Seals rally in fourth quarter to down rival

Jan. 26—SUNBURY — For a team with postseason title aspirations, Friday night's visit to Lockcuff Memorial Gymnasium was just what the Selinsgrove boys basketball team needed.

Struggling through three quarters — and hearing it from a raucous Shikellamy crowd — the Seals struggled offensively and were in danger of falling to a Braves team they beat by 20 points earlier this month.

"It was the loudest crowd we've had all season, and I think it got to us bit for a while," Selinsgrove coach Justin Keiser said. "But our guys responded."

Did they ever.

Ries Naugle scored all 12 of his points in the fourth quarter, and Selinsgrove rallied from a 15-point, third-quarter deficit to knock off the Braves, 48-44.

"My coach told me to be extra aggressive in the fourth quarter," said Naugle, who missed his first five shot attempts.

Shikellamy went nearly eight minutes without a field goal after Cameron Lenner's driving hoop with 2:40 left in the third quarter gave Shikellamy a 38-25 advantage. The Braves started the fourth with a nine-point lead, but Naugle got going offensively and defensively.

Selinsgrove never really solved the Shikellamy zone defense — Naugle's 3-pointer that cut the margin to four points was the only outside shot the Seals hit in the fourth quarter. They forced six turnovers, and Naugle's dunk off a steal tied the game at 39.

Joniel Bruno answered with a driving bucket to stop the Shikellamy field-goal drought and give the Braves their final lead of the game at 41-39 with 2:45 left. Shikellamy got a defensive stop, but on the offensive end it missed a chance to push its lead. In a scramble for the rebound, the Seals' Jace Diehl tracked down a loose ball in the corner.

Diehl threw a three-quarter court pass to Gavin Bastian as the Braves defense tried to recover. Bastian found Naugle for a layup, a foul and a three-point play with a little more than two minutes left to give Selinsgrove a 42-39 lead. Another steal led to an intentional foul, and Naugle hit one of two foul shots before Luke Piecuch scored inside for a 46-41 Seals lead with 1:22 left in the game.

"I have to look at the film, but I think 16 of their 20 points in the fourth were either layups off turnovers or foul shots," Shikellamy coach Bill Zeigler said.

Shikellamy would cut the lead to three twice in the final minute, but the Seals made just enough foul shots to clinch the win.

It was another heartbreaker for the Braves (7-9 overall, 3-5 HAC-I), who lost by a point Tuesday night to division-leader Shamokin. It's hard to count moral victories, but in its first go-around in the division against Central Mountain, Shamokin and Selinsgrove, the Braves lost by 27 points, 28 points and 20 points, respectively. The next time they went 1-2 with a very realistic shot at 3-0 in that stretch.

"It absolutely a learning experience. Sometimes you learn more from losing close games," Zeigler said. "If we can keep playing defense (like we did this week) and keep working hard, we're going to be a tough team to beat.

"We want to be the hardest-working team on the court, and I think for the last two weeks we have been."

Selinsgrove (10-4, 7-1) had issues with Shikellamy's 2-3 zone the entire game. The Seals took an early 7-2 lead, then went scoreless for the rest of the opening period. Shikellamy had an assist on all eight of its first-half baskets, and Lenner's 3-pointer — his first field goal of the game — with 12 seconds left sent the Braves to the half with a 25-14 lead.

Logan McAllister scored three straight buckets for the Braves after Selinsgrove scored the first one of the second half as the Braves took a 31-16 lead.

Before Selinsgrove's fourth-quarter spurt, freshman Xaivier Jackson scored a game-high 14 points to lead Selinsgrove, but he fouled out with 6:05 to play. Piecuch had all nine of his points in the second half.

Lenner finished with 12 points to lead Shikellamy, while Asher Moyer chipped in 11 points.



Selinsgrove (10-4) 48

Xaivier Jackson 6 0-0 14; Luke Piecuch 4 1-2 9; Ries Naugle 4 3-5 12; Jace Diehl 1 0-0 2; Gavin Bastian 4 2-5 11; Mason Richter 0 0-2 0. Totals 19 6-14 48.

3-point goals: Jackson 2, Naugle, Bastian.

Did not score: Griffin Parker, Noah Walter.

Shikellamy (7-9) 45

Ryan Williams 1 0-0 3; Xavier Fashaw 1 0-0 3; Asher Moyer 5 1-4 11; Logan McAllister 4 0-0 8; Cameron Lenner 3 4-8 12; Joniel Bruno 2 1-4 5; Luke Wetzel 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 6-16 44.

3-point goals: Lenner 2, Williams, Fashaw.

Did not score: Micah Moyer.

Score by quarters

Selinsgrove;7;7;14;20 — 48

Shikellamy;11;14;14;5 — 44