Wyoming Valley West’s defense comes up big against Crestwood


Crestwood’s Lance Blass passes the ball while being defended by Wyoming Valley West’s Amistad Hackett (22) and Aaron Austin (12) Tuesday night.


Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Wyoming Valley West’s Noah Frace has his shot blocked by Crestwood’s Noah Jackson.


Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Wyoming Valley West’s Sean Judge dribbles down the court as Crestwood’s Noah Jackson defends.


Sean McKeag | Times Leader

PLYMOUTH — Wyoming Valley West’s offense wasn’t as potent as it’s been this month. The defense didn’t play like it has in February, either.

The latter wasn’t a bad thing Tuesday night.

Known for giving up plenty of points, the Spartans instead clamped down Crestwood’s offense for a 55-45 victory in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 boys basketball game.

Valley West (8-7 Div. 1, 11-10 overall) was averaging 81.4 points in five games this month. The Spartans had topped 75 points seven times this season, including non-conference games, to pace all WVC teams. The defense, though, had allowed over 80 points in a WVC-high four times.

So some “D” was a welcomed sight as Valley West will head into the inaugural District 2 Class 5A playoffs seeded anywhere from third to fifth depending how the final week of the WVC and Lackawanna League seasons play out.

The key was the third quarter. Valley West took a 27-23 lead into the locker room on the strength of a 9-3 run to close out the second quarter. The Spartans, though, didn’t score for the first five minutes of the third yet Crestwood (11-4, 14-7) was only able to tie the score.

Then Valley West guard Aaron Austin started launching in 3-pointers and the Spartans went on a run to build a 45-30 lead less than two minutes into the fourth quarter. Turnovers and a cold spell of nearly six minutes hurt Crestwood.

“That third quarter, we held them to four and that was the turning point,” Valley West coach Rich Jones said. “We came out and knew we had to keep pressuring them. Aaron Austin hit some key shots there, a couple threes. We forced them to have turnovers, but we kept our turnovers down.”

Crestwood chipped away, getting within nine once only to have Valley West’s Draig Ruff answer from the field or the foul line. Ruff finished with 15 and Austin had 17. Savion Saunders came off the bench and contributed seven rebounds to offset Crestwood’s early advantage on the board.

Noah Jackson paced Crestwood with 11 points. The Comets have lost three in a row — the others to Division 2 leader GAR and Division 1 champion Hazleton Area. The had 14 turnovers in the middle quarters.

“This was the toughest part of our schedule,” Crestwood coach Mark Atherton said. “You knew it could be this way, but you certainly want to come out feeling better after the three games. Our problem right now is we can’t play Hazleton tough and do everything we did there — and I want to give Valley West credit — but not come out with the same intensity.”

The loss won’t likely affect Crestwood’s seeding in the D2-5A playoffs as the Comets are locked in the second spot.

Dallas 58,

Coughlin 33

Joey Parsons scored a game-high 18 to lead Dallas past Coughlin. Alex Charlton added 14 points in the win.

Both Dominique Flippen and Aaron Bennett scored 10 points for Coughlin.

Holy Redeemer 66,

Northwest 34

Holy Redeemer’s Jason Stachokus connected on six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 24 points as the Royals clinched the WVC Division 3 title. Both Sam Saxe and Jaxson Yaple scored nine points for Northwest.

The Royals shutout Northwest 22-0 in the fourth quarter to help seal the 32-point victory.

Hazleton Area 77,

Pittston Area 53

The Cougars clinched the WVC Division 1 title after a big win over Pittston Area.

Hazleton Area’s Jeffrey Planutis led the way with 16 points, while Michael Cusatis, Joey Grula and Issac Perez each scored 11 for the victory.

Chris Klein and Mike Mazurkivich each scored 12 points for Pittston Area.

Wyoming Area 56,

GAR 38

Wyoming Area’s Sam Greenfield scored 17 points as the Warriors prevented GAR from clinching at least a tie for the Division 2 title. Anthony Nardell added 12 points in the win.

Will Johnson sank four 3-pointers en route to a 17-point effort for GAR, which can win the championship with a win against Meyers on Thursday.

Nanticoke Area 75,

Tunkhannock 37

Luke Butczynski scored all 13 of his points in the opening quarter and the Trojans placed four players in double figures while coasting to victory.

Nate Kreitzer added three 3-point field goals in the first quarter as Nanticoke Area rolled to a 15-point lead, and wound up with 11 points.

Cody Piestrak hit three treys in the third quarter and led everyone with 14 points, and Rich Wiaterowski scored 10 points in the victory.

Meyers 75,

Berwick 62

Matt Dessoye scored 25 points as the Mohawks rolled to victory.

Jawane Buckner scored 12 of his 20 points over the first two quarters while leading Meyers to a 36-20 halftime lead, and Levaugn Soules scored eight of his 14 points in the third quarter.

