COAL TOWNSHIP - Lourdes and Line Mountain were at the opposite ends of the emotional rollercoaster Friday in the opening game of the 46th annual Shamokin Knights of Columbus Holiday Basketball Tournament at Shamokin Area High School.

On one hand, the Red Raiders were nearly flawless at both ends of the floor, while on the other, the Eagles never got on track following the opening tip.

As a result, Lourdes, led by a trio of players in double figures advanced into tonight's title game with a convincing 59-26 triumph in a matchup that had plenty of potential that never materialized when Line Mountain failed to exhibit any of its high-powered offense.

Anthony Pennypacker led the charge in the opening quarter with seven straight points, including a 3-pointer for the contest's first points, and Justin Howal followed with six, propelling the Red Raiders to an early 17-5 advantage over the Eagles (5-4), who had no answer for the home team's dominance in the paint and hot-shooting (10-15).

"We played extremely well right from the get-go," Lourdes head coach Pete Long said. "Our scouting report showed we could pound the ball inside because they lacked an inside presence and we also extended our zone and forced their shooters out of a comfort zone. In addition, we were able to dominate on the boards and forced them to turn the ball over while scoring off their miscues."

The Red Raiders, who led after one period, 21-7, continued to pound the

offensive glass and with Zack Oquendo, Pennypacker and Howal each collecting one basket, the lead ballooned to 27-7, before the Eagles finally collected their first score of the period with 3:58 remaining in the half when Dillan Michael drained a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 27-10. Codi Morris and Bill Breinich both added field goals but Line Mountain was unable to generate enough of a consistent offense and fell victim to a series of missed shots in close to fall behind 31-14 at the break.

Line Mountain had no answer for the jumping talents of Oquendo, Howell and Matt Savitskie, resulting in numerous altered attempts from the field or shots being swatted away and into the hands of Lourdes' defenders.

"We missed too many layups and couldn't stop them on the inside," Eagles' mentor Craig Reichard said. "I thought we were playing good man defense coming into the game but we lost their players and they were able to control the passing lanes.

"Lourdes just worked harder than we did and that was right from the start."

Both teams came out of the break sloppy, however, despite turning the ball over more in the quarter (5) than they did in the entire opening half (2), the Red Raiders were able to continue to get inside and with Savitski tallying six points and Oquendo adding four. Lourdes was able to extend its advantage to 43-19 when Line Mountain could only muster five points in the period.

"I thought our defense really played great," Long said. "We disrupted their ability to set up and get the easy shot and we were able to finish off when we forced mistakes and also started to get to the foul line."

Oquendo paced the winners with 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds while Savitski contributed 15, and Pennypacker, who had five assists, followed with 12.

Breinich led the Eagles with seven points and Michael had six.

Game Summary

LINE MOUNTAIN (26) - Coltin Hunsberger 1 0-0 2, Codi Morris 1 1-2 3, Bill Breinich 2 3-4 7, Joe Weiler 1 0-0 2, Cole Rickert 2 0-0 4, Dillan Michael 2 0-0 6, Brandon Lucas 0 2-2 2. Totals 9 6-8 26.

LOURDES (59) - Michael Menapace 2 0-0 5, Michael Gilger 0 1-2 1, Anthony Pennypacker 5 1-3 12, Matt Savitski 5 4-4 15, Zack Oquendo 7 2-3 16, Justin Howal 4 0-0 8, Dan Costa 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 8-12 59.

3-point FGs: Michael 2, Menapace, Pennypacker, Savitski.

COAL TOWNSHIP - It doesn't get much better during the holidays for Shamokin Area than this.

For the first time all season, the Indians got to play in front of a home crowd and in the second game of the Knights of Columbus tournament.

Being at home agreed with the Indians, and Shamokin took advantage of its chances on the foul line late in the game to beat Minersville, 37-33, Friday.

The win, coupled with Lourdes' win over Line Mountain, set up an all-city final today at 8 p.m. at Shamokin.

But don't think that the Indians' second win of the year came easily.

Shamokin didn't have any players in double-digit scoring and had 22 turnovers.

"It was a big win for us," Shamokin head coach Chris Zimmerman said.

"We've been off for a couple days and it's kind of a rhythm thing. I think we started well, but we looked like we were fighting ourselves the whole game. We had some pretty good stretches, but we had some pretty bad stretches, too. Give credit to Minersville, they played hard and it was a big game for them."

Shamokin came out of the gates and opened the game with a 7-0 run.

The Indians pushed the ball inside to Kevin Carsto and it paid off.

Carsto went to the line on the Indians' second possession and then passed the ball out to Danny Delbaugh for an open three in the game's opening minutes.

A Jacob Weaver jumper pushed Shamokin's lead to seven before things went quiet on the offensive end for the Indians.

Shamokin had stretches of three minutes, four minutes and two minutes when the Indians didn't score for the rest of the half and allowed Minersville to climb back into it.

The Miners' Isaac Melochick pushed the action and led the game with 12 points.

Minersville and Shamokin traded leads until Josh Pappas stepped up and drained a 3-pointer then had a three-point play to give Shamokin the lead back both times.

"I thought Josh and Danny Delbaugh were a huge spark for us," Zimmerman said. "Josh starts sometimes and comes off the bench. He plays starter minutes and I told him he did a good job and was the key in the third quarter when we started to get a little bit of a lead. He took two charges, made a couple shots and got some rebounds. That was big for us. We need him to step up and play like that."

But as was the case all night, Shamokin allowed Minersville right back into a game when a bevy of turnovers were all the Indians had to show for their offensive possessions.

"We have so many young guys and on top of being young have a lack of experience," Zimmerman said. "It's kind of on-the-job training for some of the guys."

Melochick then made four foul shots to get the Miners to within five and Spencer Tobin had back-to-back layups and hit on another field goal to tie the Indians at 31.

Shamokin's youth showed resilience in the end however, and the Indians made 6-of-10 free throws in the last 2:26 to win.

Game Summary

MINERSVILLE (33) - King 1 0-0 2, Melochick 4 4-5 12, Bethea 2 0-0 4, Hashin 0 0-0 0, Fritz 2 0-0 4, J. McBreen 0 0-0 0, Firestine 0 0-0 0, Tobin 4 3-4 11, N. McBreen 0 0-0 0, Fedornak 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 7-9 33.

SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (37) - Sebasovich 1 2-4 5, Yost 0 1-2 1, Weaver 1 3-6 5, Delbaugh 2 2-2 7, Stine 2 1-2 5, Taylor 1 3-4 5, Pappas 2 1-1 6, Carsto 1 1-3 3. Totals 10 13-24 37.

3-point FGs: Sebasovich, Delbaugh, Pappas.