By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
COAL TWP. -- Mifflinburg's James Zack dribbled to about the foul line and pulled up for a jumper against Shamokin's defense about midway through the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats watched as the shot went through and, all of a sudden, they were within striking distance as it cut Shamokin's lead to single digits for the first time since the second quarter.
Shortly thereafter, Shamokin coach Chris Zimmerman called timeout to talk to his team, and the message was a simple one: Just relax.
The timeout calmed the Indians, and they slowly rebuilt their lead to double digits and cruised to a 62-47 Heartland Athletic Conference-Division I win on Friday at Shamokin's Purple Palace.
"We were playing one possession at a time there. We had it inside 10 (points) with about five minutes left and we wanted to win one possession at a time and I told the kids, 'We got to play with our hearts,'" Mifflinburg coach André Roupp said. "I thought in the second half that we really did, and not only did we play hard but we were doing some really good things.
"I feel that we as a team take a lot of good things away from this game because Shamokin's a good team."
Mifflinburg (5-4, 1-4 HAC-I) and Shamokin (10-0, 5-0) traded baskets one after another to start the game. The Wildcats opened the game with a basket by Jeremy Uscowskas (six points, four rebounds) and retook a lead three times as Shamokin answered each basket to tie.
The Indians then cranked up the pressure, specifically in the backcourt, and they went on a 7-0 spurt in a 31-second span to pull ahead, 15-8, and end the first quarter.
The Wildcats didn't let Shamokin pull too far ahead in the second quarter until the final three minutes when Zach Moyer hit a trey to put the Indians ahead by double-digits.