By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
DANVILLE -- Shikellamy's Taylor Mantz jumped up and grabbed yet another rebound to start the fourth quarter after Danville's Bret Berg missed a jumper.
Just as Mantz was about to turn upcourt, a Danville player got his hand in and knocked the ball loose. The Ironmen's Scott Heeter grabbed the loose ball and quickly put up a shot.
It all happened in a 20-second span and kept the momentum with Danville inside the McCloskey Center on Tuesday night.
From there, Shikellamy could do little offensively, scoring just three points the entire fourth quarter as Danville rolled to a 51-27 win in a big Heartland Athletic Conference-Division I game.
"That scrappy play right off the bat, I think, helped us get some confidence and showed the other players on the court maybe this is what it's going to take to get a little bit of a cushion and get a win," Danville coach Lenny Smith said.
The Braves (6-6, 4-2 HAC I) kept it close the entire first half against Danville (9-2, 6-0). The biggest lead the Ironmen had until the half was just six points.
Shikellamy battled back early in the third quarter thanks to a scoring run by Mantz. He hit a shot with 4:55 to play that briefly tied the game at 21-all, but Berg scored on a layup not much later and the Danville lead continually increased from there.
Shikellamy was outscored 32-12 in the second half alone, including its one 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. The Braves were shut out the final 6:41 of the game. Danville closed it out with 13-0 run.
"Second half, we played more at our pace. We got the game going a little bit up and down the court, a little bit more the tempo we like to play at, and that sort of got us the cushion we needed to seal the win," Smith said.
While Mantz was the go-to player for Shikellamy -- nearly recording a double-double with a team-high 15 points and nine rebounds -- the Braves seemed to have no answer for Berg (20 points, six boards). The Danville senior had a hand in all nine second-quarter points, scoring seven and assisting on a lob to Zach Kozick (10 points, four rebounds). Berg also scored the first two points of the third for Danville as well.
"In the first half, when we were in kind of a stalemate, we just weren't getting inside (and) crashing the boards," Berg said. "In the second half, we spread them out. We were able to drive and use our athleticism to our advantage."
The game quickly became lopsided in the second half. After tying it at 4:55 in the third, Shikellamy was outscored 30-6 the rest of the game. The Danville offense played solid the rest of the way, increasing its lead to 24 with 2:02 to play.
"We literally fell apart. Danville really took it to us in the last 12 minutes of the game," Shikellamy coach Tim Foor said. "It was 21-21 and we end up losing by 24. They really dominated us in every fashion for the last 12 minutes of the game."
Shikellamy's C.J. Tyler, one of the area's top scorers, failed to record a single point in the loss, while Ernie Tyler scored just five. Shikellamy struggled as a whole from beyond the arc as well, going 1-for-11, with Ernie Tyler scoring the lone trey in the fourth.
Danville also outrebounded the Braves, 25-18, and recorded six steals.
"That was our main key (rebounding), just keep Mantz and (Zach) Herbster off the boards because they're good rebounders," Berg said. "I think we did a pretty good job of that."
The solid defensive effort from Danville prevented Shikellamy from getting second-chance opportunities. The Braves had just five offensive boards, four from Mantz.