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High school girls basketball: Jersey Shore defeats Selinsgrove

JERSEY SHORE–Damian Williams blocked a shot. Then Damian McAllister made a steal. Then Mason Miller made another steal.

The offense went cold in the fourth quarter Tuesday night, so Jersey Shore put up a defensive wall in the final minute, held off a rally and continued turning its season around. The Bulldogs made three big stops in the final 40 seconds and three players scored in double figures as they defeated Selinsgrove, 49-42 and won their second straight game.

McAllister and Tristan Gallick each scored 14 points and Williams added 12. The Bulldogs feature a well-rounded offense, but this was the second consecutive game they allowed fewer than 50 points. It’s not a coincidence that both were wins.

Jersey Shore (4-7) is turning defensive and as it does, its future becomes brighter and brighter.

“Defense has always been the key to winning games. Defense really is just a mental thing. That’s what wins games,” Williams said. “If you come down and score every time it doesn’t matter if they do the same thing. I feel like our defense is our main focal point right now and our strong point.”

Jersey Shore has high expectations but has been playing catch up since starting the season 1-5. Four of those losses, however, were decided by seven points or fewer and the opponent topped 50 points each time. With renewed defensive energy, Jersey Shore is reversing its fortune and that is ultimately what won Tuesday’s game.

“We’ve been trying to pound into them that it doesn’t matter if we go through lulls on offense. If you just continue to guard and are able to consistently play on that end we’ll be fine,” Jersey Shore coach Scott Munro said. “We’ll get through it because we have enough guys who can score it and we have enough ways we can score. It’s 1-10 that haven’t consistently been solid on defense and we’re working on that. I think when we get that we’re going to be dangerous.”

Jersey Shore is getting closer to that point and the last two games have provided a nice springboard moving forward. The Bulldogs have allowed just 88 points in those contests and they held Selinsgrove to 27 points through the first three quarters.

The defensive prowess which helped Jersey Shore build an 18-point third-quarter lead and take a 16-point lead into the fourth disappeared for a while in the fourth and Selinsgrove made a furious rally. Isaiah Ulrich’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to 47-42. The Seals then regained possession, but Jersey Shore dug in, turned the pressure back on and closed out the win.

Williams started pointing the way to victory when he knocked a away a shot in the paint. After McAllister made a steal a few seconds later, Gallick scored on a putback, making it 49-42 with 36.7 seconds remaining. Miller then capped a strong performance off the bench by making his second steal and clinching the victory.

“We pressed the whole game and got a lot of steals and a lot of easy buckets. That’s what won us the game, our defense,” McAllister said. “We called timeout (after Selinsgrove rallied) and said, ‘Let’s get some stops and we’ll be good,’ and we went out and got stops. We pushed it right back up with the intensity.”

McAllister had Selinsgrove feeling intense pressure early, scoring 10 first-quarter points as Jersey Shore built a 16-6 lead. The Seals never pulled within single digits again until the fourth quarter as McAllister’s early barrage helped Jersey Shore settle in and take control.

McAllister, who also grabbed eight rebounds, made four straight shots during a 14-2 run which changed the game’s complexion, including two 3-pointers. The senior guard drained two first-quarter 3-pointers, with one coming beyond NBA-range, before closing the flurry with a steal and layup.

“I was feeling locked in. I came in focused and stayed locked in and put my shots up when I had the opportunity,” McAllister said. “Once the first one drops I get a lot of confidence.”

That confidence surged throughout the 10-man rotation as Munro received strong efforts from every player he used. Six players scored during the second quarter as Jersey Shore built a 32-17 halftime lead. Gallick shined during the first half as well, dealing five of his game-high six assists. Kaimen West helped ignite the defense and made three steals and his pressure played a key role in Selinsgrove making just 7 of 24 first-half shots.

Jersey Shore shared the ball well throughout the first half and into the third quarter as pushed the lead 37-19. The Bulldogs were making the extra pass while working it inside and outside. They also received a nice lift from the reserves with Miller, Cayden Hess, Karter Peacock, Spencer Brion and Kyle Mundrick all making key plays. Miller highlighted the second-quarter surge when he sent three defenders on a futile chase in and around the lane before converting a layup.

Mundrick added three crucial fourth-quarter rebounds and Brion continued his strong defensive play. Owen Bloom was tough inside and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, reaching at least 10 for a third straight game.

“I feel like we’re finally starting to play like a team and get everyone into it,” Williams said. “At the beginning of the season it was just two or three guys doing their thing and the rest of the team really wasn’t into it. Lately we’ve been starting to change that and everyone is getting better.”

“That’s what we need is all 10 in that lineup contributing and I thought we did it,” Munro said. “It helped us tonight that we didn’t just barely squeak it out by one. It was iffy there for a little bit, but we were able to push it back up at the end and make it a little more conformable and I hope that will be able to help us mentally, being able to hold a lead like that.”

SELINSGROVE (42)

Isaiah Ulrich 6 1-4 17, Reis Naugle 0 0-0 0, Blake Haddon 2 0-1 4, Spencer George 5 1-2 11, Nate Hackenberger 1 0-0 2, Ryan Reich 1 0-0 2, Gavin Bastian 3 0-0 6. Totals 18 2-7 42.

JERSEY SHORE (49)

Damian McAllister 6 0-0 14, Tristan Gallick 6 1-1 14, Damian Williams 4 4-6 12, Owen Bloom 1 0-0 2, Kaimen West 0 0-0 0, Cayden Hess 1 0-0 3, Karter Peacock 0 0-0 0, Spencer Brion 1 0-0 2, Mason Miller 1 0-0 2, Kyle Mundrick 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 5-7 49.

Selinsgrove 6 11 10 15-42

Jersey Shore 16 16 11 6-49

3-pointers: Selinsgrove 4 (Ulrich 4); Jersey Shore 4 (McAllister 2, Gallick, Hess).

Records: Jersey Shore 4-7.

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