Youthful Indians win opener
MIFFLINBURG - With no returning starters from last season, and two freshmen starting at guard, no one, not even first-year head coach Chris Zimmerman, was sure what to expect from Shamokin in its opening game Friday.
For much of the first half, what Zimmerman got didn't look so good. But there were two halves, and the Indians totally dominated Hughesville in the second, rallying from a 12-point deficit to pull away from the Spartans 63-49 in the opening game of the Mifflinburg Tipoff Tournament. Shamokin, which trailed 24-12 at one point in the first half, outscored Hughesville 51-25 from that point on, revving up the offense and playing hard, in-your-face defense.
The Indians got a 22-point, 13-rebound game from 6-6 Kevin Carsto, and his top sub off the bench, Josh Pappas, added 13 points and three rebounds. The two of them, never straying far from the basket, combined to hit 16 of 24 shots.
Then there were the two guards, Jake Weaver and Ryan Sebasovich. Weaver scored nine points and handed out six assists and Sebasovich, though he only scored two points, had three assists. Both had four rebounds and both did a good job bringing the ball upcourt against Hughesville's press.
"Both of our guards can slash to the basket," Zimmerman said. "That's a big thing with them. They both play with their heads up."
Hughesville took its lead thanks to six 3-point baskets in the first half, four by Brandon Fortin and two by Sean Poust. But the pair made only one in the second half.
"I think we (the coaches) kind of expected that we might have a tough start, between our youth and inexperience," Zimmerman said. "Fortin's a good shooter and we kind of lost track of him a little bit in the first half. But in the second half we did a much better job and we really ran our offense a lot better."
Another key for the Indians was good bench play. In addition to Pappas' strong game, Tucker Yost added four points and six rebounds, and played very good defense. Shamokin got 18 points and 13 rebounds from the bench players. Overall, Shamokin out-rebounded Hughesville 42-20.
"We think we have a lot of guys who can play," Zimmerman said. "We feel pretty confident with everybody. I think what helps us is who we play in the offseason. We don't win a lot of games in the summer but we play tough against good competition. You sometimes wonder if it will pay off, and I think it showed tonight. But it's a long season and this is one win."
Austin Stine scored 10 points, with four rebounds and three assists, for the Indians.
Fortin finished with 16 points for Hughesville.
Shamokin will play Mifflinburg, a 30-23 winner over West Perry in the other semifinal game, tonight in the final.
SHAMOKIN (63) - Sebasovich 0 2-4 2, Weaver 2 4-4 9, Delbaugh 0 2-2 2, Stine 4 1-3 10, Carsto 11 0-0 22, Deitrick 0 1-3 1, Yost 1 2-4 4, E. Taylor 0 0-0 0, Pappas 5 3-6 13. Totals 23 15-26 63.
HUGHESVILLE (49) - Jeffery 2 2-3 6, Fortin 5 1-2 16, Newhart 4 1-3 9, Stugart 0 2-3 2, Poust 3 0-0 8, Benedict 0 0-0 0, Mitcheltree 1 2-4 4, Henry 0 0-0 0, Burkholder 0 0-0 0, Snyder 0 0-1 0, McCarty 1 2-4 4, Hans 0 0-0 0, Duff 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 10-20 49.
3-point FGs: Shamokin (2) - Weaver, Stine; Hughesville (7) - Fortin 5, Poust 2.