By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
Everyone inside of the Selinsgrove gymnasium was probably thinking the same thing: Grab a rebound.
Every time the Seals put up a shot, a Lewisburg player grabbed pretty much every single board.
Selinsgrove coach Ray Moyer called a timeout late in the third quarter and told his team they needed to play defense against a very talented Lewisburg squad that currently is ranked 10th in state in Class AA.
It was all too little, too late at that point, however.
The timeout came on the heels of a 7-0 run by the Green Dragons which all but put the game out of reach. Lewisburg left Selinsgrove with a convincing 58-36 win on Monday night in a HAC crossover game.
Selinsgrove (4-7, 3-3 HAC-II) struggled rebounding, grabbing just 15 total and only two offensive boards, as Lewisburg (12-1, 6-1 HAC-I) refused to give the Seals second-chance opportunities. Lewisburg pulled 41 boards (24 in the second half alone) and had 24 defensive rebounds. Three different Green Dragons had at least five defensive rebounds.
“I knew we had to pound the offensive and defensive rebounding because we had a size advantage,” Lewisburg starter Erich Kline said. “So that’s what we did and (the lead just) kind of (kept) going up and up.”
Selinsgrove didn’t allow the Green Dragons to get too far ahead in the first half. Lewisburg built a nine-point lead three times in the first half before the Seals made a nice effort and cut the deficit to three late in the second quarter thanks to a Juvan Batts layup.
That would be the closest Selinsgrove would get, as Lewisburg came out in the third quarter and strung together it’s 7-0 run that pushed the lead from seven points to 13. The Seals never got the deficit back to single figures after Lewisburg went up 11 with 2:52 to play in the third.
“We got that lead and they saw the success we were having in transition, so the more success we had, the more they wanted to do because they were able to just be basketball players,” Lewisburg coach John Vaji said. “They didn’t have to worry about getting organized and getting balanced because we were able to beat them down the floor and get the extra shot, which is nice anytime you can do that in transition.”
It seemed at times that anything Lewisburg put up went in. In the fourth quarter, the Green Dragons had a 13-0 run to build a 24-point lead. Dillon Hoke (12 points) scored the only points from the floor for Selinsgrove in the fourth quarter, ending a drought of 3:45 without a basket across the third and fourth quarters. The Seals scored just four points in the final 4:30 of the game, all from the foul line.
“First half, we gave up a couple open looks. Even in the second half, the shots they made I think we had a hand up in their face and we were contesting,” Vaji said. “Hey, you’re not going to hold anybody scoreless — they’re going to make shots — but as long as you’re contesting it and if they make it, good for them. As long as we’re getting a hand up in their face and contesting it, that’s what we want to see from them.”
Travis Conrad and Kline nearly outscored Selinsgrove by themselves, combining for 33 points. The duo each posted a double-double in the lopsided win, with Conrad scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 boards while Kline led both categories with 21 and 14, respectively. Conrad also dished seven assists.
Mike Driscoll added 16 points for Lewisburg.
“They’re very important,” Vaji said of Conrad and Kline. “Erich is just a silent leader. (He) just goes about his business, very coachable, but he has that knack to find the open spots on offense, even against a man or a zone (defense). He has a very accurate shot.”
Kline was 8-for-12 from the floor and a perfect 5-for-5 from the line.