West Shamokin's Lily Jordan (above) skys for a rebound and put-back during the Wolves' 65-30 victory over the Saltsburg Trojans at home on Thursday.
By Joe Rhoades
Lily Jordan and the West Shamokin defense gave Saltsburg little chance of offensive success during the first quarter of Thursday’s Heritage Conference matchup.
The Wolves snagged 14 rebounds during the first eight minutes, seven coming from Jordan, as West Shamokin built a 19-9 lead that resulted in a 65-30 victory.
“I tell the girls all the time that any time you can get a conference win — It’s big. You’re jockeying to get to the semifinals of the Heritage, you want to be in the top four, and we’re jockeying for playoff position.” West Shamokin head coach Frank Nagy said following his team’s victory. “I felt that this game was our best all-around game of the season so far — even though we’ve only played three games — I thought we played well.”
The Wolves’ path to success started and ended with their performance on the glass. Jordan paced West Shamokin with 14 boards to go along with her 16 points. Abby Oesterling also chipped in a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with her eight assists and six steals.
“That was our No. 1 key of the game and it’s still in there on the whiteboard — win the battle on the boards. We felt like we could, especially with their best big out. We felt like that was a big advantage coming in,” Nagy said of his team using rebounds to create offense. “I wasn’t thrilled in the first half with how we were finishing. I thought we were padding our rebounding stats because we were missing some shots. But I love the resiliency of this team.”
Lydia McIlwain helped West Shamokin add to its already sizable lead by knocking down two three-pointers to begin the second quarter, both coming off assists from Oesterling. Saltsburg responded with two buckets of their own before the Wolves found another gear and scored the next 12 points in dealing a blow that the Trojans could not recover from.
By halftime, the Wolves had allowed just 19 points, the same output their offense had in the first quarter alone. With a 40-19 advantage and 16 minutes remaining, Nagy’s team continued to build a lead that constituted a running clock.
When the smoke cleared, the Wolves moved to 3-0 on the season and face a short turnaround with a game Friday against Highlands.
“It’s back-to-back nights and we would like to see what we have. I think we’re in good enough shape to do it,” Nagy said. “We’re glad to just get any games in at this point and time.”
Jordan’s efforts garnered her the High Top Sports Network/Deertrak Golf Club and Event Center Player of the Game. Nagy had high praise for his freshman forward, admitting that her role is expended with the team’s other projected starting forward, Lexie Young, out due to injury.
“Lily [Jordan] had another double-double. She’s now three-for-three this year with a double-double so far. Thats the type of player she is going to be. I’ve talked to her — and yes she’s a freshman — but she’s not.” Nagy said of Jordan. “This is her ability level, she’s a varsity basketball player, she’ll continue to learn, she is going to get better defensively, she will finish shots. They sky is the limit for her.”
Senior Sophie Fusaro led all scorers with 25 points, adding five assists, eight rebounds, and a charge, while McIlwain ended her night with 13 points and a charge.
West Shamokin welcomes the Highlands Rams tonight for a 6:15 p.m. junior varsity start, and a 7:30 varsity tip.
To watch a complete re-broadcast of West Shamokin's 65-30 victory over Saltsburg, click the link below: