Hollidaysburg coach Mick Pentoney shouted to his team in the second quarter, "Let him shoot!"
"Him" being Williamsport senior and Penn State-bound guard Isaiah Washington.
Bad move, coach.
Nyric Gosley of Williamsport shoots over Hollidaysburg’s Jesse O’Haway Wednesday night at Williamsport High School. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com
Washington scored the next 11 Williamsport points as the Millionaires went on to defeat the Golden Tigers 49-37 at the Magic Dome Wednesday night.
Washington had struggled up until coach Pentoney's faulty command. Washington was 2 for 6 from the field and looked uncomfortable at times, but all he needed was a little motivation from the opposing coach.
"Starting the game you never make every single shot, but once I'm in a rhythm I'm rolling a lot more," said Washington. "I always try to use different things that just, motivation I guess to play hard and keep doing what I do, so I'm sure it played a part."
Washington finished with 27 points, five rebounds and three steals. With his 27 points, Washington moved into fourth place on the Williamsport all-time scoring list passing Jason Bullock, who had 1,192 points.
Washington was forcing shots and not attacking the rim in the first quarter and settled for three-pointers. But as the game went on, he found holes in the Golden Eagles 2-3 defense and was able to attack the rim and get easy shots including a high-flying dunk over a Hollidaysburg defender.
Washington didn't carry the scoring load alone. Guard Maleak Benjamin continued his strong play, pitching in 15 points, three rebounds and two big blocks.
"I feel though if I see Isaiah isn't starting off good I should start scoring," said Benjamin. "If he's out of the games, then it's time for me to start doing my job."
Benjamin has been doing his job as of late, being a reliable second option and helping Williamsport win five of its last six games.
Washington and Benjamin scored all of Williamsport's 23 first half points, and led the Millionaires to a 10 point halftime lead.
Williamsport also received solid contributions from point guard Nyric Gosley (4 points, 5 assists) and forward Jed Chestnut who started in place for the injured Tyler Gardner.
Williamsport struggled in the first and third quarters, as it scored a combined 17 points but picked up the defense and offense in the second and fourth quarters, scoring 32 points and holding Hollidaysburg to a combined 16 points.
"It's just a matter of switching up the lineups and trying to find the right chemistry," said Williamsport coach Allen Taylor. "The first five I was going with, was almost a traditional four, five, but we needed to get a little bit more guard pressure out there because they were playing with almost four guards. So the small lineup allowed us to get out in the passing lanes and put more ball pressure and we were able to turn them over and get out in transition."
The use of small ball for the Millionaires allowed it to pressure the ball handlers and double-down on Hollidaysburg 6-7 center Jesse O'Haway who finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Williamsport forced 19 turnovers and guards Gosley, James Earle (4 rebounds) and Brice Harris (3 rebounds, 3 assists) all put intense pressure on the ball handler and made it difficult for the inbounder to find the open man.
"They're stepping up," Washington said of his teammates. "Like me and coach are always telling them, it's someone's time to step up and I think that they were able to bring that today."
Max Sheetz 1 0-0 2, Ryan Adams 6 2-2 14, Nick Consigllo 1 1-1 3, DeAndre Mason 0 0-0 0, Jesse O'Haway 7 0-2 14, David Snyder 1 0-0 3, Jacob Holsopple 0 1-3 1, Zach Viduya 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 4-8 37.
Isaiah Washington 10 6-8 27, Maleak Benjamin 6 0-1 15, Nyric Gosley 2 0-0 4, James Earle 0 0-0 0, James Chestnut 1 0-2 2, Jamir Smith 0 1-2 1, Shadale Harman 0 0-0 0, Brice Harris 0 0-0 0, Greg Johnson 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 7-13 49.
Hollidaysburg 9 4 12 12- 37
Williamsport 9 14 8 18- 49
3-point goals: Hollidaysburg 1 (Snyder); Williamsport 4 (Benjamin 3, Washington 1)
Records: Williamsport (6-5). Next game:?Central at Williamsport, Saturday