By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
COAL TOWNSHIP -- After forcing a backcourt violation and scoring, Milton was looking to rally midway through the fourth quarter Friday.
Jake Weaver had other ideas.
The Shamokin sophomore ran the floor and drove the lane before dishing to Isaiah Reiprich for a layup.
With momentum shifted back to their side, the Indians held off Milton, 50-38, in a fierce HAC-I matchup.
Weaver scored 14 points against the Black Panthers but the point guard showed his versatility as the game progressed, helping to keep Milton off-balance.
Along with Ryan Sebasovich and Reiprich outside and Josh Pappas inside, Weaver was able to collapse on the Milton offense in the lane, grabbing rebounds in traffic or knocking away balls.
The tenacious defense the Indians (12-1, 7-0 HAC-I) showed did not wreak havoc only when Milton (6-4, 2-4) entered the lane, but as soon as Milton broke halfcourt.
The relentless pressure helped to put the Indians' lead out of reach with Reiprich alert when Milton inbounded the ball late in the fourth quarter. Poking his hand inside, Reiprich swiped the ball away and sprinted the other way for an Shamokin layup and a 48-38 lead.
Weaver then hit a pair at the free throw line with Milton forced to foul.
"Jake's our general," Shamokin coach Chris Zimmerman said. "His job is to run the show and I thought he did a great job of that."
Although Shamokin was able to push the final margin to double-digits, the Indians had to withstand a squad that refused to go away.
In the closing seconds of the third quarter, Shamokin was clinging to a three-point advantage before Weaver hit a foul-line jumper to give the Indians a bit of breathing room, 37-32.
Zachary Moyer hit a triple to put the Indians ahead by nine. They finished with seven treys as a team.
"We can make shots, we can, and hopefully, they (got) the confidence they needed," Zimmerman said.
The 3-pointer helped to prevent Milton from taking a lead despite pulling within two quick possessions of it in the second half.
"Milton's tough," Zimmerman said. "They have a lot of experience."
On an open look midway through the third quarter, Weaver set his feet and knocked down a three.
Travis Krall, who scored 18 points, answered inside for Milton, but Sebasovich showed his range, draining from beyond the arc to put the Indians ahead, 34-25.
Shamokin established its perimeter game early with Sebasovich hitting a pair of threes in the opening minutes of the game.
Rebounding on the defensive glass and converting at the other end, the Indians scored 11 straight points to extend an 11-10 lead to 12 points before halftime.
Ethan Baker brought his team back, scoring five straight points to end the half.