Last updated: February 22. 2014 12:02AM - 2454 Views
JAY MONAHAN For The Times Leader



Jahlil Harvey (13) of GAR drives to the basket as Suk Mathon (24) of Dallas defends during a District 2 Class 3A game Friday at Holy Redeemer High School.
Jahlil Harvey (13) of GAR drives to the basket as Suk Mathon (24) of Dallas defends during a District 2 Class 3A game Friday at Holy Redeemer High School.
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WILKES-BARRE — GAR must have spent Friday afternoon watching Canada’s defense in the Olympics men’s ice hockey semifinal. The Grenadiers’ strategy mirrored the Canadians — only allow Dallas one shot (if that) per possession and prevent the ball from getting into scoring position.

The plan worked with precision. Dallas was unable to get an offensive rebound, let alone an open two, in the first half. At the other end, GAR received multiple scoring chances en route to a 76-61 victory over the Mountaineers on Friday in the District 2 Class 3A quarterfinals at Holy Redeemer.

“That’s our game — multiple passes, making sure the bigs touch it,” Dallas coach Doug Miller said. “We called timeout a couple times to make sure the bigs got it. But it’s tough hanging in there when you fall behind 20.”


GAR (19-5) will face Pittston Area in the Class 3A semifinal on Tuesday at site to be determined. With three state playoff qualifiers, the winner of the Grenadier-Patriot matchup will book a ticket to the PIAA tournament. Dallas’ season ends with a 10-14 mark.


Until getting his third foul with two minutes remaining in the first half, GAR’s Nigebo Francis controlled the pace of the game. Francis had nine of his 10 rebounds to that point and kept the ball out of the paint on defense. Offensively, he fueled the offense with rebounds that created second-chance points for GAR’s gunners Isaiah Francis and James Holmes.


“(Nigebo Francis) was tough inside,” Miller said. “He was getting offensive rebounds; they were getting second looks. Then he was limiting us to one shot at our end. It could have been a big moment for us to take over (when he got his third foul).”

Isaiah Francis put the frosting on the cake with a buzzer-beater at the end of the first half. After both teams turned the ball over to each other, Francis heaved a three-pointer from 35 feet out that brought him to one knee. The basket counted to give the Grenadiers a 45-27 lead at the break.


The first-half statistics were staggeringly in the Grenadiers’ favor. GAR held an 18-5 advantage in rebounds and a 10-5 edge in turnovers.


“We tried to limit their big three in (Isaiah) Francis, Holmes and (Jahlil) Harvey. Make the other players beat us,” Miller said. “We did a good job. We talked about offensively getting ball fakes. We kind of got away from that. That’s when they went on their run. I think it was more us on offense that created their offense. That seems to be what hurt us.”

Isaiah Francis finished with a game-high 24 points and a rebound shy of a double-double. Holmes produced 19 points, and Harvey reached double figures with 15.

“We played unselfishly,” GAR coach Paul Brown said. “We put the ball in different people’s hands and a wide-open person gets the ball. When the ball goes in the basket, life is good.”

Dallas’ Suk Mathon brought down 18 rebounds in addition to eight points. Allen Fell had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Steven Wempa matched Fell with 16, and Chad DeBona added 11 points.

***


GAR 76, Dallas 61

DALLAS (61) — Chad DeBona 2 7-8 11, Steven Wempa 6 0-0 16, Tanner Gattuso 1 0-0 2, Ray Ostrowski 0 0-0 0, Brian Drouse 1 0-0 2, Suk Mathon 2 4-4 8, Matt Ross 2 2-2 6, Omar Nijmeh 0 0-3 0, Allen Fell 4 8-8 16, Michael Farrell 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 21-25 61.


GAR (76) — Isaiah Francis 7 6-9 24, James Holmes 6 3-3 19, Jahlil Harvey 7 1-3 15, Dajon Rush 0 2-4 2, Greg Skrepenak 0 0-0 0, Nigebo Francis 3 0-0 6, Justin Crosby 1 0-0 3, Rashaun Jackson 0 1-2 1, Antwone Easter 0 0-0 0, Brandon Norbert 1 0-0 2, Eli McAllister 1 2-3 4, Garry Kroll 0 0-0 0, Tino Altavilla 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 15-24 76.


Dallas`13`14`10`24`—`61


GAR`21`24`11`20`—`76


Three-point goals — DAL 4 (Wempa 4); GAR 9 (IFrancis 4, Holmes 4, Crosby)

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