Last updated: February 22. 2014 10:54PM - 2323 Views
By Justin Beiter For The Times Leader

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BERWICK — It was evident from Hazleton Area’s very first possession that the Cougars had to come to play against Delaware Valley. Brett Barron’s three-pointer from the right side was just a preview of things to come.

The hot shooting Cougars drained 10 shots from beyond the arc, including five in the opening period. Coupled with a solid defensive performance, Hazleton Area cruised to a 75-31 win and will face Williamsport in the District 2/4 Class 4A boys basketball final on Wednesday.

“Brett Barron got off to a great start,” Hazleton Area coach Mike Joseph said. “Sal (Biasi) did a great job of finding him time and time again. Really, what we’ve been talking about for the last two or three days has been defense. If we’re going to try and put ourselves in a position to win a championship, we’ve got to get better defensively.

“I think this is really the time of year where you can get better. You have four or five days off, and you have a chance to focus on certain things. That was as good of a defensive look as we’ve had in a long time.”

Top seeded Hazleton Area (20-4) never trailed and jumped out to a 17-point lead after the first quarter. Barron and Biasi combined for 22 of the Cougars’ 26 points and were relevant on both ends of the floor.

Biasi, who had a game-high 24 points, made a layup after deflecting a pass in the waning seconds of the opening quarter as the Warriors had difficulty against full court pressure.

“Our communication was great,” Joseph said. “We talked about closing out, help and recover, contesting and blocking out. But communication is huge for us. We have guys that are seasoned veterans that have had great careers for us. The defense, as a whole, had a really good look to it.”

The Cougars continued to keep their foot on the accelerator in the second quarter.

Leading 30-14, Barron put together a personal 10-0 run over two-minute span that saw the lead balloon to 26. The final two of his 23 points made the score 63-23 with 2:03 left in the third quarter.

With the mercy rule invoked, Joseph pulled many of his starters and started to focus on Wednesday’s rematch with Williamsport. Hazleton Area defeated the Millionaires 61-53 on Jan. 23.

“They have a terrific player in Isaiah Washington,” Joseph said. “He does so many things and creates so many problems. When we played them at our place, I thought we played pretty well. But I didn’t think we rebounded very well. To beat Williamsport, you have to contain Washington and at least hold your own on the boards.”


Hazleton Area 75, Delaware Valley 31

DELAWARE VALLEY (31) Joe Addoensky 1 0-0 3, Luke Ritter 3 0-1 6, Shane Fowler 1 0-0 3, Cole Acoveno 0 1-2 1, Connor Lutz 1 0-0 2, Joe Raniero 3 0-0 7, Dave Krause 1 1-2 3, Raphael Cordero 1 0-0 2, Noah Pratz 0 0-0 0, Jon Geffrand 0 0-0 0, Adriel Garcia 0 0-0 0, Ryan Negron 1 0-0 2, Tom Oakley 1 0-0 2, Noah Willis 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 2-5 31.

HAZLETON AREA (75) Julio Alvarado 0 0-0 0, Sal Biasi 9 3-3 24, Michael Makuta 0 0-0 0, Chris Panzarella 0 0-0 0, Zach Zukoski 0 1-2 1, Chris Woodring 0 0-0 0, Brett Barron 8 1-2 23, Will Hierro 0 0-0 0, Nick Seach 2 0-0 4, Jon Fogarty 1 1-2 3, Reynal Santana 3 0-0 6, Kyle Karmonic 2 0-0 4, Mark Brehm 2 0-0 4, Hunter Samec 2 1-2 6. Totals 29 7-11 75.

Delaware Valley`9`9`8`5`—`31

Hazleton Area`26`19`18`12`—`75

Three-point goals: DV 3 (Addoensky, Fowler, Raniero), HAZ 10 (Barron 6, Biasi 3, Samec).

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