Damon Beckhorn led the Bulldogs with a game-high 30 points, and Matt Champ scored 14 in the defeat.

MMI Prep 63,

Hanover Area 54

Philip Byriel scored 31 points, including 24 in the second half, as the Preppers rallied for victory over Hanover Area.

With MMI trailing 21-18 at halftime, Byriel hit for 14 points in the third quarter to boost the Preppers into a 41-33 lead.

Matt Marchetti scored all 13 of his points in the second half of the victory.

Desmond McCance scored 18 points for the Hawkeyes and Mike Piscotty finished with in the loss.

Wyoming Seminary 49,

Lake-Lehman 20

Dimitri Gnall scored a game-high 20 points for Wyoming Seminary.

Garrett Weston and Cole Spencer each scored six points for the Black Knights.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Wyo. Val. West 55, Crestwood 45

CRESTWOOD (45) — Kyle Gegaris 3 2-2 8, Lance Blass 1 2-6 5, Kevin Klusewitz 3 0-0 7, Kyle Richards 2 0-1 4, Sean Murphy 0 2-3 0, Camden Boris 0 0-0 0, Nick Andrews 0 0-0 0, Mike Ayala 1 0-0 2, Mike Kozelsky 1 0-0 3, Noah Jackson 5 1-2 11, Evan Knapp 1 1-2 3. Totals 17 8-16 45.

WVW (55) — Sean Judge 4 0-0 8, Savion Saunders 0 2-2 2, Aaron Austiin 6 0-1 17, Draig Ruff 5 5-6 15, Amistad Hackett 3 0-0 7, Noah Frace 2 1-2 6, Montel Jordan 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 8-11 55.

Crestwood`13`10`4`18`—`45

WVW`11`16`8`20`—`55

Three-point goals — CRE 3 (Blass, Klusewitz, Kozelsky), WVW 7 (Austin 5, Hackett, Frace).

Dallas 58, Coughlin 33

COUGHLIN (33) — Dominique Flippen 4 2-7 10, Aaron Bennett 3 1-2 10, Charles Cobbs 3 0-0 6, Melin Robinson 2 0-2 4, Thomas Davis 1 0-0 3, Idris Hollis 0 0-0 0, Marco Deluca 0 0-0 0, Tony Edigio 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 3-11 33.

DALLAS (58) — Joey Parsons 7 2-2 18, Alex Charlton 4 4-4 14, Ben Donahue 3 0-0 8, Michael Farrell 3 0-2 6, Nick Kocher 1 2-3 4, Collin Pertl 1 0-0 3, Ethan Szczencinski 1 0-0 2, Jacob Serafin 1 0-0 2, Andrew Kovalick 0 1-2 1, Ben O’Connell 0 0-0 0, Steven Finarelli 0 0-0 0, Matt Mathers 0 0-0 0, Zach CHartlon 0 0-0 0, Brody Strickland 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 9-13 58.

Coughlin`7`4`17`5`—`33

Dallas`16`22`7`13`—`58

Three-point goals — COU 4 (Bennett 3, Davis); DAL 7 (Charlton 2, Parson 2, Kovalick 2, Pertl).

Holy Redeemer 66, Northwest 34

HOLY REDEEMER (66) — Jason Stachokus 7 4-4 24, Collin Cook 4 0-0 9, Joe Layaou 3 1-2 8, Nick Prociak 3 2-2 8, Joey Judge 2 1-2 5, Mike Lyons 2 0-0 5, Bryce Yencha 1 0-0 3, Jake Adonizio 1 0-0 2, JD Turosky 1 0-0 2, James Kosik 0 0-0 0, Luke Nealon 0 0-0 0, Anthony Khoudary 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 8-10 66.

NORTHWEST (34) — Sam Saxe 3 2-2 9, Jaxson Yaple 3 0-0 9, Jesse Tarnowski 2 0-0 5, Nick Levandowski 1 0-0 3, Bryce Koser 1 0-0 3, Mitchell Mazonkey 1 0-0 2, Tyler Stevens 0 0-0 0, Walker Yaple 0 0-0 0, Ethan Harvey 0 0-0 0, Matt Saxe 0 0-0 0, Marty Zugarek 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 2-2 34.

Holy Redeemer`17`18`9`22`—`66

Northwest`10`9`15`0`—`34

Three-point goals — HR 10 (Stachokus 6, Layaou, Yencha, Lyons, Cook); NW 7 (J. Yaple 3, S. Saxe, Levandowski, Tarnowski, Kosler).

