WILLIAMSBURG - Offseason knee surgery has caused Juniata Valley forward Jason Shawver to favor one leg, resulting in severe hip pain.
"There's some games where it's hard for me to play," Shawver said, "but [this] wasn't one of them."
Instead, Shawver was a pain in the neck of the Williamsburg Blue Pirates for much of Friday night.
Shawver scored six of his 18 points - tying a career high - in the fourth quarter, and the Green Hornets dodged a bullet at the end to get out of Williamsburg all alone in first place of the Inter-County Conference North Division with a 51-50 victory over the Pirates.
Both teams entered the contest at 5-1 in the division. Valley improved to 12-2 overall, while Williamsburg slipped to 7-5.
"We're undefeated at home. We're playing well at home, so, getting these roads wins is very important," Hornets coach Ron Anders said. "Honestly, we're not a very good offensive team at times, and we have to grind some of these games out."
Friday's contest was one of those. Juniata Valley led in the first half by as many as 12 points but only scored 14 in the second half, including eight in fourth quarter. Williamsburg grabbed a brief three-point advantage, then the Hornets went back on top only to let the door open by missing six straight free throws in the final minute.
Down a point, the Pirates had a chance to win it in the last 21.5 seconds. However, the Hornets swarmed the ball, forcing a quick 15-footer by sophomore Peyton Brown that fell short with about 6 seconds left. The ball was saved from going out of bounds but went right into the hands of Valley's Caleb Taylor, who dribbled out the clock.
"We were just looking to get a screen for somebody, and come off the screen, catch the pass and get an open shot or a pump fake and dribble penetration," Williamsburg coach Mike Farrell said. "We got the screen, we got the pass, we even got the pump fake. We just didn't get a good shot out of it, not very good."
"I was a little bit worried. I thought he was going to make it," Shawver said. "Then we got the ball back and started dribbling up the floor. I looked up and saw 1 second on the clock, and I just started cheering."
Shawver had a boisterous Hornet student section cheering most of the game. He scored eight in the first quarter, then put Valley ahead with a late tip-in. His two free throws at the 2:09 mark gave Juniata Valley the lead for good.
"I was fired up for this game. We were talking about it all day. We all wanted it," Shawver said. "I knew I had to play really big down in the post today."
Brandon Ross scored nine of his team-high 14 points for Williamsburg in the fourth quarter. However, the Pirates started slowly in each of the first three periods, falling behind 9-3 at the start, giving up the first six points in the second quarter and scoring just two points in the first 5 minutes of the second half.
"We've been back and forth with that. We've been battling. We've come out of the gate in a few games really well - the three of four games prior to this, we've taken control. I don't know if it was nerves," Farrell said.
The Hornets were balanced. Kordell Collins finished with 10 points, Gordon Gable had nine and Taylor netted eight.
"We've had numerous games with three, four, sometimes all five guys in double figures," Anders said. "That's something we strive for."
His team needed every bit of those contributions to top its archrival.
"This feels really good," Shawver said. "It's awesome to beat Williamsburg."
Game notes: The teams were a combined 18-for-37 at the foul line. ... Williamsburg had 13 turnovers in the first half. ... The Pirates outrebounded Valley 39-36. ... Both teams return to the court on Monday at home. Williamsburg plays West Branch, while Valley faces Moshannon Valley.
JUNIATA VALLEY (51): Collins 4 2-5 10, Maysonet 1 0-0 3, Gable 4 0-4 9, Taylor 3 2-6 8, Shawver 7 4-4 18, Grove 0 0-0 0, Gildea 0 0-0 0, Barton 1 0-0 3, Grissinger 0 0-0 0. Totals - 20 8-19 51.
WILLIAMSBURG (50): Biddle 2 1-2 6, Bran. Ross 5 1-2 14, McMonagle 2 0-0 4, Young 2 5-9 9, Palmer 7 3-5 17, Shaw 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0. Totals - 18 10-18 50.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Juniata Valley21 14 8 8 - 51
Williamsburg14 14 10 12 - 50
3-point goals: Juniata Valley 3 (Maysonet, Gable, Barton); Williamsburg 4 (Bran. Ross 3, Biddle).
Records: Juniata Valley (12-2; 6-1 ICC North); Williamsburg (7-4; 5-2 ICC North).
Officials: Dick Wagner, Gary Zimmerman, Dick Smith.
JV: Williamsburg, 56-38. High scorers-Konner Barton, JV, 12; Vince Michelone, W, 20.