GAR routs Nanticoke to take over first place


GAR’s Justin Crosby-Smith pulls down a rebound in front of Nanticoke’s Ben Sersen during Saturday night’s game.


Fred Adams | for Times Leader

GAR’s Dajon Rush tries to knock a loose ball away from Nanticoke’s Cody Piestrak during Saturday night’s game.


Fred Adams | for Times Leader

GARs Keyshawn Palmer grabs a rebound away from Nanticoke’s Brent Pointkowski on Saturday night.


Fred Adams | for Times Leader

Nanticokes Justin Casey passes the ball off after getting control of it as GAR's Will Johnson tries to knock it away --------------Fred Adams|for Times Leader 2-6-16


Fred Adams | for Times Leader

Nanticokes Bent Pointkowski takes a shot over GARS Justin Crosby --------------Fred Adams|for Times Leader 2-6-16


Fred Adams | for Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — The showdown quickly became a knockdown Saturday night. And then a knockout.

GAR staggered Nanticoke with an 11-0 run in the first quarter and then put things away by the end of the third, defeating the Trojans 63-49 to take over sole possession of first place of Division 2 in Wyoming Valley Conference boys basketball.

“They came out like champions that didn’t want to give their title up,” Nanticoke coach John Beggs said. “Their guys came out on the floor, they looked mad, they looked hungry. And I thought we were, but they were the stronger team and played like it for four quarters. They set the tone defensively, and we were out of sync with everything we were doing.”

GAR (9-1 Div. 2, 13-7 overall) holds a one-game lead over Nanticoke (8-2 Div. 2, 16-4) heading into the WVC’s final two games. GAR has the harder path with a road game at Division 3 champ and city rival Meyers (11-0 Div. 3, 13-5) on Tuesday night.

“I’m ready to play Meyers,” GAR junior center Keyshawn Palmer said. “It’s my first varsity year. I can’t wait.”

Palmer played a big role Saturday night. He scored a game-high 16 points and once again was strong on the boards with nine rebounds. The Grenadiers outrebounded Nanticoke 29-17, with many of them springing the team’s transition offense.

“With the rebounds, I was able to get outlets for the fastbreak,” Palmer said. “We’re a fastbreak team. We’re better off running the fastbreak and scoring than in a halfcourt set. But when it comes to the halfcourt set, we can still get it done that way, too.”

Point guard Will Johnson provided plenty as well, scoring a season-high 15 points. The freshman put on some nasty moves, including beating his man on an ISO to end the first half. He missed the shot, but tapped in a rebound for a 29-17 lead.

“He started a couple games here and there,” GAR coach Jerry Altavilla said. “With him on the court, we felt he gave us a little more defense. And on offense, he was able to penetrate and break down the defense.”

Palmer scored six of the third quarter’s first eight points as GAR increased its advantage to 35-19. The Grenadiers bumped it to 43-23 late in the quarter on a couple free throws by Dajon Rush. Rush finished with 12. Justin Crosby-Smith added 13, giving GAR four players in double figures.

Nanticoke managed to move within 12 just past the midway point of the fourth quarter, with the comeback attempt led by bench players versus GAR starters. The Grenadiers, though, cut off Nanticoke with a final burst.

Should the two teams finish tied for the division, a special playoff game will be held. Although no date has been set, Saturday appears the likely day with the District 2 playoffs starting on Tuesday, Feb. 17.

Hazleton Area 68, Pittston Area 47

Bobby Planutis scored 25 points and Jeff Planutis added 10 as Hazleton Area clinched at least a tie for the Division 1 title with a victory over Pittston Area.

The Cougars will win the division with another victory or a Crestwood loss.

Dylan Osticco paced Pittston Area with 12. Mat McGlynn netted 11.

Crestwood 57, Berwick 50

Robbie Hopkins kept the Comets close, then Crestwood held the Bulldogs to a single point in the third quarter during a comeback victory.

