By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
DANVILLE -- If and when Danville coach Steve Moser decides to retire, he can have a career as a meteorologist.
Moser, in his seventh season as the Ironmen head coach, has a better percentage of predictions than the local TV forecasters have had for snowfall totals this season.
With Danville leading Shamokin 29-17 at the break in a battle for the Heartland Athletic Conference Division I, Moser knew what his team would face at the start of the third quarter.
"I told the girls in the locker room that we had to weather the first five minutes of the quarter as Shamokin was going to come at us and come at us they did," he said.
The Indians (12-11, 9-5 HAC-I) went on a 9-0 run -- keyed by a 3-point shot from Catelin Pancher on the left wing -- to cut Danville's lead to one, 29-28, with 3:55 left.
But it was the Danville seniors who stepped up for the Ironmen (19-4, 11-3 HAC-I) as Siobhan Bross gathered up a loose ball, drove to the basket and drew the foul to stop the 11-0 run.
Bross completed the 3-point play to give Danville a 31-28 lead at the time. She ended with a game-high 14 points as Danville won its first HAC-I title, 48-30, on Friday night.
Danville will play HAC-III champion Benton at 6 tonight in Williamsport for the first HAC tournament championship.
Kylie Romeo, who helped Danville get out to an early lead with a pair of first-quarter threes, added nine points while Sara Naessig chipped in six. Freshman Amber Renz added 13 points to go with five blocks and six rebounds.
Kelsey Yacko was the only Indian in double-digits with 10.
It was the fifth straight win this week for Danville who hasn't lost since February 1.
"I thought that if our legs held out and the shots would go in, we'd be in pretty good shape," Moser said. "I went to Siobhan and Kelsey before the game and they said 'coach we're fine.'"
Danville, who is averaging 51.8 points this week, is 17-0 this season when scoring 48 or more points in a game.
"This has been the best week ever and I am really proud of everyone," Romeo said. "This week has really helped our confidence. We're on cloud nine. We can do almost anything at this moment."
While Romeo did not score in the second half of the game, here defense forced turnovers that her teammates feed off.
"Our defense stepped up, especially in the fourth," she said. "This week has been tough but we were able to get some rest for our legs on Thursday with substitutions and that seemed to help."
"Siobhan seems to find the open player," Moser added.
Bross, who scored at least one basket per quarter, took some advice from Moser to change up her game. Instead of driving to the right, she faked right and drove left. By doing this, it forced the defenders momentum to take her to the right, opening the left side and allowing Bross to drive to the basket for a layup.
"Most girls can't guard to the left and Coach Moser told me to drive that way even though my natural movement is to go to the right," she added.
Shamokin, which had won the last two HAC-I championships, came out flat, scoring six points in the first quarter and trailed by 10 heading into the second.
Yacko and Olivia Bonshock, who scored eight points, were the only players other than Kelsey Forbes to score for the Indians in the first half.
After making their third-quarter run, Shamokin went scoreless in the fourth. They had shots that either hit the front end of rim or rimmed out. Their lone trip to the free-throw line was not successful.