The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

February 26, 2014

Girls basketball: Renz leads Danville past Shikellamy

COAL TWP. — Amber Renz scores her Valley-leading 22 points per game any number of ways: inside or out; from the floor or the foul line; quietly or in bunches.

Tuesday night, the Danville sophomore dropped eight in a game-defining run, and there was nothing quiet about it. For a span of about four minutes in the Ironmen’s District 4 Class AAA semifinal against Shikellamy, Renz’s play was downright deafening.

Top-seeded Danville weathered a barrage of 3-pointers and seized control with the Renz-fueled 12-0 run at the end of the first half. Every other quarter between the HAC-I rivals was played within a point, but that spurt tipped the scales in the Ironmen’s 52-42 win at Shamokin High School’s “Purple Palace.”

“That was it,” said Braves coach Lew Dellegrotti, whose team split its regular-season games with the two-time division champion.

Danville (21-3) topped Shikellamy in the district semifinalss for a second straight year and earned a spot in the district final opposite Mifflinburg, which knocked off defending champion Athens, 43-41.

“It means the world to us to have another chance at the district title,” said Renz, who had a game-high 16 points with five rebounds, four blocks and three steals. “We don’t want to be known as a team that’s second place.”

Shikellamy (15-9) started the game 1-of-7 from the floor and with five turnovers as the Ironmen forged a 9-3 lead. The Braves, however, buried three 3-pointers in the final 2:40 of the first quarter — two from Alexa Moore, one from Kelsey Zimmerman — to lead 12-11.

The Braves got two more Zimmerman treys for a 19-17 lead midway through the second quarter. In fact, they didn’t make a two-point basket in the first half; they shot 6-for-25 overall, 6-of-15 from 3-point range.

“Give them credit,” said Danville coach Steve Moser. “They lit it up in the first half.”

“They have really good outside shooters, so we knew it was gonna happen, they were going to make some shots,” said Renz. “Later on Coach Moser was telling us we had to get out to (defend) them.”

Renz tied the game at 19 by spliting two defenders on a drive to the basket. Then, after Sara Naessig assists Liz Pavis for the go-ahead bucket, Renz was fouled on an offensive rebound and made two free throws. She then converted a left-handed layup and followed that with a basket in transition for a 27-19 lead.

“I rely on my teammates,” said Renz, who took just four shots prior to the half-ending run. “I know we can work together to get good shots and make them.”

Paige Harris’ steal (one of six) and layup in the final half-minute gave Danville a 29-19 halftime lead. Harris scored eight of her 13 points in the half.

Dellegrotti said he believed the 10-point deficit could be overcome. “We had to play our game, play intense, and get offense on defense.”

However, the Ironmen took away the 3-pointer in the third quarter — allowing just three looks and one Zimmerman make — and increased their lead to 41-30.

“Once we recognized where their shooters were,” said Moser, “I thought we did a good job limiting them.”

Every Danville starter scored at least six points, including junior Alexandra Berg who started in place of Sara Naessig and added five rebounds and two steals. Naessig had five points and five rebounds off the bench.

Zimmerman paced the Braves with 12 points on 3-pointers, falling one shy of the single-season record (60), while Kierra Smith and Alexa Moore added 10 and nine points, respectively. Raven Fatool, their lone senior starter, had five points and seven boards.

“They really competed,” said Dellegrotti. “I’m proud of them.”

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