Last updated: March 16. 2013 7:09PM - 282 Views
By - psokoloski@timesleader.com - (570) 991-6392

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BERWICK - The Berwick boys basketball program surged into the postseason and made a major move toward its charge to respectability.

The Bulldogs are now a playoff team.

Eric May scored 19 points, three of his teammates also scored in double figures Saturday and Berwick earned the No. 16 seed in the District 2 Class 3A playoffs by withstanding a charge from Western Wayne, 67-51 in a playoff qualifying game at the Berwick Middle School.

It's another step in the right direction, Berwick second-year coach Jason Kingery said.

His 5-18 Bulldogs will step into the postseason against top-seeded and 21-2 Abington Heights in Tuesday's opening postseason round of Class 3A action, but after watching his team stave off a strong challenge from Western Wayne, the coach believes anything's possible.

We look forward to playing these teams, Kingery said. These teams are state-ranked teams. Upsets can happen, have happened.

What happened Saturday night was simple.

The Bulldogs fell behind early, built a nine-point lead midway through the third quarter, then showed a large measure of resiliency while protecting its playoff berth.

The Wildcats pulled within a bucket of tying the game a handful of times, the last on James Berger's bucket with 5:40 remaining.

But Zach Ladonis responded with a three-point play, building Berwick's lead back to 51-46 and triggering a 19-5 Bulldogs run to end the game.

We've played a very difficult schedule, inside the conference and outside the conference - at Maryland, Carolina, West Virginia, said Kingery, whose club improved to 5-18 but accomplished three more victories than last year. Our kids are comfortable seeing any type of offensive or defensive system.

The Bulldogs appeared comfortable whether coming from behind or playing with the lead against Western Wayne.

Jeremy Clausen's 3-point goal pulled Berwick within 14-13 at the end of the first quarter, and Landis and May each hit seven points in the second quarter to send Berwick into intermission with a 33-28 lead.

Five points from May and four by Clausen kept Berwick in control during the third quarter, then May and Ladonis combined for 11 points during the last quarter to send the Bulldogs to the postseason.

It's not the record we wanted. We had a goal to finish eighth or better in our district, Kingery said. But any win is a good win. I think people respect the program a little more now. Last year we had 50-point blowouts. This year, there's been a 10-, 20-point difference.

We are getting better.

Berwick 67, Western Wayne 51

WESTERN WAYNE (51): Culotto 0 0-0 0, Rhodes 5 2-2 12, Berger 4 8-11 16, Schumacher 1 2-2 4, Shane 4 0-0 8, Murphy 0 0-0 0, Gillis 0 0-0 0, Davidson 0 4-5 4, Valvano 3 1-2 7; Totals 17 17-22 51.

BERWICK (67): Alex Koch 0 0-0 0, Josh Edwards 0 0-2 0, Jeremy Clausen 2 6-6 11, Eric May 7 5-8 19, Will Morales 0 2-2 2, Zach Ladonis 3 6-9 12, Tyler Evans 4 0-0 9, Matt Dalo 1 3-4 5, Will Updegrove 1 3-4 5, Brian Bridge 0 0-0 0, CJ Curry 0 0-0 0, Max Melito 0 0-0 0, Robbie Palermo 0 0-0 0, Kevin Woodeschick 0 0-0 0; Totals: 21 24-33 67.

Western Wayne14141211—51

3-Point Field Goals— WW 0; BER 2 (Clausen, Evans)

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