Any time Ben Sosa took a breather, Roger Wilson found him. Any time Sosa sat, Wilson talked.
A few years ago, Wilson was the young but raw player with tremendous upside. Sosa plays that role now. Wilson has become a senior leader and one of the area's best inside players. He is doing everything possible to make sure Sosa does the same.
Together, that inside duo was outstanding against Southern Columbia.
Wilson scored a game-high 21 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked four shots while Sosa had 12 points and seven rebounds as Loyalsock romped to a 76-39 win in a rematch of last year's District 4 Class AA championship.
"Roger was giving Ben tips and everything was positive and that was a plus," Loyalsock coach Ron Insinger said. "He was giving him little tips that are going to assist him down the road and make him a better player. The good thing is Ben hears him, listens to him and respects what he says."
He should since Wilson has made terrific strides the last two seasons. Wilson came up huge late last season when Loyalsock needed him most and helped the Lancers (4-0, 2-0 HAC-II) win the District 4 Class AA championship. He has looked even better in his senior season.
Wilson nearly had a double-double by halftime and was a force on both ends. He grabbed eight rebounds in the first quarter, made Southern think twice about dribbling into the paint and recorded his fourth straight double-double.
"Roger is a role model for the rest of the guys," Insinger said. "He's a senior that everyone is looking up to and they respect what he does. What he does is what they are going to follow."
"Talking really isn't my thing. That's Ryan (Bogaczyk's) job but I will lead by example," Wilson said. "I tell Ben if you want to work with me that's great and watch how it is now because this is how you're going to have to have it next year."
Sosa is listening and delivering. Only a sophomore, Sosa is up and down at times but could develop into a force. He is tall, strong, fast and can run the court like a guard. The first-time starter scored a career-high 17 points in the season opener and has the potential to be quite a player if he builds off a solid start. He could become another weapon for a team that is hoping to make a lot of postseason noise.
It took only four minutes into the third quarter last night for Sosa to show everything he can do. A valuable reserve last year, Sosa scored five points, grabbed four rebounds, blocked a shot and made a steal during that span. He made one of the game's best plays when he made a steal near the sideline, saved the ball from going out of bounds and made a nice pass to Kyle Datres for a layup.
"I think I've gotten better and I just have to keep working. Nothing is good enough. I just have to keep improving," Sosa said. "I just have to keep working. I can't just stop. I just have to go in the gym, work hard and keep getting better."
"Ben is coming along great," Wilson said. "I wouldn't have anybody else out there."
Datres was outstanding, dealing a game-high 12 assists. The sophomore guard topped 10 assists for a third time and displayed excellent vision while efficiently running the offense. Omar Little added 10 points and Mike Pastore scored 12 points off the bench.
Pastore was part of a six-man bench that played well and gave Insinger the luxury of resting his starters for extended stretches, important since Loyalsock travels to Shikellamy this afternoon. All six players scored and those players sparked a 7-0 run to end the half and give Loyalsock a 36-18 halftime lead. Bogaczyk played his most minutes this season and was solid, scoring four points, dealing four assists and adding two steals.
Sophomore Luke Glavin played his best game and made four steals while Tommy Baggett added four points and three assists.
"The bench is helping a lot," Sosa said. "They are coming off and giving, good hard minutes and that's all we ask of them."
Loyalsock never trailed and opened a 21-8 first-quarter lead. Southern pulled within single digits just once more in the second quarter before the Lancer reserves started breaking it open. The Lancers begin enter the second part of a tough stretch today against last year's District 4 Class AAA finalist. It continues next week at the State College Christmas Tournament.
Bryce Parry 5 1-4 11, Matt Klock 3 7-10 13, Mike Klebon 1 4-4 7, Joe Kleman 0 0-0 0, Taylor Young 2 2-7 6, Kyle Mostik 0 2-2 2, Chris Woods 0 0-0 0, Cody Olson 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 16-29 39.
Kyle Datres 2 0-1 4, Omar Little 4 2-2 10, Roger Wilson 9 3-7 21, Ben Sosa 4 4-8 12, Jimmy Webb 1 0-2 3, Mike Pastore 5 1-2 12, Ryan Bogaczyk 2 0-0 4, Luke Glavin 1 0-0 2, Wes LaPoint 1 0-0 2, Tommy Baggett 0 4-6 4, Josh Howell 1 0-0 2. Totals 30 14-28 76.
Southern8 10 10 11-39
Loyalsock21 15 16 24-76
3-pointers: Southern 2 (Klock, Klebon); Loyalsock 2 (Webb, Pastore).
Records: Loyalsock 4-0, 2-0 HAC-II. Southern 1-1, 1-1.
JV Score: Loyalsock 81-41.