WILKES-BARRE — At this point of the season, all that matters is winning. Even if the path there is disjointed at times.
Meyers was able to put on a much-needed burst to end the third quarter Saturday afternoon, building enough of a cushion to outlast Hanover Area 49-39 in a District 2 Class 2A boys basketball quarterfinal game.
Second-seeded Meyers (17-7) will play third-seeded Mid Valley (21-3) on Tuesday in the semifinals. Both teams are guaranteed two more games as three D2-2A teams qualify for the state playoffs. Seventh-seeded Hanover Area had its season end at 16-8.
“We certainly weren’t in sync offensively,” said Meyers coach Pat Toole, whose team had scored 60 points or more in nine of its last 12 games. “We had way too many turnovers. I know we had 10 in the first 10 minutes of the game. But defensively, I thought we played them tough.”
That was evident by Hanover Area’s offensive output, its second-lowest of the season and lowest since a 48-38 loss to Pittston Area on Dec. 20.
As for the offense, Tyriek Steward and Lamont Twyman led Meyers with 13 apiece. Steward started an 8-0 run to end the third quarter, with his rebound basket snapping a 23-23 tie. Twyman’s layup off a turnover to start the fourth pushed the Mohawks’ lead to 33-23.
“It wasn’t as crisp as I’d like it to be, it’s got to get better,” Toole said. “At this time of year, it is survive and advance. Whether it’s ugly or not, it’s about getting to the next game. Now to win the next game, we certainly have to play better than we did today.”
The double-digit lead, though, started to dwindle. David Torres led a Hanover Area burst that cut the deficit to 39-33 with 3:45 left in the fourth quarter. However, the Hawkeyes followed by missing the front ends of two one-and-one opportunities. Meyers guard Shahee Aurelus responded with a pair of free throws and a drive to the bucket to push the lead back to 10.
“I thought the key was the third quarter when dribble-penetration just killed us,” Hanover Area coach Steve Harnischfeger said. “We talked about it at halftime. They got out to that seven-point lead. And even in the first half, that dribble-penetration hurt us.”
Hanover Area’s offense didn’t help matters, either. The Hawkeyes were 5-of-20 (25 percent) from the field in the first half. After Jake Barber made an improbable catch-and-shoot three-pointer to end the first quarter, Hanover Area went over five minutes without a field goal.
Barber finished with a game-high 17 points, but the 1,000-point scorer never found a rhythm as Meyers used three different players on him. Torres added 14, but like Barber it wasn’t until the fourth quarter when he was able to find some consistency.
Despite the loss, Harnischfeger was optimistic about the future. Aside from senior Ronnie Moreno, everyone will be back for the 2014-15 season.
“I’m proud of these kids,” Harnischfeger said. “We talked before the game about 32 minutes and they played 32 minutes. We have 14 of our 15 kids back next year, so we expect some big things. But we’ve got to get into the gym. That’s what we told them. People are going to put the bullseye on you, so you have to get in the gym this summer.”
Meyers 49, Hanover Area 39
HANOVER AREA (39) — Ronnie Moreno 1 0-1 2, Bobby Kerestes 3 0-0 6, David Torres 4 6-8 14, Jake Barber 5 4-5 17, Anthony Marcincavage 0 1-2 1, Brandon Chafin 0 0-1 0, Andrew Vollaro 0 0-0 0, Nick Minich 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 11-17 39.
MEYERS (49) — Shahee Aurelus 1 4-4 6, Tyon Thomas 1 1-1 3, Matt DeMarco 1 0-1 2, Tyriek Steward 6 1-5 13, Lamont Twyman 5 3-6 13, Ryan Wasley 3 0-0 6, Dominic Pittman 3 0-0 6. Totals 20 9-17 49.
Three-point goals — HA 2 (Barber 2).