By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
SUNBURY -- With fewer than two minutes gone in the fourth quarter, Zach Moyer hit a bucket for Shamokin.
What made his shot significant was that, for the first time all game Saturday, the Indians held a double-digit lead over Shikellamy.
While the Braves flirted with single digits a few times late -- cutting their deficit to nine points twice -- the game was effectively over once Moyer's shot went down with 6:04 to go. The Indians cruised the rest of the way for a 54-39 win over their Heartland Athletic Conference-Division I rivals, preventing Shikellamy from clinching a District 4 berth on its home court on Senior Day at Phil Lockcuff Gym.
"They were much more physical than we were. A lot of 50-50 balls they got," Braves coach Tim Foor said. "They really attacked the offensive boards and we didn't box out well enough to win."
Shikellamy (10-9, 7-4 HAC-I) struggled grabbing offensive boards, ending the game with just six while Shamokin (17-2, 11-1) had 11 and a 25-21 overall advantage.
While Shamokin won by 14 points and swept the teams' regular-season series -- winning 64-54 at "The Purple Palace" in Shamokin -- the game was anything but lopsided early on.
Shikellamy and Shamokin went back-and-forth throughout the first two quarters. The Braves used a 9-0 run midway through the second quarter to erase a 23-16 deficit and took their first lead of the game, 25-23, since Garrett Kemberling hit a putback to start the game. That seven-point Indians lead was their largest until the fourth.
Shikellamy also held a four-point lead with 1:35 to play until the half, but Shamokin responded with a quick 4-0 spurt to close the gap and head into the half tied at 29-all.
The Indians offense was solid throughout the game. Moyer led Shamokin with 13 points (11 in the first half), while Josh Pappas nearly had a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds. Jake Weaver added seven points and a team-high four assists, and Isaiah Reiprich scored nine points.