Ross’ scoring outburst leads Lancers over the Bulldogs

KATELYN HIBBARD/Sun-Gazette
Gerald Ross of Loyalsock looks down at a loose ball Monday at Jersey Shore. At left is Jersey Shore’s Nate Ewing.

KATELYN HIBBARD/Sun-Gazette Gerald Ross of Loyalsock looks down at a loose ball Monday at Jersey Shore. At left is Jersey Shore’s Nate Ewing.

JERSEY SHORE — Gerald Ross II put together a decorated scholastic and collegiate career, becoming a 1,000-point scorer at Susquehanna University.

Gerald Ross III is impersonating his father quite well at Loyalsock these days. And when it comes to 1-on-1 games, son has it all over his father.

“We used to play but he’s getting a little old now. He can’t hang,” Ross III said. “Maybe if the games are to two or three he can. I ask him if he wants to play and he tells me, ‘I’m too tired.’ I’ve got him now.”

Ross sure had Jersey Shore Monday night, too.

Ross scored 33 points, grabbed six rebounds, dealt four assists and made three steals while helping power Loyalsock to a 67-54 win at Jersey Shore. Ross unloaded his entire arsenal and was unstoppable at times, scoring 18 points in the game’s first 9:40 as the Lancers (14-5) took a 20-point lead. It was the second time this season Ross topped 30 points after he scored a career-high 35 last December against Southern Columbia.

“He basically put on a clinic and that’s what we need from him day in and day out,” Loyal­sock coach Ron Insinger said. “Most of the times he’s the best basketball player on the floor. There have been games he hasn’t shown that and, unfortunately, those are the games we’ve lost.”

One of the most painful came Saturday when rival Montours­ville rallied in the final minute and defeated Loyalsock, 42-36. Ross was not about to let history repeat itself Monday and immediately put his stamp on the game. After Mitch Klingerman scored seven points in the first 90 seconds, Ross took over and scored just about any way he wanted. The sweet-shooting, strong ball-handling junior had 13 points after the first quarter as Loyalsock built a 26-13 lead. He then drained a quick 3-pointer and connected on a pull-up jumper that made it 33-13 less than two minutes into the second quarter.

Jersey Shore (9-11) fought hard and battled back, but never pulled closer than nine the rest of the way. Every time Jersey Shore made a run, Ross always was there to stop it, scoring 10 more points in the third and five more in the fourth. The three-year starter also passed the ball well and his quick assist to Anthony Pastore (5 rebounds) and ensuing 3-point play pushed Loyalsock’s lead to 16 early in the fourth.

“It (the basket) looked huge,” Ross said. “I shot a baseline jump shot and I didn’t even jump. My arms were heavy and it still went in. It was like, ‘wow, it’s just that night.'”

Junior Armstrong had one of those nights in the middle quarters, scoring 18 of his points and bringing Jersey Shore back. The senior guard recorded his third straight double-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, while constantly hurting Loyalsock going to the basket. Armstrong scored 12 third-quarter points and pulled Jersey Shore within 47-38 late in the third quarter.

When Loyalsock focused a lot of resources on slowing Armstrong in the second half, Nate Ewing took over. The sophomore guard hit four 3-pointers, most from NBA-range, and finished with 20 points and six rebounds. Ewing scored seven fourth-quarter points and twice cut the deficit to 10 in the last three minutes, but the Bulldogs could not complete the comeback.

“This is my favorite group of guys that I’ve coached. They’re a tight-knit group. They have talent. They play well as a team and they like each other,” Jersey Shore coach Scott Munro said. “It’s a great group to coach, but they’re also infuriating because I know we can be so much more than what we are. It’s just focus. If we could ever focus for four quarters in a row we’d be dangerous.”

Jersey Shore has proven that throughout the season and is second in the HAC-I, beating teams like Shikellamy (twice), Selinsgrove, Shamokin and taking HAC-II champion Danville to overtime. But the Bulldogs also have been wildly inconsistent at times and turned the ball over 24 times against Loyalsock. The Bulldogs can guarantee themselves a District 4 Class AAAA playoff berth if they win their last two games. Even if it splits those games, Jersey Shore might still advance if they crack the top eight and could be a potential tough out.

“If we can get in we can be dangerous,” Munro said. “We’d have a shot against anybody. I’d like to get a shot at it and get in and see what happens because we have some talent.”

So does Loyalsock, which had an answer each time Jersey Shore rallied and seemed ready to make the game really close. Klingerman played a solid all-around game, finishing with five steals and four assists. Brandon Bauman also had four assists and Pastore scored five crucial fourth-quarter points.

Ross clinched the game in the final minute when he went underneath the basket along the baseline, came out on the other side and hit a pretty reverse. It was a fitting end to a game that Ross owned like he was playing against his father in the driveway.

“Saturday I didn’t play too well and I thought I owed my team a good game,” Ross said. “I thought some of that game was on me and I wanted to take responsibility and sell out tonight.”

LOYALSOCK (67)

Gerald Ross 13 3-5 33, Anthony Pastore 2 2-4 7, Connor Watkins 2 2-2 6, Mitch Klingerman 4 0-0 9, Brandon Bauman 2 0-0 4, Bam Brima 0 0-0 0, Aiden Gair 1 2-2 5, Collin Graver 1 1-2 3. Totals 25 10-15 67.

JERSEY SHORE (54)

Junior Armstrong 8 6-9 22, Nate Ewing 8 0-1 20, Jay Dincher 3 0-0 6, Cody Stetts 0 1-2 1, Tanner Lorson 1 0-2 2, Hunter Frantz 1 1-2 3, Darren Stetts 0 0-0 0, Kevin Titus 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 8-16 54.

Loyalsock 26 9 14 18–67

Jersey Shore 13 8 19 14–54

3-pointers: Loyalsock 7 (Ross 4, Pastore, Klingmerman, Gair); Jersey Shore 4 (Ewing 4).

Records: Loyalsock 14-5. Jersey Shore 9-12.

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