Hopkins scored 11 of his team-high 18 points in the first half as Crestwood pulled within 29-27 at halftime.

Mendell Foreman scored all five of his points in the final quarter and Josh Malkemes scored four of his 11 points in the third quarter, when the Comets took the lead.

Tyler Evans scored a game-high 22 points for Berwick, while Jude Goodard added 11.

Lake-Lehman 48, MMI Prep 35

Cole Spencer erupted for 10 of his game-high 22 points out of halftime and the Black Knights rallied in the second half for victory.

Spencer’s surge helped Lehman break a 20-20 tie at intermission, after Kyle Williams scored nine of his team-high 15 points in the first half for MMI Prep.

Jake Corey made sure Lehman finished up strong, scoring 7 of his 15 points in the final quarter.

Ed Herbener added 10 points for the Preppers.

Wyo Valley West 82, Tunkhannock 45

The Spartans used a 28-point second quarter to pull away for the victory.

Aaron Austin had 12 of his game-high 24 points in the second for Valley West, which trailed 18-17 after one quarter. Tyler Yankosky finished with 15 and Noah Frace and Savion Saunders added 11 apiece.

Sean Harder had 18 for Tunkhannock.

Meyers 71, Wyoming Area 42

Matt Dessoye scored 12 points and Levaugn Soules added 10 as Division 3 champ Meyers jumped out quickly in its victory over Wyoming Area.

Tony Saitta paced Wyoming Area with 13.

Coughlin 60, Dallas 57

Devin Rajza scored 29 points while sinking seven 3-point field goals as the Crusaders staved off the Mountaineers.

Rajza’s five 3-pointers in the first half helped Coughlin take a 35-22 halftime lead, but the Crusaders were forced to hold off a furious Dallas rally in the second half to escape with victory.

Rajza four foul shots and scored a bucket to help secure the win.

Jose Rivera added 20 points in the win.

Ben Donahue led Dallas with 17 points, scoring 15 of them in the second half, while Tanner Gattuso finished with 15 and Joey Parsons added 11 for the Mountaineers.

Wyoming Seminary 55, Northwest 51

Gunter scored nine of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Blue Knights come back for victory.

Northwest held a lead after each of the first three quarters, thanks Mitchell Mazonkey’s team-high 16 points and 14 points apiece from Sam Saxe and Jaxson Yaple.

Bevalagna tossed in 17 points for Sem.

Northwest 58, Weatherly 43

Sam Saxe scored 24 points to lead the Rangers to victory in an early-morning game Saturday.

Jaxson Yaple tossed in three 3-point field goals among his 16 points for Northwest and Mitchell Mazonkey added 10 more to the victory.

GAR 63, Nanticoke 49

NANTICOKE (49) — Ed Lukowski 0 0-0 0, Scott Stout 5 2-3 14, Brent Piontkowski 4 2-4 10, Luke Butczynski 1 0-0 2, Justin Casey 0 0-0 0, Ben Sersen 3 0-0 9, Rich Wiateroski 0 0-0 0, Cody Piestrak 2 0-0 5, Zach Cardone 0 0-0 0, Alec Divers 0 0-0 0, Matt Piontkowski 0 0-0 0, Alec Norton 0 0-0 0, Nate Kreitzer 2 0-0 5, Tyler Thomas 1 1-3 4. Totals 18 5-10 49.

GAR (63) — Keyshawn Palmer 7 2-6 16, Marquan Kemp 3 1-1 7, Dajon Rush 5 2-4 12, Justin Crosby-Smith 5 2-7 14, Will Johnson 6 3-4 15, Tino Altavilla 0 0-0 0, Antwone Easter 0 0-0 0, Noah Edwards 0 0-0 0, Simon Peter 0 0-0 0, Khalil White 0 0-0 0, Anthony Hyppolite 0 0-0 0, Anthony Hawk 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 10-21 63.

