Chase Kumor (above) led all scorers with 22 points on Wednesday night. (Photo: Tom Reifsnyder)
Tom Reifsnyder (@tom_reifsnyder)
This year has been one of firsts for the Conwell-Egan Eagles.
In late February, Frank Sciolla’s bunch won the school’s first playoff game in 50 years.
On Wednesday night, the Eagles recorded their first 18-win season in school history.
The game itself may have been yet another first for Egan, which knocked down 15 three-pointers in a catastrophic blowout of Mahanoy Area at Reading Senior High School, 82-31.
Such an emphatic performance begs the question, was this Egan’s best shooting display of the year?
“Maybe ever,” Sciolla said jokingly. “Really though, the kids did a good job being prepared.”
“We turned them over a couple of times; we got some easy looks, inside-out threes. Then we made a three off the break, which we don’t take much, and so then it became a super confidence thing.”
Anyone at the game could see that the Eagles came out with fire in their eyes; like they never wanted this season to end.
And if their 30-2 first quarter lead was any indication, they’ve got a lot more basketball ahead of them.
Senior wing Chase Kumor, who struggled to find his shot in Egan’s previous game against Camp Hill, was completely in the zone tonight as he scored 12 of his game-high 22 points in the first frame to pace the Eagles.
“At practice I was kind of focused on [shooting] because I was a little upset with myself personally, but the best part about our team is we don’t care how we do it; as long as we win, that’s our goal,” Kumor said.
Egan’s arsenal of perimeter threats, headlined by Kumor and fellow senior Sean Kelly (nine points), makes its team an extremely difficult matchup for opposing defenses, often rolling out lineups with a consistent jump shooter at every position.
Despite Kumor’s recent struggles, Sciolla never doubted that his senior sharpshooter would return to form.
“He’s had games like this during the year, but in the last five or six games he hasn’t had a lot of looks,” Sciolla said. “Sean Kelly’s been a guy who’s been getting those because we put him in there to kind of stretch the floor, but today Chase got them.
“Chase is pretty much a known quantity, but maybe not at the state level when teams come down and scout and they see; so it gives you another guy that you’ve got to worry about defending and if you’re going to go out and stay on him it opens opportunities up for Stevie [Jordan] on the break.”
And that’s precisely what happened tonight.
With Kumor and Kelly combining for six triples in the first half, the driving lanes were wide open for Jordan to wreak havoc on the Mahanoy defense.
Jordan was dynamic on both offense and defense in the first half, recording multiple on-ball steals and turning them into spectacular assists and finishes at the rim. The junior guard scored nine of his 16 points in the first half as Egan trotted to the locker room with a monstrous 51-8 lead.
“I think for Mahanoy, who’s a group of tough kids, they’re not the team you saw tonight,” Sciolla said. “But I think they were shell-shocked coming out and we took them out of some of the stuff they wanted to do set-wise and they kind of were playing one-on-one.”
Junior guard Matthew Yedsena was the only Golden Bear to make a noticeable impact on the offensive end, knocking down two 3-pointers and adding a rim-grazing dunk to the delight of the largely disappointed Mahanoy fan section. Yedsena, who finished with 12 points, was the only Mahanoy player to finish in double-figures.
As the fourth quarter began with Mahanoy (21-6) down more than 50 points and Egan (18-8) nearly on pace for 100, the Eagles unloaded their bench and turned on cruise control.
Despite the ease with which Egan dispatched the District 11 champs, Sciolla is well aware of the challenges that lie ahead for his team in the next round of the Class AA bracket.
“I feel like we could compete for [a state title],” Sciolla said. “This is a game we knew we could win, but I think Saturday we’re going to get a better idea.
“Whoever we play Saturday, it’s not going to be the same situation; not even close.”
The Eagles will take on District 2 champion, Mid-Valley, a 49-44 winner over Columbia on Wednesday night.