By BRETT R. CROSSLEY
For the Loyalsock Lancers
WILLIAMSPORT—As the seconds ticked off the first half clock Gerald Ross dribbled the ball up from Hughesville’s basket with the hopes of hitting a long shot.
Ross quickly dribbled the ball through the defense and got the looked he wanted. The shot was true, which elevated the Lancers throughout the halftime break. The Lancers continued to pour in the points, pushing Hughesville into the consolation game of the District 4 Class AAA tournament with a 58-36 victory.
Loyalsock will take on No. 1 seeded Wellsboro, which defeated Southern Columbia 53-28. Hughesville will play Southern Columbia with the winner advancing into the PIAA Class AAA Tournament.
As for Tuesday night it was all Loyalsock as the Lancers outscored the Spartans 18-7 over the first eight minutes. They never really looked back after the start as Ross finished with 22 and Anthony Pastore added 14 more to help bury the Spartans.
“I was pleased with the first four or five minutes because we started exhibiting what we are really capable of doing,” Loyalsock coach Ron “CI” Insinger said. “The rest took care of itself.”
Loyalsock held Hughesville to just 13 points in the first half, but was especially good defensively in the second. Taylor Mason, who finished with 21 points, scored all six of the Spartans points over the stretch. He also pulled down two rebounds as the rest of the Hughesville offense only managed to attempt three shots.
As the defense limited Hughesville throughout the first half, Ross, who recently joined the 1,000-point club, took over offensively. He scored 12 points in the opening quarter and added another four in the second to lead all scores through the first two quarters.
“On a given night anyone can score,” Insinger said. “That helped us tonight.”
All eight of Loyalsock’s players scored points. Ross led the way with 22 and Pastore chipped in 14, but Brandon Bauman, who missed two of the last three games due to sickness, scored two points and Connor Watkins and Bam Brima each added four points.
“We wanted to start out fast,” Watkins said. “We know that their game plan it to slow the game down and run their stuff. They will hold the ball 30 to 40 seconds every time down the court. We wanted to get up on the them early and make them change their game.”
Hughesville attempts to slow the game down ended quickly as Loyalsock opened converting five of its first six attempts from the floor.
Pastore only scored two points as Loyalsock built its lead throughout the first half. In the second half he took over.
Pastore scored five points in the third quarter and then added seven over the final eight minutes to help Loyalsock closeout the win.
“We came into these last two games and played the way we needed to play,” Pastore said. “If felt good. I started off a little slow. The jump shot wasn’t falling. I started making some layups and then hit a midrange and the shot was on from there.”
No. 3 Loyalsock 58, No. 6 Hughesville 36
Tobias Harrington 2 2-3 6; Isaiah Savage 0 0-0 0; Matt Myers 1 0-0 2; Patrick Rogers 0 0-0 0; Devon Bushor 0 0-0 0; Clayton Proust 0 1-2 1; Ori Shaner 1 0-0 2; Taylor Mason 8 5-6 21; Luke Ergott 1 0-0 2; Logan Woolcock 0 1-4 1; Austin Long 0 1-2 1. Totals 12 10-17 36.
Brandon Bauman 1 0-0 2; Gerald Ross 10 0-1 22; Collin Graver 1 1-2 3; Anthony Pastore 4 4-5 14; Connor Watkins 2 0-0 4; Mitchell Klingerman 1 1-2 3; Bam Brima 2 0-0 4; Aiden Gair 2 1-2 6; Ryan Sullivan 0 0-0 0; Rees Watkins 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 7-12 58.
HUGH 7 6 12 10–36
LOY 18 11 18 12–58
3–Point Goals: Hughesville 0. Loyalsock 5 (Ross 2, Pastore 2, Gair).
Records: Hughesville 13-10. Loyalsock 20-6.
Next: No. 3 Loyalsock vs. No. 1 Wellsboro, TBA