Boos and taunts reigning down, emotions running high and physical play going on all around, Muncy forward Dawson Fox never changed his expression. Nothing anyone said or did could faze him.
Fox looked and played like an iceman Friday night at South Williamsport. He scored a career-high 22 points, grabbed six rebounds and dealt five assists as Muncy beat the Mounties, 66-57, and won there for the first time in five years. Fox was a force in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 consecutive points and helping Muncy (4-1, 2-0 HAC-III) win its fourth straight following a 17-day layoff.
"We hadn't played in 17 days and that was hard to get back into but our team feeds off other teams' reactions so if we see a weakness we go after it," Fox said. "If I'm getting assists, steals...it doesn't matter. Any way I can help the team win is what I want to do."
Muncy’s Dawson Fox, left, shoots over South Williamsport’s Brock Jones, center, on Friday night at South Williamsport. Muncy’s Nick Ring (50) attempts to get into position for a rebound. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com
"Dawson has definitely matured," Muncy coach Jason Gresh said. "You can see it on the court, you can see it in his body language. Last year he would have been freaking out in that spot, but tonight he was pretty calm and collected."
Fox, a three-sport athlete, helped Muncy reach states last year and is averaging 17 points thus far this year. Just like in baseball where he plays multiple positions, Fox does a little bit of everything and can play just about anywhere.
A year ago, Muncy did not have much size so Fox played center. Growing up, he was not tall so he played guard and became a good ball-handler, passer and shooter. Nick Ring's emergence at center has allowed Fox to move to forward and he also brings the ball upcourt at times and his repertoire is quite dangerous now. Through the first three quarters, Fox facilitated the offense with his five assists.
In the fourth quarter, Fox was the offense. Fox, who hit a half-court buzzer-beater to end the first quarter, scored all of Muncy's points until only 7.9 seconds remained. He aggressively attacking the basket, hit foul shots and converted a reverse layup that clinched the win with a minute remaining after South had pulled within six 40 seconds earlier.
"You have to stay behind your teammates. You just have to tell everyone to have a short memory," Fox said. "I like playing the swingman role. It's nice not having to deal with the big guys all the time."
Muncy trailed by six early in the second quarter but closed the half on a 17-8 run, took a six-point lead and never trailed again. The game's pivotal stretch came in the third quarter after South (3-5, 1-1) had scored six straight points and tied it. Muncy needed only 2:30 to change everything, go on a 12-0 run and take control.
The Indians had four players score in double figures and Ring recorded his fifth straight double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Billy Kolletzki scored 17 points in his first game back after spraining an ankle and Teddy Clark scored 11 points, grabbed five rebounds and made four steals. Ammar Sabanovic added six assists and all those players made key plays during that key third-quarter run.
"It doesn't matter who you go to. Jeff (Scott) gave us big minutes off the bench. Ted played great defense and Billy hasn't played in a month and that was big for him to come back and was his best game of the season," Gresh said. "It doesn't matter who it is. Somebody steps up and that's what happened tonight."
The game was marred by inconsistent officiating on both sides and South was dealt a huge blow in the fourth quarter when Riley Hengler picked up his fifth foul despite playing clean defense 30 feet from the basket. Ring fouled out a minute later despite standing straight up on an inside play and not making contact. Hengler was tough to stop in the second half, scoring 13 of his 16 points, and had helped South pull within 55-51 when he was hit with his fifth foul with 3:20 remaining.
Hengler was on the bench when Muncy made its 12-0 third-quarter run since he had three fouls but when he returned he scored a quick eight points and made it a seven-point game entering the fourth quarter. Alex Kita also played well, scoring 16 points and making all four fourth-quarter shots.
"Riley is starting to realize and embrace that role a little more. Riley has to be our leader on the floor. When Riley is on the floor he has to make the boat go and the last couple games in spurts he's done a real nice job of that," South coach Matt Fisher said. "Alex Kita the last few games has really settled into what we need him to do and Cody Nelson is coming on strong."
Brock Jones added 10 points and six rebounds for South.
Ammar Sabanovic 2 1-2 5, Nick Ring 5 1-1 11, Dawson Fox 5 11-16 22, Billy Kolletzki 5 4-8 17, Teddy Clark 5 1-2 11, Jeff Scott 0 0-2 0. Totals 22 17-31 66.
Riley Hengler 6 3-4 16, Brock Jones 4 2-3 10, Alex Kita 7 0-0 16, Sean McCormick 2 0-0 4, Tyler Schonewolf 0 1-3 1, Billy Rummings 1 0-0 2, Eric English 2 0-0 4, Cody Nelson 2 0-0 4, Riley Thomas 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 6-10 57.
Muncy14 18 19 15-66
South15 11 18 13-57
3-pointers: Muncy 4 (Kolletzki 3, Fox); South 3 (Kita 2, Hengler).
Records: Muncy 4-1, 2-0 HAC-III. South 3-5, 1-1.