At first glance, Paige Packer might not be that intimidating.
She is one of the shortest girls on Jersey Shore's roster, and even her teammates aren't afraid to remind her.
In Wednesday's home opener, Packer played with the sort of intensity expected of a small player. It was just where she played with that intensity that had fans cheering.
Packer pulled down six rebounds and scored a basket in the final minute as Jersey Shore defeated South Williamsport, 35-30. It was the Bulldogs third consecutive win to open the season and their first win over the Mountaineers in 10 years.
"Everybody on the team says I'm really short," Packer said. "I love down low and if I was taller I'd definitely be a post player. I enjoy getting the ball and watching the other team's faces wondering where I came from."
The look on South Williamsport's faces after Packer drove through the lane, grabbed a rebound and finished with a putback was one of sheer disbelief.
The basket, which came in the final minute of the game, gave Jersey Shore (3-0) a 33-28 lead. And from that point on, it was all about Packer's tenacious play underneath. The undersized junior posted five of her six rebounds in the final quarter.
"It felt so good when I made the shot," Packer said. "I feel just great."
South Williamsport (0-1) scored on its next possession, but once it was forced to foul, Packer and the rest of the Bulldogs, which grabbed 43 rebounds, took control of the paint.
Courtney Smith was another big presence inside the paint and led all Jersey Shore players with 10 rebounds.
"Giving up second and third opportunities just hurt us," South coach Mike Allison said. "Even at the end they missed some foul shots and we just couldn't get a rebound."
Jersey Shore opened the game with 10 consecutive missed shots before Kayla Allen, who led the team with 12 points, buried a 3-pointer to cut South Williamsport's lead to 6-3.
The offensive struggles then started to multiply when Holly Peacock picked up her second foul. After sitting for the remainder of the first quarter, Peacock picked up her third at the start of the second.
"The coaches had to do what they had to do," Peacock said of sitting the remainder of the second quarter. "I got into foul trouble early in the game, but it's good to know that there are girls on the bench that can play up to their role. I feel confident that even if I'm sitting they'll come in and play just as good, if not better."
Smith was there to pick up the slack, scoring six consecutive points as Jersey Shore took an 18-17 lead into halftime.
Peacock returned in the third quarter to score four points. In limited minutes, she finished with six points.
"I don't think about fouls or points or scores when I'm on the court," Peacock said.
Jennifer Jackson led South Williamsport with 13 points.
South Williamsport (30)
Jordan Boehmer 0 0-0 0; Megan Allison 0 0-0 0; Alysha Ardell 0 0-0 0; Gabby Burch 0 0-0 0; Jennifer Jackson 4 4-6 13; Anne Steer 4 0-0 8; Kalynn Wheeland 0 0-0 0; Sarah March 1 1-2 3; Alisha Wein 2 0-0 5; Alana Stugart 0 0-0 0; Roxie Keller 0 1-2 1; Bettina Peluso 0 0-0 0; Liz Cummings 0 0-0 0; Kelsey Gantz 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 6-10 30.
Jersey Shore (35)
Elizabeth Deuel 0 0-0 0; Kayla Allen 3 5-8 12; Holly Peacock 3 0-2 6; Sara Danley 2 2-2 6; Erin Engle 0 0-0 0; Courtney Morlock 0 0-0 0; Courtney Smith 3 0-0 6; Morgan Keller 0 1-2 1; Paige Packer 2 0-0 4; Grace Naehu 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 8-14 35.
South Williamsport 10 7 8 5-30
Jersey Shore 6 12 10 7-35
3-point goals: South Williamsport: 2 (Jackson, Wein). Jersey Shore 1 (Allen).
Records: Jersey Shore 3-0. South Williamsport 0-1. Next: Southern Columbia at South Williamsport, Monday, 7:30 p.m. Bellefonte at Jersey Shore, Monday, 7:30 p.m.
JV Score: Jersey Shore 44-29
High scorers: Liz Cummings and Kelsey Gantz, SW, 13; Isabella Bubb, JS, 11.