By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
By the time Shikellamy’s Ernie Tyler scored his team’s first basket from the floor Saturday, the deficit the Braves faced was almost too big to overcome.
Within the first four minutes of the opening quarter, visiting Loyalsock stormed to a huge 18-point lead.
Tyler and the rest of the Braves could do little to slow down the fast-paced offense, and the Lancers remained undefeated with a 75-42 win in a HAC crossover game at the Shikellamy Field House.
“Our goal was to try to get it down to about 10 within the first few minutes of the third quarter and it didn’t work,” Shikellamy coach Tim Foor said. “Loyalsock’s a very solid team. (Roger) Wilson’s a handful. (Kyle) Datres and (Omar) Little are two very solid guards — both quick, athletic and can shoot the ball. I thought they shot the ball extremely well against our zone in the first half.”
Wilson proved to be a tough force to contain. The 6-foot-5 senior scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Little added 14 points for the Lancers.
“He’s wide and he’s strong,” Foor said of Wilson. “Not only is he 6-5, he’s a strong 6-5, and that’s something you don’t see a lot of in this area. He posts up very well, he uses his body, he keeps his defender off him a little bit. They’re very patient on swinging the ball around until they get the mismatch where they throw over the top or they pick it down into him and he kicks it back out.
“It’s a very good post player to have.”
Loyalsock (5-0, 2-0 HAC-II) opened the game with spurts of 7-0 and 10-0 to put Shikellamy into a 19-1 hole before Tyler’s basket. The Braves (3-3, 2-0 HAC-I) cut the deficit to 11 when Tyler hit a 3-pointer with 26 seconds to play in the first quarter.
That was the closest Shikellamy could make it, as the Lancers continually increased their lead throughout the game, including a 7-0 run to open the second quarter.
Between the second and third quarters, the Braves went 7:32 between baskets from the floor. Shikellamy also had a span of 5:50 between the third and fourth quarters without scoring from the floor.
“That hurt us because I actually thought from the last two minutes of the first quarter to halftime, we cut that lead down to 13, but I thought we could have had it down to even 10,” Foor said. “Then our goal coming into the third quarter was to get that 13-point lead down to 10 for them within three to four minutes into the third, but they actually extended the lead into the third.”
Tyler accounted for all five of Shikellamy’s six points in the third quarter and ended the day with a game-high 23. The senior guard accounted for 15 of Shikellamy’s 23 first half points.
The Braves cut the lead to 13-points with 5:18 to play in the third and then made it a 15-point game with a free throw roughly a minute later. However, from there it was all Loyalsock. The Lancers had a 12-0 run and led by 28 points going into the fourth quarter.
The Braves had chances to score throughout the game, getting good looks against a tough Lancers squad, but just couldn’t knock down the shots.
“Our shots weren’t falling at the beginning of the game and we were getting some decent looks. We haven’t seen the pressure on the ball that Loyalsock brought us,” Foor said. “That was good for us. Hopefully it’s a learning experience because I thought we were a little stagnant on the offensive end where, in some of our sets, we were letting our point guard just dribble around and everyone was sort of standing a little bit where you have to react and get the defensive moving by cutting to the basket to try to break them down a little bit.
“There were some spots where I thought we did that, but obviously not enough where we did it the entire game.”