Jersey Shore boy’s basketball drops playoff semi-final matchup to Danville
By CHRIS MASSE
For The Express
MILTON-Jersey Shore has not reached the state tournament since 1986 when current coach Scott Munro was still a junior.
The Bulldogs have that opportunity this weekend against Athens when they play for the final state tournament berth and third place in District 4 Class AAAA. Jersey Shore is moving forward and focusing on that goal now.
It sure does not want to look back at what happened Wednesday night at Milton.
Jersey Shore picked the worst time to play its worst game this season as Danville dominated from the start and defeated it, 73-29 in the district semifinals. Defending champion Danville (20-6) clinched a state tournament berth and will play Montoursville for the title Saturday, likely back at Milton.
“You have to move on and I told them in the locker room you have a chance to do something that hasn’t been done here in a long, long time, so take this and learn from it,” Munro said. “Put whatever that effort was behind us and find the effort that we gave in the first playoff game and move on and give yourself a shot at state playoffs.”
Jersey Shore (13-11) has made a seven-win improvement this season and turned a 12-point halftime deficit at former nemesis Shamokin into a 69-56 quarterfinal road win last Friday. But as good as the Bulldogs looked during that second half comeback, they looked equally as bad against the surging Ironmen who have won nine straight while winning all four postseason games by double-digit margins.
Jersey Shore trailed only 3-2 midway through the first quarter but Danville finished strong and built a 10-point lead by quarter’s end. The Ironmen had four players score in double digits and started pummeling the Bulldogs in the second quarter, taking a 34-11 haltime lead.
Jersey Shore showed brief flashes of life in the third quarter, pulling within 39-21 at the four-minute mark. Danville, though, then delivered the knockout blow, closing the quarter on an 8-0 run. The Ironmen inflicted the mercy rule with more than three minutes remaining in the game and put together a 31-3 run at one point.
This was a game in which Jersey Shore needed a lot of pieces to fit and none of them did. The Bulldogs lost 20 turnovers, shot 3 of 23 in the second half and were 6 of 38 from the field in the game’s final two minutes. That included 3 for 19 shooting performance from behind the arc.
“It shocked me. We just couldn’t get anything going offensively. I thought we played intimidated and afraid and like we didn’t belong,” Munro said. “Sometimes when you haven’t been here for a long time as a program that kind of stuff happens and I’m hoping maybe it was just a little bit of first big game jitters of playing for a district final spot.”
Danville is a perennial district title contender and showed no nerves, efficiently moving the ball and setting each other up for quality looks. Jagger Dressler (15 points, 14 rebounds) recorded his fifth double-double in six games, KJ Riley scored 14 points and Mavin James and Jack Smith each produced 10. James added six rebounds and five assists.
Trevor Gee and Alec Carpenter each scored seven points for Jersey Shore. Carpenter also had four rebounds and three assists.
As bad as things went, Jersey Shore now has a new opportunity and a shot at showing it is a much better team than it did last night. Cash in on that and this becomes a memorable season.
“I certainly would hope that they want to come out and prove that this wasn’t our best effort and that this wasn’t what we’re all about and this wasn’t what we’ve worked hard for all year to achieve,” Munro said. “I hope they can do that use how we played here as motivation to show that this was really not us.”
JERSEY SHORE (29)
Nate Ewing 1 1-2 4, Trevor Gee 3 1-4 7, Tanner Lorson 0 1-2 1, Damian Williams 2 0-0 4, Alec Carpenter 2 2-2 7, Cayden Hess 0 1-2 1, Justin Stringfellow 0 0-1 0, Kyle Mundrick 2 0-0 5. Totals 10 6-13 29.
Mavin James 4 2-2 10, KJ Riley 5 3-3 14, Jagger Dressler 7 1-2 15, Dante Harward 3 0-0 7, Jack Smith 4 1-1 10, Colton Sidler 2 0-0 4, Carson Persing 1 0-0 3, Mitch Vandenheuvel 1 1-2 3, Aiden Witkor 1 0-0 2, Brady Hill 1 0-0 2, Charlie Betz 1 0-0 3