Pittston Area (18-8) vs. Bishop McDevitt (26-2)
Class 3A First-Round Game
6 p.m. today, Wyoming Area H.S.
What’s At Stake: The winner advances to the second round on Tuesday, playing the winner of the game between District 11 champion Allentown Central Catholic (27-0) and District 3 sixth seed West York (24-4). Those teams play at 7:30 p.m. today at Allentown Allen High School.
Last Time In States: McDevitt, the District 3 third seed, made it to the state playoffs last season as the D3 fifth seed. The Crusaders had a quick exit, losing 81-54 to D12 champion Neumann-Goretti.
Pittston Area is back at states for the first time since the 2001-02 season. The Patriots finished as the second seed in District 2 in Class 3A. They lost 68-59 in overtime to D4 runner-up Mifflinburg in the first round. As fate would have it, Mifflinburg lost in overtime in the second round to D1 third seed Kennett, which went on to win the state title.
Scouting Pittston Area: After disposing of 10th-seeded Tunkhannock 49-39 in the first round, the seventh-seeded Patriots pulled off two big upsets in the D2-3A tourney by defeating second-seeded Crestwood 48-38 and third-seeded GAR 45-42. The Cinderella run ended in a 67-28 loss to top-seeded Abington Heights for the title.
The Patriots trailed Abington by two with 1:34 left in the first quarter when the bottom fell out. They shot 3-of-30 from the field in the final three quarters, including 2-of-17 from behind the arc in an attempt to overcome the huge deficit. Normally, Pittston Area is solid from three-point land as junior Tyler McGarry hit 40 treys in WVC play and senior James Emmett added 15.
Senior center Mason Gross (18.6 ppg) and McGarry (16.9) have carried the offense this season, with senior guard Hassan Maxwell (8.4) and Emmett (5.4) also having their moments. Senior guard Mike Schwab makes his contributions mainly as a tenacious defender.
Scouting McDevitt: After posting six-win seasons in 2007-08 and 2008-09, McDevitt has steadily improved. The Crusaders entered the D3-3A tournament as the top seed and defeated 16th-seeded Northeastern 86-57 and eighth-seeded Lancaster Mennonite 75-72 in overtime to start the playoffs. They then lost 60-57 in overtime to No. 5 Susquehanna Township, which also defeated them 78-65 on Jan. 30. McDevitt secured the district’s third seed with a 57-44 victory over sixth-seeded Bermudian Springs.
McDevitt likes to play up-tempo and thrives on its transition game. That’s evident from some of the eye-popping offensive numbers. The Crusaders scored 104 points against Palmyra, have scored at least 90 points four times and at least 80 nine times.
Justin McCarthur, a 6-foot senior guard, leads the backcourt with 16.6 points per game and 58 three-pointers. He has committed to Shippensburg University. Dyllon Hudson-Emory, a 6-6 senior, averages 19.9, but doesn’t have the bulk to be a true post-up player. However, he can run the court. So can 6-3 junior Milik Gantz (12.5 ppg), who is known for doing dazzling things with the ball. The other two starters — 5-11 senior Donte Vaughn and 6-3 Caleb Brown — can stick the three-point shot.