By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item
DANVILLE -- It's difficult to guess whether the Danville girls felt threatened by Milton's fourth-quarter run or the starters simply returned to the court for an encore.
Either way, the Ironmen restored order in their brief reappearance and then left the game to an ovation worthy of their superb performance Friday in a 46-30 win over the Black Panthers.
"It's my senior year (and) I want to play as much as I can," Danville forward Ericka Heath said with a smile. "I don't like the bench."
Amber Renz scored 17 points, while Heath and Sara Naessig each added 10 in Danville's 12th consecutive victory. The Ironmen (18-1, 10-1 Heartland-I) are fast approaching their second straight HAC-I championship and the No. 1 seed in the District 4 Class AAA playoffs.
Milton (8-11, 4-7), which has lost eight of its last 10 games, must win out to make the District 4-AAA field with games remaining against Jersey Shore, Selinsgrove and Shamokin.
The Black Panthers endured four 4-plus-minute scoreless spans Friday, shooting 23.8 percent for the game (10 of 42). White-hot Danville is not a team to go cold against.
"They shot very well, and we did not," said Milton coach Aaron Slusser. "That's kind of been our Achilles' heel all year."
The Ironmen went on a 9-0 spree during Milton's first drought with Renz scoring seven points, including a run-ending 3-pointer for a 15-7 lead early in the second period.
The Panthers' second slump stung to the tune of a 25-11 deficit before the first of Dani Lincoln's two 3-pointers got Milton within 11 at the break. Lincoln scored a team-high 10 points. Brooke Swartz had all nine of her points in the first half, plus a game-high 13 rebounds.
"We focus on coming out strong every game, and we knew we had to do this because Milton's tough," said Heath. "They're very aggressive, and sometimes we aren't as aggressive as we want to be. So we felt we had to jump on them right away."