Nanticoke`10`7`8`24`—`49

GAR`14`15`15`19`—`63

Three-point goals — NAN 8 (Stout 2, Piestrak, Thomas, Sersen 3, Kreitzer); GAR 1 (Crosby-Smith).

Crestwood 57, Berwick 50

BERWICK (50) — Kenneth Marshman 0 2-2 2, Matthew Champ 1 0-0 2, Justin Groshek 0 0-0 0, Jules Beckhorn 0 3-4 3, Max Melito 2 0-0 4, Tyler Evans 4 11-14 22, Jude Goodard 5 0-3 11, Maliek McMillian 2 2-2 6, Joe Norce 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 18-25 50.

CRESTWOOD (57) — Robbie Hopkins 5 6-6 18, Kyle Gegaris 1 1-6 3, Lance Blass 3 0-0 8, Jason Klusewitz 1 0-0 3, Kevin Klusewitz 0 0-0 0, Kyle Richards 1 0-2 2, Tim McCue 0 0-0 0, Mendell Foreman 2 1-4 5, Josh Malkemes 4 2-2 11, Brandon Schmidt 2 2-2 7, Josh Kaminski 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 12-22 57.

Berwick`15`14`1`20`—`50

Crestwood`16`11`9`21`—`57

Three-point goals — BER 4 (Evans 3, Goodard); CRE 7 (Hopkins 2, Blass 2, Malkemes, J. Klusewitz, Schmidt).

Lake-Lehman 48, MMI Prep 35

LAKE-LEHMAN (48) — Walkker Shaw 0 2-2 2, Donnie Thompson 0 0-0 0, Garrett Weston 0 0-0 0, John Pelton 0 2-4 2, C.J. Cercone 0 0-0 0, Joey Vigil 0 0-0 0, Nate Labar 0 0-0 0, Jake Corey 7 1-3 15, Mahmoud Dabsheh 0 0-0 0, Adam Motovidlak 2 0-2 4, Cole Spencer 10 2-2 22, Ben Brooks 1 0-0 3. Totals 20 7-13 48.

MMI PREP (35) — Ed Herbener 3 2-2 10, Jay Solgama 1 0-0 3, Nick Young 0 0-0 0, Matt Marchetti 0 0-0 0, Mike Badamo 0 0-0 0, Brendan Drusda 0 0-0 0, Zack Young 0 0-0 0, George Palermo 0 0-0 0, David Caldwell 0 0-0 0, John Stish 2 0-0 4, Kyle Williams 5 3-4 15, Andrew Alday 1 1-2 3, Keefer Hoover 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 6-8 35.

Lake-Lehman`9`11`12`16`—`48

MMI Prep`10`10`7`8`—`35

Three-point goals — LL 1 (Brooks); MMI 5 (Herbener 2, Williams 2, N. Solgama).

Wyo. Valley West 82, Tunkhannock 45

WYO. VALLEY WEST (82) -- Noah Frace 4 2-3 11, Savion Saunders 5 1-1 11, Aaron Austin 9 1-2 24, Draig Ruff 2 4-6 8, Tyler Yankosky 7 1-1 15, Matt Bobkowski 1 0-0 2, Amistad Hackett 2 1-2 5, Chris Blanco 0 0-0 0, Davis Weaver 2 0-0 4, Marquise Anderscavage 1 0-0 2. Totals 33 10-15 82.

TUNKHANNOCK (45) — Paul DeMarco 0 0-0 0, Avery Newhart 0 0-0 0, Sean Harder 7 2-4 18, Ethan Hoefert 3 0-0 6, Tyler Faux 1 0-0 3, Tony Maloney 2 0-0 6, CJ Brennan 1 0-0 3, Matt Goodwin 0 0-0 0, Avery Billings 0 0-0 0, Evan Turner 0 0-0 0, AC Macko 0 2-4 2. Totals 17 5-10 45.

