By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item
COAL TWP. -- Maria Kelleher met with a college recruiter following Monday night's game against Shamokin, a coach who lamented the fact Lewisburg's point guard pledged to attend Mansfield a week ago.
"We're not going to give up on you," he was overheard telling Kelleher before the two parted.
Kelleher made quite an impression in the Green Dragons' season-opener, scoring a game-high 23 points -- 16 during a second quarter in which she drained every shot she took -- in a 45-37 win over the defending District 4 AAA champion Indians.
"I felt like I was just on," she said. "My shots were falling, the crowd ... the student section was crazy, and I just put all that energy on the floor."
The standout senior didn't just visit the "zone" in that second quarter, she pitched a tent. She knocked down four field goals, including back-to-back 3-pointers, and six consecutive free throws in her own 10-2 run that broke open a tight game.
Shamokin's attentive and boisterous student section resorted to a chant of "Ball-hog!" when Kelleher's outburst lifted Lewisburg from down 10-8 to up 22-14 at halftime.
"Maria's a pure shooter," said Green Dragons coach Phil Stamm, "so if she gets on she's definitely capable of hitting shots like that."
Shamokin, off to a 1-2 start, struggled mightily with 28 turnovers (at least six in each quarter) and 26.5 percent shooting from the floor (13-of-49). The Indians cut a 10-point deficit to three early in the fourth quarter, but made just two of seven free throws in the period, and 9 of 18 overall.
"It's our third game and we're still not running our offenses. That's bothering me," said Shamokin coach Bill Callahan. "It's our third game and we're averaging 40 turnovers. That's bothering me. We can't make our free throws and we're not rebounding. That's bothering me."