COAL TOWNSHIP - When this season started, Shamokin Area first-year head coach Chris Zimmerman opened some eyes by starting not one, but two, freshmen at the guard spots, arguably the most important positions in high school basketball.

To be sure, Ryan Sebasovich and Jake Weaver have had some growing pains. But the operative word there is growing, because that's just what the pair seem to be doing.

Both had fine games Saturday to lead the Indians to a 56-51 Heartland Conference Division I win over Jersey Shore, a win which, coming off a poor performance against Selinsgrove and an earlier 20-point loss to the Bulldogs on the road, was maybe bigger than it looks in the grand scheme of things.

Shamokin improved to 4-11 overall, 2-7 in the division. Jersey Shore dropped to 7-8, 4-5.

Sebasovich, who had trouble scoring early in the season, paced all scorers with 19 points, making 8 of 11 shots, including a 3-for-4 showing from 3-point range.

Weaver had solid all-around game, with 13 points, six rebounds and five assists. He made 9 of 12 foul shots and was particularly deadly from the line in the fourth quarter after Jersey Shore tied the game at 46-46.

"They're growing up," Zimmerman said. "We're not using the whole youth thing as an excuse anymore. We knew things were going to be up and down with them at the beginning of the season but they've gained a lot of experience. They've logged a lot of minutes."

Although those two were the only two players in double figures, a total of nine Indians dented the scoring column and all 10 who played had some serious minutes.

"We had to play a lot of kids, and this was a good team win," Zimmerman said.

In fact, the rest of the team combined for 24 points on a total of only 17 shots, but were 16 for 20 from the

foul line. Overall, the Indians made 25 of 33 foul shots.

Big guys Josh Pappas and Kevin Carsto's contributions were indicative. Pappas was 6-for-6 from the foul line and Carsto filled the middle on defense despite early foul trouble. Both had some key plays down the stretch.

"I think Kevin gets penalized sometimes because he is so big (6-6, 265)," Zimmerman said. "People run into him and he doesn't do a thing, but they fall down when they hit him and he gets called for a foul."

Sebasovich scored seven points, hitting all three shots he took, to give Shamokin a 15-10 lead in the first quarter. Jersey Shore came back to take a three-point halftime lead. Shamokin opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run to go up five, but the Bulldogs began to use their depth and size to start getting second and third-chance shots and came back to tie the game at 46-46.

But Sebasovich hit a big 3-pointer and the Indians made 8 of 10 foul shots in the last period to protect the lead.

Cody Confair paced Jersey Shore with 11 points and seven rebounds, and point guard Eric Huling had nine points and five assists.

"I don't think we're a 4-11 team," Zimmerman said. "We play better than that. We still have a shot at districts or we can be spoilers, but I'm not even worried about that. I just want to see us get better every day."

Game Summary

JERSEY SHORE (51) - Huling 3 1-2 9, Fulzroad 2 2-3 7, Baier 2 0-0 4, Newton 2 0-0 4, Stetts 1 2-5 4, Bartges 0 0-0 0, Confair 5 1-3 11, Miller 4 1-2 9, Eck 1 0-1 2, Dincher 0 1-2 1. Totals 20 8-18 51.

SHAMOKIN (56) - Sebasovich 8 0-1 19, Yost 1 3-4 5, Weaver 2 9-12 13, Stine 0 2-4 2, Pappas 0 6-6 6, Deitrick 0 1-2 1, Delbaugh 0 0-0 0, Campbell 1 0-0 2, Taylor 1 2-2 4, Carsto 1 2-2 4. Totals 14 25-33 56.

3-point FGs: Jersey Shore (3) - Huling 2, Fulzroad; Shamokin (3) - Sebasovich 3