Wyo. Valley West`17`28`16`21`—`82

Tunkhannock`18`7`12`8`—`45

Three-point goals -- WVW 6 (Frace, Austin 5), TUN 6 (Harder 2, Faux, Maloney 2, Brennan).

Meyers 71, Wyoming Area 42

WYOMING AREA (42) — Anthony Nardell 1 0-0 3, Kyre Zielinski 2 3-4 7, Tony Saitta 5 2-2 13, Matt Wright 1 3-6 5, Sam Greenfield 3 2-2 8, Kyle Musto 0 0-2 0, Mike Bonita 1 0-0 3, PJ Angeli 0 0-0 0, Aaron Zezza 1 0-0 3, Dylan Melberger 0 0-0 0, JJ Neeley 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 10-16 42.

MEYERS (71) — Omar Kelly 1 1-2 4, Simran Mangat 2 1-1 6, Matt Dessoye 4 0-0 12, Juwane Buckner 1 2-3 4, Raheem Tywman 2 0-0 4, Julian Maffei 3 0-0 9, Ryan Gilgallon 2 0-3 4, Levaugn Soules 5 0-0 10, Ryan Wasley 2 0-3 4, Zyon Coleman 0 0-0 , Steve Morel 0 0-0 0, JJ Davidson 1 0-0 2, Willie Wallace 1 0-0 2, Kahl Saunders 2 0-0 5. Totals 28 4-9 71.

Wyoming Area`4`8`15`15`—`42

Meyers`19`17`18`17`—`71

Three-point goals — WA 4 (Nardell, Saitta, Bonita, Zezza), MEY 11 (Kelly, Dessoye 4, Mangat, Saunders, Maffei 3, Gilgallon).

Hazleton Area 68, Pittston Area 47

HAZLETON AREA (68) — Josh Samec 4 0-0 9, Mike Cusatis 2 3-4 7, Shane Planutis 1 2-2 4, Joey Grula 1 0-0 2, Dante Biasi 0 0-0 0, Nolan Genasevich 1 2-2 4, Bobby Planutis 9 5-7 25, Jeff Planutis 4 2-4 10, Da’Mir Faison 3 1-2 7, Jacob Diaz 0 0-0, Davion Reeves 0 0-0 0, Isaiah Santiago 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 15-21 68.

PITTSTON AREA (47) — Jordan Black 1 5-6 7, Dylan Osticco 4 2-2 12, Pat Mitchell 0 0-2 0, Colin Smith 0 0-0 0, Matt McGlynn 3 2-2 11, Mike Mazurkivich 4 0-0 8, Chris Klein 0 3-5 3, Naseem Guillauame 1 0-0 2, Jalen Williams 2 0-0 4, Keemar Woodruff 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 12-17 47.

Hazleton Area`21`11`16`20`—`68

Pittston Area`9`14`8`15`—`47

Three-point goals — HA 3 (Samec, B.Planutis 2), PA 5 (Osticco 2, McGlynn 3).

Coughlin 60, Dallas 57

DALLAS (57) — Collin Pertl 0 0-0 0, Orlando Jones 0 0-0 0, Mason Gattuso 1 0-0 2, Nick Kocher 2 0-0 5, Dalton Gattuso 0 0-0 0, Tanner Gattuso 5 3-3 15, Spencer Bowanko 0 0-0 0, Ben Donahue 5 5-6 17, Alex Charlton 1 0-3 3, Jay Bittner 0 2-2 2, Joey Parsons 2 7-10 11, Ethan Szczencinski 0 2-4 2. Totals 16 19-25 57.

COUGHLIN (60) — Jeremiah Christian 1 1-2 3, Jose Rivera 6 4-9 20, Devin Rajza 9 4-5 29, Nick Cerep 1 0-0 2, Melvin Robinson 1 1-2 3, Charles Cobbs 1 0-0 2, Dominique Flippen 0 1-2 1, Immanuel Adams 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 11-20 60.

