SUNBURY — Austin Stine gathered the ball and softly kissed a layup off of the glass as he was falling, midway through the fourth quarter.
Much like the Shamokin forward’s senior season, he may have fallen to the court but he returned to his feet with a vengeance. Stine helped to solidify Shamokin’s inside presence against Central Columbia and the rest of the Indians’ game quickly fell into place.
With numerous scoring threats inside and out, Shamokin defeated Central Columbia, 59-40 to take the District 4 Class AAA title at Shikellamy High School Saturday.
With the victory, the Indians (22-3) will face District 2 third-place finisher G.A.R. in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA state tournament March 7, while the Blue Jays (18-7) will take on Abington Heights, the District 2 champion.
“We didn’t want to put a number (of wins) in on anything but we knew what the potential was,” Shamokin coach Chris Zimmerman said of his team. “This group here has worked extremely hard throughout the course of year, the offseason, and they deserve (a district title).”
The trip to the state tournament is the Indians’ first since the 2008-2009 season in which the Indians followed a district title with a win in the first round of the state tournament.
Stine came back from injuries to both wrists in time for the district tournament and was rewarded with a district gold medal.
“That’s all we wanted from the beginning of the year,” Stine said. “We got it so it’s great. It’s amazing.”
Shamokin used a 16-2 run to end the first half to push a tight game into a double-digit lead, using a pair of sophomore guards to start the run.
Jake Weaver hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 16 and dished the ball to Ryan Sebasovich on the Indians’ next possession as Sebasovich stroked a trey from the top of the key to give the Indians the lead.