Township 22 - Conemaugh Township vs. Shanksville Boys Hoops

Conemaugh Township’s Kevin Byer (right) elevates against the Shanksville defense to get a shot away on Wednesday night in Davidsville.

If the old basketball adage holds true that offense wins games, but defense wins championships, the Conemaugh Township boys could be well on its way to a District 5 Class A title.

Playing at home in the opening round of the 5-A playoffs, the top-ranked Indians dialed up the pressure early against a young Shanksville-Stonycreek squad, and then simply never let the Vikings back in the game en route to a 56-32 win.

“It has been our scenario all year that we play good defense,” said Indians coach Scott Cable, whose team improved to 19-6. “I think we played exceptional defense, particularly in the first half. We had six steals in the first quarter and, I think, three or four in the third quarter.

“That has been our M.O. all year,” Cable said. “Our guards are tenacious. They are not big, but they are quick. We are not the most talented or physical team, but we have good ingredients to do something special.”

The Indians’ 6-foot-4 forward, Kevin Byer, started slowly, but finished strong to lead all scorers with 21 points.

After scoring the opening basket, Byer went scoreless until midway through the second quarter.

Converting a tough reverse layup with four minutes remaining seemed to energize the junior, as he added an additional six points before the half, and then tallied 11 more points in the third quarter.

“Byer got off to a slow start in the first quarter,” Cable said. “But, then he really picked it up the rest of the game and played solid.”

Conemaugh Township opened the game with a 9-0 run before Silas Miller drove the lane, picking up a basket plus a foul to get the Vikings (10-15) on the board 9-3.

The 6-foot freshman added a 3-pointer and another basket to close the quarter with all eight of the Vikings’ points.

Miller finished the game with 14 points to lead Shanksville.

The teams traded baskets to open the second quarter before Byer’s points, and Tim Johnson’s 3-pointer stretched Conemaugh Township’s lead to 13 at the half.

The Vikings pulled within nine to open the third, but the Indians answered with a 12-0 run to stretch their lead to 22.

Conemaugh Township opened the fourth quarter with steals from Johnson and Matt Jones that both resulted in baskets.

Shanksville answered with baskets from Miller and J.C. Stockenus, but gained little momentum as the Indians matched them basket for basket the remainder of the game.

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