High school basketball season came to an end in the Back Mountain in the District 2 Class AAA quarterfinals when three teams were eliminated.
The Dallas and Lake-Lehman girls and Lake-Lehman boys all lost and had their seasons end in their second district playoff game. The Dallas boys had lost in the first round.
Despite the playoff losses, the three teams had varying degrees of success.
Dallas won the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 girls championship with an incredible effort in a playoff game for the title. In addition to a shocking 74-44 rout of Pittston Area for the division championship, the Lady Mountaineers also handed Scranton Prep its only regular-season loss.
Both Lake-Lehman teams posted winning records. For the girls, that included a 72-63 upset of rival Dallas behind a 33-point outing by sophomore Cayle Spencer.
After going two decades without a winning record, the Lake-Lehman boys now have two straight winning seasons, even in a year where they moved up in classification.
The season ended Feb. 23 when defending champion Honesdale topped Dallas, 74-68, and top-seeded Scranton Prep, the Lackawanna League Division 1 champion, stopped Lake-Lehman, 54-39.
Dallas finished 18-5 and Lake-Lehman went 15-9.
The Lake-Lehman boys ended their 12-11 season the night before when they were beaten by Crestwood, 56-44.
Talia Szatkowski scored 18 points and Ashley Dunbar added 17 for the Dallas girls in the loss to Honesdale.
The Lady Mountaineers fought back from a double-figures deficit but fell short.
Dallas remained a threat in the game because of its ability to run and push the pace with a pressure defense and a strong rotation of players off the bench.
That formula is the one that overwhelmed Pittston Area in the division championship game.
“It’s a faster-paced game,” Dallas coach Kelly Johnson said after claiming the regular-season title. “We’re forcing teams to run with us. We have the personnel to do that.
“That constant in-your-face pressure has to be frustrating over the course of a game and I think that was to our advantage.”
The Lady Mountaineers were stronger because of the variety of weapons they had.
“If you don’t have the personnel, it’s hard to play that style,” Johnson said.
Senior point guard Ashley Dunbar, who was named Player of the Year in Division 2 last season, was the Division 1 Most Valuable Player in all-star voting by Wyoming Valley Conference coaches.
Szatkowski, a sophomore who led the defensive pressure with her energy, and Jess Hiscox, a senior who was the top outside shooter, were both first-team division all-stars.
Senior post player Tanner Englehart was a second-team choice. Katy Comitz, who came off the bench for 15 points in the division playoff game, was selected to the third team.
Johnson was named Coach of the Year for the division.
Spencer, who averaged 20 points per game, had 14 in the season-ending loss to Scranton Prep. Emily Sutton added 13.
Spencer was named first-team division all-star. Sutton, a junior, and Danae Sutliff, a sophomore, were picked for the second-team.
The Lake-Lehman boys fell behind 15-7 after one quarter against Crestwood and could not recover.
Pete Borum, who gave the team an inside force throughout the season, led the way with 17 points. Adam Dizbon had 15.