By the time standout Jeremy Zezza hit back-to-back-to-back threes to open the second half, both Wyoming Area and Northwest had already found a rhythm from downtown.
But that’s what both teams are used to. When shots are falling, both teams are tough to contend with.
The Warriors hit 10 threes against the Rangers — four from Zezza and another four from Ryan Shulski. But it was Northwest, with sharpshooter Mitch Stepanski that pulled out the win with a 57-52 decision Tuesday. The Warriors are still searching for their first win.
Stepanski finished with a game-high 22 points that included six threes from the same spot on the court: the left wing. Zezza scored 20 points and Shulski had 12, while Evan Musto contributed 10.
The sharp shooting of Wyoming Area got off on the right foot. Starting a pair of freshman, Shulski and Anthony Nardell, coach Al Brogna was impressed when his team started on a 14-2 run to open the game by hitting four quick shots from downtown.
“We’re never quite sure what defenses will throw at us,” Brogna said. “They came out in a triangle and two and we were able to knock down a few shots early.”
But the early barrage was soon over. By the time the horn sounded at the end of the first quarter, Northwest mustered up its own run to close the gap to 21-14.
Brogna admitted the Warriors hit a “funk” to begin the second quarter.
Stepanski hit an uncontested three, followed by a steal from from Bruno Walkowiak that led to a Stepanski layup. Seconds later, Stepanski hit a runner from the baseline for a 27-23 Northwest cushion.
“We got into a little bit of a funk there in the second quarter,” Brogna said. “But our kids battled. They knocked down a few shots and the ball just didn’t roll our way.”
At the half, Northwest held a 31-25 lead. But Zezza went on his own 9-0 run with a trio of threes to open the second half.
After the Rangers regained the lead on a few fast-break points, Shulski buried another triple to silence the Northwest student body with a minute to play in the third with the score tied at 37.
The Rangers got five more quick points, capped by Walkowiak’s three-points play just before the period ended.
But with the Rangers poor free throw shooting (10-of-23) down the stretch, Wyoming Area stuck around through the final period. However, Stepanski hit two more threes in the final two mintues to pretty much ice the game.
“We’re young, and we’re small,” Brogna said. “We’re fighting an uphill battle with teams with size right now. But we love the solid minutes we’re getting from our young players.”
Pittston Area 73
Mason Gross led all scoring with 32 points for Pittston Area while Tyler McGarry totaled 23 Friday.
The Mountaineers’ effort was led by 25 points from Chad DeBona and 17 points from Matt Ross.
Wyoming Area 48
Jeremy Zezza led all scoring with 22 points in the effort for Wyoming Area Friday.
Mike Malshefski totaled 14 points while Tyler Meyers scored 11 in the Trojans’ win against the Warriors.
Hazleton Area 74
Pittston Area 59
Tyler McGarry scored a team-high 23 points Tuesday against Hazleton Area. But the Cougars’ Sal Biasi poured in 37 to lead Hazleton to the win.
The Patriots found themselves down six at the half, then outscored the Cougars 18-15 in the third period to cut the deficit to three. A 20-8 final stanza in favor of Hazleton Area proved to be the difference.
Mason Gross finished with 14 points, while Hassan Maxwell provided 10.
MMI Prep 52
Wyoming Area 41
Wyoming Area’s Jeremy Zezza scored a team-high 17 points, while Evan Musto added 11 in a losing effort to MMI Prep on Wednesday.
The Preppers win was led by 23 points from Cory Rogers, while RJ Kupsho contributed 14.
Pittston Area 124
Mia Nardone (100 fly and 500 free) and Erin Senese (50 free and 100 free) had two wins apiece in the Patriots victory over the Mohawks. Antoinette Antonacci contributed with a victory in the 100 breast event.
Emily Cook earned a win in the 200 free event for the Mohawks.