Indians hold off Milton
DANVILLE - For three quarters Friday night, Shamokin Area did everything it wanted to.
In the fourth quarter, when things started to go a little haywire, the Indians (13-10) did what they had to.
The end result is a Tuesday night date with top-seeded Athens (19-3) in the District 4 Class AAA semifinals, courtesy of a tough, physical 44-39 quarterfinal victory over Heartland I rival Milton at the Danville High gym.
It was the third matchup between the teams this season, with the Indians coming out on top in all three.
"I think the first three quarters, we played very well," Shamokin coach Bill Callahan said. "In the fourth, we kind of didn't play the way I wanted."
At the end of those first three quarters, the Indians were sitting pretty with a 33-18 lead, and, up to that point, they had forced the Black Panthers into more turnovers - 20 - than they had points.
"Our girls played great defense," Callahan said. "Then she got red-hot."
The she Callahan referred to is Milton senior guard Karissa Brown. Held scoreless throughout the first half, Brown opened the second with a 3-pointer, adding a 2-point field goal before the quarter ended.
Then, in the fourth, with Milton turning the
turnover tables on the Indians, forcing Shamokin into seven while committing only three, Brown almost single-handedly got the Panthers back in the game.
In the final 3 minutes, 39 seconds of the game, Brown knocked down four 3-pointers, the final one a bank shot high off the glass that drew her team within six - 40-34 - with 1:12 remaining.
"Milton never quits against us," Callahan said. "She (Brown) went crazy in the fourth with those 3s."
But, while Brown was the guiding force in Milton's run to make a game of it, the Indians, who shot only two free throws through the first three quarters, started getting to the line and making enough of those foul shots to stem the tide.
The Indians' final nine points, covering the final 4:06 of the game, all came at the free throw line.
It proved to be enough to earn the semifinal matchup with Athens.
"Sometimes we're not pretty," Callahan said. "But Tuesday night, we're both 0-0."
Shamokin got solid offensive performances from Kelsey Yacko, who finished with a team-high 12 points, and Olivia Bonshock, who netted 10.
Yacko was pivotal in the first quarter when, scoring six of her 12, she helped stake Shamokin to a 14-4 lead. It was an advantage the Indians would never relinquish despite the fourth-quarter heroics of Brown.
MILTON (39) - Miller 1 0-2 2, Brown 6 1-2 18, Kyle 1 0-0 2, Brouse 2 0-0 5, Baker 2 0-1 4, Gensel 0 3-4 3, Swartz 2 1-1 5. Totals 14 5-10 39.
SHAMOKIN (44) - Pancher 1 2-4 5, Bonshock 4 0-0 10, Yacko 5 2-2 12, Pesarchick 3 2-5 9, Koons 0 0-0 0, Erb 0 0-0 0, Zimmerman 0 0-0 0, Scicchitano 0 1-2 1, Forbes 2 3-6 7. Totals 15 10-19 44.
3-point FGs: Brown 5, Brouse, Bonshock 2, Pancher, Pesarchick.