By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
SUNBURY -- Feliph Taylor hit one of two shots from the line to pull Shamokin within four points in the final minute of the third quarter. With a packed, boisterous crowd inside the Shikellamy Fieldhouse, it seemed that maybe -- after trailing by 11 points to start the quarter -- the Indians were going to get a momentum shift.
But that hope was dashed when Wilkes-Barre GAR's James Holmes thrust a 3-point dagger at them.
Holmes' trey made it a seven-point game to start the fourth quarter, and while the Indians kept it within single digits for a good portion of the remainder of the game, they just couldn't get close enough to reclaim a lead.
Shamokin fell in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA tournament, 61-49, to the Grenadiers inside Phil Lockcuff Gymnasium on Friday.
"Bottom line (is) they have a bunch of good players. (Isaiah) Francis is an animal. We just didn't have an answer for him. Not only with him scoring, but he was finding the Holmes kid a couple times when we get off the help and he'd hit a couple big threes," Shamokin coach Chris Zimmerman said. "Cut it to (four) twice (in third) and he hit two threes to stretch it back up to six, stretch it to seven. Just couldn't get over that hump. We gave it everything we had. Our guys have played so hard."
All year Shamokin (22-4) played without being in awe or intimidated by an opponent, and the same was true Friday.
The Indians and Grenadiers (21-6) went back and forth throughout the first half, exchanging leads a total of eight times before halftime. Shamokin held a five-point lead halfway through the first quarter (10-5) before GAR battled back, going ahead with 6:50 to play when Francis (25 points) nailed a shot. Once GAR took the lead, it didn't relent, leading by as many as 10 twice in the second.