Dallas`10`12`15`20`—`57

Coughlin`14`21`6`19`—`60

Three-point goals — DAL 6 (T. Gattuso, Donahue 2, Charlton, Kocher); COU 11 (Rajza 7, Rivera 4).

Wyoming Seminary 55, Northwest 51

WYOMING SEMINARY (55) — Tyler Maddock 0 1-2 1, Noah Munley 0 0-0 0, Patrick Ganter 8 7-8 24, Marshall Bursis 1 1-2 4, Sam Sweitzer 0 0-0 0, Johnny Kehl 2 0-0 4, Nicholas Ganter 42 2 0-0 5, Jeff Bevacqua. Totals 21 10-19 55.

NORTHWEST (51) — Tyler Stevens 0 2-3 2, Neno Agnello 0 0-1 0, Sam Saxe 6 0-0 14, Caleb Diltz 1 0-0 3, Jaxson Yaple 5 0-2 14, Nick Levandowski 1 0-0 2, Mitchell Mazonkey 5 5-6 16. Totals 18 7-12 51.

Wyoming Seminary`3`9`16`27`—`55

Northwest`19`16`11`15`—`51

Three-point goals — SEM 3 (P. Ganter, Bursis, N. Ganter); NW 8 (Yaple 4, Saxe 2, Mazonkey, Diltz).

Northwest 58, Weatherly 43

NORTHWEST (58) — Tyler Stevens 2 2-4 6, Neno Agnello 0 0-0 0, Sam Saxe 8 3-3 24, Caleb Diltz 0 2-2 2, Jaxson Yaple 4 5-8 16, Nick Levandowski 0 0-0 0, Mitchell Mazonkey 3 4-6 10. Totals 17 16-23 58.

WEATHERLY (43) — Moser 1 2-2 5, Dempsey 0 0-0 0, Ecken 0 0-0 0, Stover 2 0-0 4, Bizzare 1 0-0 2, Moon 2 0-0 6, Buck 2 0-0 6, Baremba 7 0-0 20. Totals 15 2-2 43.

GAR’s Justin Crosby-Smith pulls down a rebound in front of Nanticoke’s Ben Sersen during Saturday night’s game.
http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_gar_nan3_faa.jpgGAR’s Justin Crosby-Smith pulls down a rebound in front of Nanticoke’s Ben Sersen during Saturday night’s game. Fred Adams | for Times Leader
GAR’s Dajon Rush tries to knock a loose ball away from Nanticoke’s Cody Piestrak during Saturday night’s game.
http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_gar_nan1_faa.jpgGAR’s Dajon Rush tries to knock a loose ball away from Nanticoke’s Cody Piestrak during Saturday night’s game. Fred Adams | for Times Leader
GARs Keyshawn Palmer grabs a rebound away from Nanticoke’s Brent Pointkowski on Saturday night.
http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_gar_nan5_faa.jpgGARs Keyshawn Palmer grabs a rebound away from Nanticoke’s Brent Pointkowski on Saturday night. Fred Adams | for Times Leader
Nanticokes Justin Casey passes the ball off after getting control of it as GAR's Will Johnson tries to knock it away --------------Fred Adams|for Times Leader 2-6-16
http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_gar_nan2_faa.jpgNanticokes Justin Casey passes the ball off after getting control of it as GAR's Will Johnson tries to knock it away --------------Fred Adams|for Times Leader 2-6-16Fred Adams | for Times Leader
Nanticokes Bent Pointkowski takes a shot over GARS Justin Crosby --------------Fred Adams|for Times Leader 2-6-16
http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_gar_nan4_faa.jpgNanticokes Bent Pointkowski takes a shot over GARS Justin Crosby --------------Fred Adams|for Times Leader 2-6-16Fred Adams | for Times Leader

By John Erzar

[email protected]

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar

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