The four teams that arrived at the Wyoming Area Holiday Hoops boys basketball tournament all were in need of a lift before beginning league play this week.
Dallas came away with a tournament title, Wyoming Valley West picked up its first win of the season and Old Forge gained some needed momentum in its continued transition from a state championship game appearance in football.
Only the host Warriors failed to find some hope in a tournament featuring teams that had been a combined 2-20 on the season. They slipped deeper into a rut that has seen the team remain winless through the first month of the season.
Wyoming Area finished last in its own tournament, falling by a combined 80 points in two games to move to 0-8.
The Warriors, starting five underclassmen, including a pair of freshmen, came out aggressively with a hustling, pressing defense in Friday’s third-place game. As a result, they held Old Forge without a shot for more than four minutes and without a field goal for 5:20.
Wyoming Area’s lack of size, however, proved to be a consistent problem on the boards and a team already searching for ways to produce points suffered its worst offensive night of the season.
Old Forge’s 51-12 victory in the third-place game left Wyoming Area averaging just 31.9 points per game.
The Warriors scored only three points in the first quarter of each tournament game. They fell to Dallas, 69-28, Thursday.
Dallas went on to win the title with a 56-41 victory over Wyoming Valley West.
Valley West reached the final when it edged Old Forge, 47-46.
Old Forge, which has played fewer games than other area basketball teams because of postponements when the football team was finishing its season, came out of the tournament with a 2-4 record.
The Blue Devils had a 40-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter of the first-round game before the Spartans rallied.
“We knew we were going against a 4A school and we’re a small A,” first-year Old Forge coach Jared Yaniello said. “We really worked hard these last three games.
“It would have been nice to have that win.”
Jamire Calloway scored 20 points to lead Valley West, which had started 0-6. Calloway had 10 points in the fourth quarter, hitting two 3-pointers and going 4-for-4 from the line. Larry Anderscavage added 13 points in the win.
Jake Manetti led Old Forge with 19 points and Joey Gutowski added 10.
Dallas overwhelmed Wyoming Area, taking a 19-3 lead in the first quarter of the other first-round game.
Chad DeBona scored seven of his 12 points in the first quarter. Allen Fell led the Mountaineers with 14 points.
Evan Musto scored 11 points to lead Wyoming Area. He was the only Warrior with more than five points in either game of the tournament.
Musto had seven points in the second quarter when Wyoming Area scored 10 points for the only time in the tournament.
When the Warriors held the Blue Devils without a field goal for more than five minutes to start the consolation game, they only managed a 3-2 lead.
Old Forge, which built a 19-5 rebounding advantage in the first 12:43, scored three of its first four baskets off offensive rebounds in a stretch of less than two minutes to take a 10-3 lead after one quarter.
“With our rebounding, we go after it,” Yaniello said. “Every game, we’re always beating teams on the glass.”
Jeremy Zezza took the ball the length of the floor for a Wyoming Area basket 38 seconds into the second quarter to cut the deficit to 10-5.
The Warriors managed just one field goal in the next 20 ½ minutes.
Reserves Brendan Edwards and Jordan Ohler scored four points each when Old Forge ran off 10 straight for a 20-5 lead.
Kyle Musto’s 3-pointer from the right corner with 1:42 left in the half broke up the Old Forge run, but the Blue Devils then went on a much longer one.
Old Forge scored the game’s next 29 points while holding Wyoming Area scoreless through the entire third quarter until Dom Florenza’s 3-pointer with 1:55 left.
Jimmie Aversa led Old Forge with 13 points, five steals and four assists.
Ben Grochowski made all four of his shots while adding eight points.
Wyoming Area shot 14.3 percent (4-for-28) from the floor and committed 27 turnovers.
Dallas won the title when Suk Mathon went 11-for-11 from the line to score 15 points against Valley West.
Matt Ross scored 13 points while Fell and DeBona added 12 each.
The Mountaineers overcame a four-point halftime deficit.
Anderscavage led Valley West with 12 points.