H.S. BOYS BASKETBALL: Shamokin defeats Blue Mountain in OT
COAL TOWNSHIP - It was, for all practical purposes, a meaningless game on a regular-season-ending Sunday afternoon.
Former Schuylkill League Division I rivals, both Blue Mountain and Shamokin Area had already locked up playoff spots.
The Eagles (19-4) will be a high seed in the District 11 Class AAA postseason and the wild card in the Schuylkill party at Martz Hall, thanks to a 9-point loss to Pottsville Saturday night in a special playoff for the Schuylkill I crown.
The Indians (20-2) will be the top seed in the District 4 playoffs and the Division I champion in the Heartland playoffs for Friday night's semifinal round at Montoursville.
So this could have been one of those non-league games in which both teams go through the motions and rest regulars to avoid injury with an eye toward the bigger prizes on the horizon.
But it wasn't.
They went at it hard, the same way they did for many years when they were league rivals.
In the end, it was a game-breaking overtime performance by Indians' sophomore point guard Jake Weaver
that made the difference. Taking matters into his own hands, Weaver scored all 11 Shamokin points in the extra period, leading his team to a 68-63 victory.
Weaver slashed through the lane for a pair of layups, knocked down a jumper and five of six free throws in taking over for the final four minutes. He had given the Indians a chance to win in regulation when he picked off a Blue Mountain pass and went the distance for a layup and a 57-55 lead with 35 seconds left. Kyle Slane's layup basket a few seconds later allowed the Eagles to send the game into the extra session.
"It was intense," Shamokin coach Chris Zimmerman said. "Blue Mountain is tough.
"They lost a game last night that was probably a more important game than this one, and to come in here and battle like they did says a lot about them. They do a great job down there."
Weaver finished as the game's leading scorer with 20 points, scoring all but three of those in the second half and overtime period.
Zimmerman, a former point guard himself, admitted he's sometimes a little harder on Weaver because of that.
"I wasn't really happy with the way Jake played in the first half," Zimmerman said. "And we talked about stepping it up and making plays in the second half.
"And he did. It wasn't only his scoring, but he was getting the ball to the right people."
Blue Mountain, with Will Bornstein scoring 13 of his team-high 19 points in the first half owned a 38-31 advantage at the break, then maintained that same margin, leading 47-41 after three quarters.
With four minutes remaining in the game, the Eagles were up seven - 52-45 - when Shamokin caught fire. A pair of 3-pointers by Zach Moyer, a layup and jumper by Weaver and a Ryan Sebasovich layup led Shamokin on a 12-5 run over those final final four minutes of regulation. Isaiah Reiprich's short jumper with two second left bounced off the rim for Shamokin, setting up Weaver's overtime heroics.
"We were playing a 19-3 Blue Mountain team, with two of those losses to a really good Pottsville team," Zimmerman said. "This was a great game to get us ready."
BLUE MOUNTAIN (63) - Bornstein 8 2-5 19, Slane 5 3-3 14, Grapsy 2 0-0 4, Chelius 3 4-4 12, Pancheri 4 2-4 10, Stramara 0 0-0 0, Kerstetter 1 2-2 4. Totals 23 13-18 63.
SHAMOKIN (68) - Donahue 1 0-0 3, Sebasovich 4 2-2 11, Weaver 7 5-6 20, Delbaugh 0 2-2 2, Pappas 4 2-4 10, Reiprich 4 1-2 9, Taylor 2 1-2 5, Moyer 3 0-0 8. Totals 25 13-18 68.
3-point FGs: Bornstein, Slane, Chelius 2, Donahue, Sebasovich 2, Weaver, Moyer 2.
JV score: No game.