Dallas arrived at the Wyoming Area Holiday Hoops Tournament with just one win on the boys basketball season.
The Mountaineers emerged with a tournament title, two more victories and a boost going into the start of Wyoming Valley Conference play.
Suk Mathon scored 15 points to lead four players in double figures Dec. 27 when Dallas rallied in the second half, then ran past Wyoming Valley West, 56-41, for the tournament championship.
“It’s been quite a while since Dallas beat Valley West in boys basketball,” said Mountaineers coach Doug Miller. “That’s a big win. It gives us some momentum going into the league season.”
Dallas, which won its two tournament games by a total of 56 points to improve to 3-5, trailed by four points after one quarter and at halftime of the final.
“In the second half, we did a good job focusing on their two scorers (Larry) Anderscavage and (Jamie) Calloway and knowing where they were all the time,” Miller said. “It was just very unselfish play. We moved the ball well and executed our offense.
“We’ve had trouble putting four quarters together so far this season, but we had a couple games now where we put four together.”
Calloway and Anderscavage had combined for 33 points when Valley West rallied past Old Forge, 47-46, in the semifinal, but they managed just 19 against Dallas.
The Mountaineers took a 39-36 lead with a strong third quarter, then pulled away in the fourth when Mathon made all six of his free throws while scoring eight points.
Mathon, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, had been hitting just about half of his foul shots on the season before making all 11 in the tournament final to lead a 16-for-20 effort by Dallas.
“He had a couple games at the start of the season where he struggled at the line,” Miller said. “We work hard every day on free throws. The 11-for-11 is extremely impressive.
“We’ve been shooting real well from the line as a team, for the most part. Those are just huge.”
Matt Ross hit three 3-pointers while scoring 13 points. Chad DeBona and Allen Fell each scored eight of their 12 points in the second half.
“A lot of the stuff Stephen Wempa’s been doing doesn’t really show up in the boxscores,” Miller said, “but we’ve been asking him to guard their best offensive player lately and he’s done a real good job with that.
“He’s definitely a key role player and he has been putting some points up.”
Dallas pounded winless Wyoming Area, 69-28, in the tournament opener.
The Mountaineers opened leads of 19-3 after one quarter and 33-13 at halftime.
Fell scored a team-high 14 points. DeBona had seven points in the first quarter and 11 in the half while finishing with 13.
Wempa added 10 points, Ray Ostroski nine and Mathon eight.