By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
SUNBURY -- Shikellamy was within a few possessions of taking a lead in front of its home crowd late in the third quarter Friday.
That crowd, though, had to wait nearly a full quarter before the Braves scored again as Milton erupted to take control.
Spurred on by a 22-0 run from the end of the third through most of the fourth, Milton defeated Shikellamy, 68-45, at Phil Lockcuff Gymnasium.
Milton coach Gene Bruno attributed the win to his players controlling the tempo of the game and coming out strong.
"We had to make a statement in the first quarter," Bruno said. "That was huge."
While the Black Panthers (6-4, 2-2 HAC-I) came out strong, forging a 14-12 lead, it was their finish that broke open a close game.
Getting hands on the ball as the Braves (5-7, 3-2) tried to penetrate the lane, Milton was able to frequently come away with a loose ball and run the other way.
Later, it was Ethan Baker who reached his hand in to poke the ball away as Shikellamy brought the ball up the floor late in the third quarter, kick-starting the Black Panthers' decisive run.
It started innocently enough, as Baker earned a trip to the foul line after the steal. He hit a pair of free throws and followed them up with a running jumper after misses at both ends of the floor.
Despite a 10-point deficit heading into the last eight minutes, the Braves were potentially a few, quick possessions from changing the dynamic of the game.
However, the Braves were unable to knock down shots, allowing Milton to slowly pull away.
Logan Feltman hit one of his four 3-pointers from the top of the key, and Wade Heidel got into the act with a corner trey before Baker scored five straight points, working his way to the foul line on two possessions before hitting a jumper from the foul line. Throughout the game, Baker penetrated the lane and converted or got to the foul line. He finished with 20 points.
C.J. Tyler ended the scoring drought for the Braves, making the back end of a two-shot technical foul, for the first Shikellamy point in nearly a quarter of action. Milton led 64-37 at that point.
Before the Black Panthers turned a tight game into a runaway, the Braves' Austin Mowery developed quite a liking for the corner 3-pointer.
Working himself open along the perimeter, Mowery used a quick release to repeatedly get a shot before the Milton defense was able to rotate and defend. Mowery scored the Braves' first three field goals, all from beyond the arc.
By the time the first half was over, he connected on seven 3-pointers, keeping the Braves within striking distance as Milton led 32-28 at the break.
While he did most of his damage shooting the ball from the perimeter, Mowery was active on defense to keep the game close in the first half.
With the Black Panthers switching their defense in the second half, Travis Krall and Heidel took over inside.
"Wade Heidel did the job on them," Bruno said.