He did not know he achieved something rare and he did not care. Sullivan County forward Conner Wylie attempted 12 shots from the field and foul line Tuesday at South Williamsport and did not miss any. He scored a career-high 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
It did not matter that he was just about perfect in all areas. Wylie simply was happy his team won and that it collectively played a near perfect game. That is the kind of attitude that helped Sullivan capture its first league and district championships last year. It is that kind of attitude that has the Griffins undefeated early in its title defenses.
Sullivan dominated all facets at a gym that has notoriously given it fits, hit 58 percent of its shots and received contributions from everyone that played as it thumped South, 78-53 in a showdown between two of the HAC-III's reigning champions.
"I really don't try and keep track in my mind, I just try to play hard and most of that (scoring) was coming off of great passes from teammates," Wylie said. "No one on our team is a star. We all try to help each other out. We're all unselfish and we all want to win."
"It's nice when everyone is devoted to doing what needs to be done," said guard Lucas Hatton, who played stifling defense, dealt eight assists and scored six points. "It's not, 'I'm going to do this and shine.' It's, 'I'm going to do this to help the team or the team will do this to help everyone else.' It's always what we can do to get better."
If Sullivan (4-0) uses Tuesday night as a springboard and continues to get better it could be a force. Kelby Mullen scored 20 points, made three steals and was brilliant while attacking the basket. Derek Wilkins had 11 points and six rebounds, Zach Meyer played a good all-around game and reserves like Sean Flannery, Adam Szklanka and Bob Polcrack were terrific off the bench. All the pieces were there and Sullivan put everything together at a place its four seniors had never won.
The Griffins built a 25-10 first-quarter lead that was never seriously threatened and led by as many as 29 in the fourth quarter. The first quarter was about as close to perfection as a team can get. Sullivan hit 10 of 13 shots from the field, made all four free throws and had seven players score, doing damage inside and outside.
"Our whole mindset coming into tonight was we needed to make sure we brought more energy than them because we've come here three straight years and just gotten outhustled and outfought and tonight I have four seniors that had never won here and that provided some extra motivation for them to step on the floor and I could see it right away from the start of practice (Monday)," Sullivan coach Glenn Vaughan said. "South has a nice team, but the energy that we brought right from the top was a big difference."
South (1-4) has only one varsity player from last year and has endured a brutal four-game stretch against more experienced teams that are a combined 15-1. The Mounties pulled within eight a few times in the second quarter, but Sullivan increased the lead to 38-25 at halftime and a 9-0 run early in the third quarter was a devastating blow.
"The scoreboard doesn't reflect the beating we took," South coach Matt Fisher said. "They handed it to us in every facet and they are a great team and we have to find a way. We have so many question marks."
Riley Hengler scored 14 points and had three assists while Brock Jones (11) and Alex Kita (10) combined for 21 points. But Sullivan consistently broke down South's defense and scored at will, outscoring the Mounties, 23-11 in the third quarter.
"We are better than what we showed tonight," Fisher said. "We have the pieces to do well, but we can't seem to get our pieces to connect on the same night."
Sullivan had them all perfectly working together. Wylie and Hatton were the sixth and seventh players off the bench last year but showed how far they have come. Wylie was unstoppable at times inside, while Hatton opened the game with three assists and had five of his eight in the first quarter.
Sullivan made its first eight shots from the field and the line and all five starters had scored midway through the first quarter. Flannery scored a career-high eight points and made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the quarter. He and Szklanka made 3 of 4 3-point attempts and provided the depth that could make Sullivan especially tough as the season progresses.
"This isn't our best game. It's nice to be playing like this now but we definitely have room for improvement," Hatton said. "There's so much more we can get better at. We have so much more to do. This is a nice start, but we're just getting the stone rolling now."
Kelby Mullen 7 6-8 20, Zach Meyer 2 2-2 7, Derek Wilkins 4 3-4 11, Conner Wylie 6 6-6 18, Lucas Hatton 2 2-2 6, Bob Polcrack 1 0-0 3, Sean Flannery 2 2-2 8, Adam Szklanka 1 0-0 3, Jordan Beinlich 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 21-24 78.
Riley Hengler 6 2-2 14, Brock Jones 3 5-5 11, Sean McCormick 2 0-0 4, Tyler Schonewolf 1 0-0 2, Alex Kita 4 0-0 10, Billy Rummings 1 0-0 2, Eric English 3 0-0 6, Cody Nelson 1 2-2 4, Riley Thomas 0 0-0 0, Devin Gordon 0 1-2 1. 20 10-11 53.
Sullivan25 13 23 17-78
South10 15 11 17-53
3-pointers: Sullivan 5 (Flannery 2, Meyer, Polcrack, Szklanka); South 2 (Kita 2).
Records: Sullivan 4-0, 1-0 HAC-III. South 1-4, 0-1.
JV Score: Sullivan 52-43.