Loyalsock coach Ron Insinger has coached nearly 1,100 games, he has coached district champions and he has coached all-state players. But Insinger knows that his current team might have the best trio of guards that he has ever coached and maybe among the best three in the whole state. And the "Big 3" were in full display Saturday night.
Mike Pastore and Omar Little combined for 44 points and Kyle Datres had 11 assists as Loyalsock defeated Sankofa Freedom Academy, 75-61 Saturday night in the Williamsport High School showcase.
"I take pride in having three outstanding guards," said Insinger. "You know, I'm not so sure that there's a team in the state that has three better guards than what we have. They're just solid from top to bottom."
Mike Pastore of Loyalsock passes around Sankofa’s Nasir Johnson Saturday night at Williamsport.
They were certainly solid Saturday night as Mike Pastore led the way with 23 points, adding five rebounds and two assists. Pastore is usually a perimeter-oriented guard, but against Sankofa he was getting into the paint at will, as he finished at the rim or got fouled in the process as he finished with 11 free throw attempts.
Little was held scoreless in the first quarter but he came out in the second with consecutive and-ones and didn't slow down as he finished with 21 points and four rebounds. He used an array of skills to score whether it was a hard-drive to the basket, a tough mid-range fadeaway or a shot from three.
Datres was an all-state point guard on one of the state's better teams last season and he showcased those same skills Saturday night. Datres finished with six points and 11 assists. It was the fourth time this season that Datres has had at least 10 assists. Datres made life easier for his coach and made life easier for his teammates, finding them whenever they were opened.
"I know that my teammates can put the ball in the hoop when they're given the opportunity," said Datres. "I know that I can see the floor well and try to set them up as much as possible."
"He's a leader on the football field and he picks up where he left off on the basketball court," Insinger said of Datres, "He's just like having an assistant coach on the floor. He has good instincts and he knows the game well enough to make moves and he can make switches without us telling him."
The guard play was huge for the Lancers, but it also received a big lift from forward Ben Sosa, (17 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals), who was on the receiving end of many Datres assists.
"He's a student of the game and he's a sponge, whatever we tell him he absorbeds," said Insinger. "He hears and listens to our instructions and he responds positively."
Tommy Baggett (8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists), also played well for Loyalsock as he pressured the Sankofa guards all night and helped force 14 turnovers.
Loyalsock received strong contributions from its whole lineup and if they continue to play this well, this team will be hard to stop.
"Well, we all work together and move the ball around and it's really difficult for teams to stop all of us," said Pastore. "They have to worry about not one of us, but us as a unit and when we just move the ball like that we can score at will."
Sankofa Freedom Academy (61)
Anthony Wright 10 9-13 31, Luis Martinez 4 3-3 12, Stephon Brant 1 0-0 3, Drew Jones 0 1-2 1, Nasir Johnson 1 0-0 2, Braheem Bey 0 0-2 0, Justin Anson 1 0-0 2, Rashawn Ladson 1 0-0 2, Naseem Brown 4 0-0 8. Totals 22 13-20 61.
Omar Little 8 4-7 21, Tommy Baggett 3 2-4 8, Kyle Datres 3 0-1 6, Mike Pastore 7 7-11 23, Ben Sosa 7 3-5 17, Brennan Casale 0 0-0 0, Wes LaPoint 0 0-0 0, Luke Glavin 0 0-0 0, Sabbir Gibson 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 16-28 75.
Sankofa 12 15 17 17- 61
Loyalsock 18 19 18 20- 75
3-point goals: Sankofa 4 (Wright 2, Martinez, Brant); Loyalsock 3 (Pastore 2, Little)
Record: Loyalsock (11-1)
Next game: Loyalsock at Central Columbia (Tue.)