Loyalsock's pint-sized guard Mike Pastore proved to be quite a handful for Southern Columbia on Friday night. The junior guard listed at 5-foot-8 was a headache for the Tigers' defense whether he was hitting shots from 3-point range, mid-range or driving inside the paint for easy baskets, despite giving up several inches.
He finished with a game-high and season-high 22 points as the Lancers rolled to their fifth consecutive victory to start the season, 92-65 win over the Tigers.
"There's not a kid that is tougher in the area pound for pound," Loyalsock coach Ron Insinger said. "He goes from baseline to baseline and sideline to sideline as hard as anyone."
The relentless Pastore scored 11 of his 22 points, which were also a career high, in the second quarter when the Lancers outscored the visiting Tigers, 33-17, after leading by just a point after one quarter. Pastore entered last night's game averaging nine points a game, but reached double figures with 2:51 remaining in the first half against the Tigers. He hit two 3-pointers before the half and when the Southern defense pushed out to take away the outside shot, Pastore slithered his way inside and found a way to contort his body to finish over taller defenders.
The Lancers led by just seven points with under three minutes remaining in the second quarter, but scored 10 consecutive points to take a comfortable 17-point lead into the break.
Pastore scored five points and assisted on an Omar Little bucket during the late second-quarter run before "Lancer Lightning" also showed it can execute a half-court set when needed. With under one minute remaining in the first half, Loyalsock went to its four-corner offense and with Insinger reminding his team their clock situation the Lancers went to work with around 20 seconds on the clock. Pastore first broke down the defense with his dribble before dumping a pass to Ben Sosa on the block. Sosa quickly moved the ball one more time with an interior pass to the opposing block and to Luke Glavin who calmly hit the final basket of the first half for a 54-37 lead.
"When we work the ball and move it around, it is really fun," Pastore said. "When we play like that, it is unstoppable."
The final first-half basket and the opening tip where Sosa tapped the ball to Kyle Datres who then delivered a pass to a streaking Little for the game's first two points showed the unselfishness of the defending District 4 Class AA champions.
Five players reached double figures against the Tigers. Besides Pastore's 22, Datres added 15, Sosa 14 and Little and Wes LaPoint each 11.
"Our objective was to slow down the pace of the game and try to slow them down because they get up and down the floor so well," Southern Columbia coach Joe Britto said. "They spread the floor real well and then shoot it well and No. 31 (Sosa) was getting to the block sometimes before some of my guys crossed halfcourt."
Datres (3), Tommy Baggett (3), who finished with nine points, and Pastore (2) combined for eight 3-pointers - seven in the opening half.
"Hitting the 3's gave us a lot of confidence," Pastore said. "Once we knew we could hit the 3's, it opened up the lane to the basket because they had to come out on us."
Mike Klebon led the Tigers with 19 points, including 10 in the third quarter. He attempted to keep Southern in the game heading into the final quarter, but Loyalsock closed the third with a 12-2 run to push its lead to 22 points, and just two minutes into the fourth quarter Loyalsock starters began to exit including Pastore with 5:46 remaining.
Southern Columbia (65)
Walker Palacz 2 1-2 5, Mike Klebon 7 2-3 19, Kyle Mastik 3 0-0 7, Luke Rarig 5 0-0 10, Cody Olson 2 0-0 4, Doug Michaels 4 0-0 8, Ken Fegley 0 2-4 2, Dave Brokus 3 0-0 6, Brandon Ciocco 1 0-0 2, Tyler Keiser 0 0-0 0, John Gennario 1 0-0 2, Drew Michaels 0 0-0 0, Sydney Damgaard 0 0-0 0. Totals: 28 5-9 65.
Luke Glavin 2 0-2 4, Tommy Baggett 3 0-0 9, Kyle Datres 6 0-0 15, Saabir Gibson 2 0-0 4, Mike Pastore 10 0-1 22, Cory Young 0 0-0 0, Omar Little 5 1-2 11, Ryan Loeh 1 0-2 2, Brennan Casale 0 0-0 0, Ben Sosa 5 4-8 14, Wes LaPoint 3 5-5 11. Totals: 37 10-20 92.
Southern20 17 18 10 - 65
Loyalsock21 33 23 15 - 92
3-point goals: Southern 4 (Klebon 3, Mastik). Loyalsock 8 (Baggett 3, Datres 3, Pastore 2).
JV score: Loyalsock 63-45.
Records: Loyalsock 5-0, 3-0 HAC-II, Southern 2-2, 2-1. Next: Loyalsock at Jersey Shore, Mon.