MECHANICSBURG - Two words have helped define the Loyalsock boys basketball season - composure and energy.
In Wednesday's second-round PIAA Class AA contest against Communications Tech, Loyalsock displayed both of those traits as it erased a 13-point deficit en route to a, 51-48, win at Cumberland Valley high school. Along with advancing Loyalsock to a Saturday contest against Trinity, the win also tied head coach Ron "CI" Insinger as the winningest coach in state history with 801 career wins.
"At halftime coach told us that we had been in this situation before and we needed to hold our composure and energy," Loyalsock guard Omar Little said. "We came out in the second half and played Loyalsock basketball. We just enjoyed it."
Loyalsock coach Ron Insinger, left, accepts congratulations from Loyalsock superintendent Robert Grantier Wednesday night at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg. At right is Insinger’s daughter Lori and grandson Grant. It was Insinger’s 801st career win with the team, tying a state record.
Loyalsock basketball consisted of 14 consecutive points to start the fourth quarter.
The surge, which gave Loyalsock (26-3) its first lead of the game since the first quarter, was sparked by the offensive efforts of Little, who had six of his quarter-high 10 points over the stretch, and Roger Wilson's defensive efforts. And as Little excelled on one end, Wilson blocked four shots and added a rebound to keep Comm Tech (20-8) off the board on the other end.
Wilson's final block came against Terrence Brown, who paced Comm Tech with 18 points, as he attempted to tie the game with a shot from the wing.
"It's very important," Wilson said. "Brown was their corner shooter and I blocked his shot and got everybody fired up. It's great."
"You just pray that it's something he's going to do, and he does," Insinger said of Wilson's defense. "He got a piece of a couple shots and what can you say. He's just a fabulous defensive player."
And with Wilson controlling Comm Tech on the offensive end, Little gave Loyalsock a 43-41 lead with a reverse layup through the defense. It was Loyalsock's first lead since it took a 3-2 advantage early.
The offense was led by Little's 20 points, 10 of which came over the final eight minutes as Loyalsock made its comeback.
"We work hard in practice and we deserve this," Little said. "We kept out composure and energy and we won the game."
It wasn't just his ability to score, either. Little twice found a streaking Ben Sosa for four quick points in the final quarter. Sosa finished with nine points, a block, and four rebounds.
"I just try and get my team going and get the rebound and run like they tell me," Sosa said. "We've been better with our composure. Coach just kept telling us to chip away and we did that."
Loyalsock's preface to Wednesday night was a historic PIAA win for coach Insinger. The 63-54 win to open the PIAA Class AA playoffs gave Insinger his history-making 800th win.
Insinger now sits at 801, with each win becoming more historic for the Lancers.
The first quarter of the game gave every indication of a blowout as Comm Tech ripped off 13 straight points to close it out. And just to add insult to what was already becoming an injury on the scoreboard, Keith Griffin banked in a 3-pointer as time expired for a 16-3 lead.
Over the run Loyalsock struggled with ball movement, rushing shots and committing four turnovers. David Johnson was a big factor with two blocked shots in the quarter. Samir Doughty also chipped in five points to go with four rebounds over the stretch.
"We just emphasized that they needed to play with more heart," Insinger said. "When you start playing with heart good things are going to happen."
In an effort to get his team back into the game, Little played inspired in the second quarter, scoring five points and pulling down two boards.
"He's just transformed into a truly great ball player," Insinger said of Little. "He's peaked at the right time. He's got his stuff together and knows what he has to do."
Loyalsock's offense finally got going after Wilson ended Comm Tech's second quarter run with a bucket underneath the basket for the team's first points of the quarter.
"What really helped us was our hustle," Wilson said. "We stepped up and got quick turnovers. That's what really helped us."
Kyle Datres 1 3-4 5; Mike Pastore 4 0-0 8; Ryan Bogzczyk 0 0-0 0; Omar Little 7 4-4 20; Roger Wilson 3 3-4 9; Jim Webb 0 0-0 0; Ben Sosa 4 1-2 9. Totals 19 11-14 51.
Comm Tech (48)
Briheam Anthony 1 0-0 2; David Johnson 2 0-0 5; Khall Hester 0 0-0 0; Hyking Brisbon Jr. 4 1-2 9; Terrence Brown 8 2-2 18; Samir Doughty 4 1-2 9; Vichon Adkins 0 0-0 0; Keith Griffin 1 0-0 3; Mohamed Sherif 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 4-6 48.
Loyalsock 3 16 14 18-51
Comm Tech 16 13 12 7-48
3-point goals: Loyalsock 2 (Little 2). Comm Tech 2 (Johnson, Griffin).
Records: Loyalsock 26-3. Comm Tech 20-8.
Next: Loyalsock vs. Trinity Saturday TBA.