beginning of the game, we probably wanted to play too fast to the point we were a little too excited and trying to hit home runs instead of singles, and that led to all the fouls," Zimmerman said. "We have some really, really good athletes. And all these kids, they come out and they play when they're in."
An Achilles' heel for Lourdes was turnovers and rebounding.The Red Raiders committed 28 turnovers. Lourdes also had 18 total boards, however just two were offensive, limiting their second-chance opportunities. Shamokin had 33 rebounds, 17 offensive.
Mike Gilger was Lourdes' go-to player, accounting for 12 of the Red Raiders' 34 points, while Larry Czeponis added nine and seven rebounds.
The Indians recorded eight steals, including two each from Stine, Ryan Sebasovich and Isaiah Reiprich. The Red Raiders also struggled from the charity stripe, going 8-for-20 (40 percent).
Despite the pressure Shamokin put on the Red Raiders in forcing those turnovers, Zimmerman thought the Indians could have been better.
"Not to be picky, but I don't think we were as solid as we need to be defensively. I think we have a lot of room to grow there," Zimmerman said. "Sometimes it's a little bit unfortunate that we didn't convert off those turnovers."
Joining Stine on the Knights of Columbus' all-tournament team were teammate Ryan Sebasovich; Lourdes' Czeponis and Gilger; Line Mountain's Elijah Zablosky; and Minersville's Spencer Tobin.