Williamsport Area High School
Boys Varsity Basketball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Feb 2, 2023
- MILLIONAIRES: 68
SHAMOKIN AREA: 51
All for one and one for all: Williamsport boys continue playing excellent team basketball and defeat Shamokin
Williamsport missed a few second half shots Thursday night, but not many. The ball moved as fast as players did and the Millionaires continued producing quality, high-percentage shots. The points piled up and Williamsport stacked up another impressive win.
The Millionaires efficiently and unselfishly executed their offense, turned up the defense and ran away from Shamokin, winning 68-51 at the Magic Dome. Williamsport (12-4) dominated the final 18 minutes after trailing by nine in the second quarter, made 75 % of its second-half shots and won its fifth straight game.
George Whaley scored 21 points, Zach Lake a career-high 16 and both starters and reserves shined as Williamsport continued surging as the stretch run heats up. The Millionaires shot over 60 % for a second straight game, dealt 21 assists and now have 51 assists on 70 field goals over the last two games.
“Everyone is trying to share the wealth. We’re just trying to help each out and trying to win,” forward Caleb Fausnaught said after sharing game-high rebounding honors with eight. “We’re not trying to put up 20 or 25 points. Everyone is just trying to do whatever it takes to win.”
“We just keep getting better. When we have a lot of guys in double digits, that’s a beautiful thing,” Lake said. “We really don’t care who it is that is scoring. Whoever is clicking is clicking, and we just feed that person.”
The nice thing for Williamsport is that so many players are clicking and so many can be well fed each game. The Millionaires feature one of the deepest benches among area teams and that group has been as impressive as the starters at times. That was especially evident in the closing minutes of the second quarter when Williamsport went from nine down to being up, 33-32 at halftime.
From there, the Millionaires trailed just one more time and that was in the third quarter’s opening seconds. Williamsport is playing as one and working for the best shots. The inside-outside game is keeping defenses on their heels and Williamsport quickly adjusted any time Shamokin (13-5) switched defenses Thursday.
The result was a team which never experienced a lull after snapping out of its second quarter funk and which emphatically sealed the win with a 15-1 fourth quarter run.
“At any given time, someone can step up and make shots. Everybody is scoring and at different times. That’s a good thing and hopefully we’ll continue that,” Williamsport coach Allen Taylor said. “If we’re going to peak, we’re peaking at the right time. Things are starting to come together and we’re starting to execute a lot better at the end of the game, a lot better than in the past. We’re burning clock, shooting layups and making free throws.”
Williamsport used a 16-2 run to open a 13-point third quarter advantage, but Shamokin drained four 3-pointers bridging the third and fourth quarters to make it, 53-48 early in the fourth. As quick as Shamokin rallied, Williamsport answered and reversed the momentum. The Millionaires scored at will over the next five minutes and its eruption gave it a 68-49 lead when the starters exited. As a testament to the team’s execution, Williamsport made all eight shot attempts in the fourth quarter while building that 19-point cushion.
Conditioning and the strong bench play also loomed large in that decisive run. Jamaire Harden, Thomas Takach and Kyreek Bradshaw all excelled off the bench, providing production while also keeping the team fresh. So, when the game again grew tight, Williamsport had plenty left in the tank and landed a thunderous knockout blow against District 4’s Class AAAA leader.
“Coach just runs and runs us at practice. As much as we might hate it, in the fourth quarter it showed why we do it,” said Fausnaught who scored six points during the game-clinching run. “As the game goes on, we just get better and better. Our guys start clicking more and more. Their guys lose that step as we gain that step.”
Bradshaw features a tremendous first step and he was a big part of the second quarter push after Shamokin had gone up 23-14 with four minutes remaining in the half. The sophomore scored five first-half points and played a huge role when the Millionaires erased a six-point deficit in the half’s final 41 seconds.
During that pivotal time, Bradshaw converted a 3-point play and his last-second steal and dish to Jakiha Kline (9 points, 4 steals) gave Williamsport a 33-32 lead. Harden added four assists and Takach scored six points, including four in the second quarter, off the bench.
“We got some nice minutes from Kyreek Bradshaw who scored some buckets for us,” Taylor said. “He was really big for us.”
So were Whaley and Lake who both seemingly took over the game at different times. Whaley made a run at a triple-double, producing eight rebounds and seven assists to go along with his 21 points. He also played some of his best basketball at the most crucial time.
After Shamokin cut it to five in the fourth quarter, Whaley had a hand in seven quick points and Williamsport instantly changed the game’s complexion. First, Whaley found Caden Holt who drilled a clutch 3-pointer. Next, Whaley beat his defender to the basket for a layup and he then capped the flurry with a dish to Kline for a layup. Shamokin never threatened again.
“George is just George. In the open floor he’s dangerous,” Taylor said. “He’s very unselfish and he’s pretty much a jack of all trades.”
Lake plays a similar role and has played two of his best games in the last week. A guard who consistently stuffs the stat sheet and is among team leaders in assists, Lake both facilitated and ignited the offense against Shamokin. Lake went 7 for 10 from the field, made two 3-pointers at pivotal times and added four assists with two steals. Lake and Whaley combined for three 3-pointers early in the third quarter as the Millionaires started increasing the lead which eventually reached 13.
“I felt pretty confident. Again, that’s my teammates telling me to shoot the ball and showing they had the confidence in me,” Lake said. “Everyone is there for each other.”
That includes on defense. After Shamokin went up nine in the second quarter, Taylor switched to a press, and it paid immediate dividends. Williamsport forced five turnovers over the final four minutes and six more in the third quarter, turning that nine-point deficit into a 49-36 lead.
The Millionaires communicated well, harassed ball-handlers and quickly fought back after making the switch. Bradshaw’s steal and assist to Kline at the buzzer punctuated how the game was changing and how it would continue evolving over the next 16 minutes. Fresh and playing as one, Williamsport made more than 50 % of its shots each quarter and took another step forward.
“We have so many legs on our team that we just rotate guys in and out,” Fausnaught said. “We don’t lose a step, not for a second.”
Joe Hile 6 2-2 15, Case Lichty 6 1-2 16, Jenssyn Shuey 2 3-4 7, Cameron Annis 3 0-0 9, Rylan Price 1 0-0 2, Brett Nye 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 6-8 51.
George Whaley 9 1-2 21, Jakiha Kline 4 1-2 9, Caleb Fausnaught 3 0-0 6, Zach Lake 7 0-0 16, Caden Holt 2 0-0 5, Jamaire Harden 0 0-0 0, Thomas Takach 3 0-0 6, Kyreek Bradshaw 2 1-1 5. Totals 30 3-5 68.
Shamokin 13 19 10 9-51
Williamsport 14 19 18 17-68
3-pointers: Shamokin 7 (Lichty 3, Annis 3, Hile); Williamsport 5 (Whaley 2, Lake 2, Holt).
Records: Williamsport 12-4. Shamokin 13-5.