Hazleton Area 77, Pittston Area 53

PITTSTON AREA (53) — Chris Klein 4 1-3 12, Naseem Guillaume 5 0-0 10, Sevion Leak 1 0-0 2, Kolton Zaffuto 2 0-0 6, Keemar Woodruff 1 0-0 2, Brennan Higgins 1 0-0 3, Matt McGlynn 2 0-0 5, Andrew Krawczyk 0 0 -0 0, Mike Mazurkivich 6 0-0 12, Justin Coyne 0 0-0 0, Pat Mitchell 0 1-2 1. Totals 22 2-5 53.

HAZLETON AREA (77) — Josh Samec 2 0-0 4, Michael Cusatis 4 1-2 11, Sparky Wolk 1 0-0 3, Aarom Kellmer 0 0-0 0, Joey Grula 4 1-3 11, Nolan Genasevich 3 0-0 6, Scott Shamany 0 0-0 0, Isaac Perez 5 0-0 11, Jeff Planutis 12 0-0 16, Nathan Begg 3 0-0 6, Frank Mussoline 4 0-0 9. Totals 33 2-5 88.

Pittston Area`17`8`11`17`—`53

Hazleton Area`20`26`18`13`—`77

Three-point goals — PA 7 (Klein 3, Zaffuto 2, Higgins, McGlynn); HAZ 9 (Cusatis 2, Wolk, Grula 2, Perez, Planutis 2, Mussoline).

Wyoming Area 56, GAR 38

GAR (38) — Will Johnson 5 3-4 17, Keyshawn Palmer 4 1-5 10, Andrew Campbell 1 1-2 4, Herman Suazo 2 0-0 4, Kahlil White 1 0-0 3, Anthony Hawk 0 0-0 0, Eli Ruiz 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 5-11 38.

WYOMING AREA (56) — Sam Greenfield 7 1-3 17, Anthony Nardell 2 7-8 12, Tony Saitta 2 3-4 9, Matt Wright 3 2-2 8, Kyrie Zielinski 2 3-4 7, Mike Bonita 0 3-6 3, Aaron Zezza 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 19-27 56.

GAR`9`5`11`13`—`38

Wyoming Area`12`9`12`23`—`56

Three-point goals — GAR 7 (Johnson 4, Palmer, Campbell); WA 5 (Greenfield 2, Saitta 2, Nardel).

Nanticoke Area 75, Tunkhannock 37

NANTICOKE AREA (75) — Nate Kreitzer 4 0-0 11, Rich Witerowski 4 0-0 10, Cody Piestrak 5 0-0 14, Trahjan Krupinski 2 0-1 4, Luke Butczynski 4 2-2 13, Zach Cardone 1 0-0 3, Alec Divers 1 1-1 3, Matt Piontkowski 2 1-2 5, Dylan Szychowski 0 0-0 0, Terrel Telesford 2 0-0 6, Justin Casey 3 0-0 6, Colby Butczynski 0 0-0 0, Jared Piontkowski 0 0-3 0. Totals 28 4-9 75.

TUNKHANNOCK (37) — Avery Newhart 2 0-0 6, Paul DeMarco 1 0-0 3, Stefano Sica 1 0-0 2, Sean Harder 3 0-0 6, Andres Mendez 1 0-0 2, Ethan Hoefert 2 1-2 5, Tyler Faux 2 0-0 5, Nick Reposa 0 0-0 0, C.J. Brennan 0 0-0 0, Logan Helsel 0 0-0 0, C.J. Wright 0 0-0 0, Matt Goodwin 0 0-0 0, Zach Rogers 0 0-0 0, Avery Billings 0 0-0 0, Evan Turner 2 0-0 4, A.C. Macko 1 2-2 4. Totals 15 3-4 37.

Nanticoke Area`26`11`19`19`—`75

Tunkhannock`11`5`12`9`—`37

Three-point goals — NAN 15 (Piestrak 4, Kreitzer 3, L. Butczynski 3, Wiaterowski 2, Telesford 2, Cardone); TUN 4 (Newhart 2, Faux, DeMarco).

Meyers 75, Berwick 62

MEYERS (75) — Yuri Cuvington 2 0-0 4, Robbie Formola 3 0-0 6, Matt Dessoye 9 6-6 25, Matt Manfre 0 0-0 0, Jawane Buckner 8 3-3 20, Steve Morel 1 0-0 3, Levaugn Soules 5 1-2 12, Ryan Gilgallon 2 0-0 5, Gabriel Springer 0 0-0 0. Totals 30 10-11 75.

BERWICK (62) — Justin Groshek 0 0-0 0, Ken Marshman 1 0-0 2, Matt Champ 4 3-4 14, Alex Markle 2 1-1 5, Damon Beckhorn 12 2-4 30, Jude Goddard 4 2-2 11. Totals 23 8-11 62.

Meyers`24`12`21`18`—`75

Berwick`15`5`17`25`—`62

Three-point goals — MEY 5 (Dessoye, Buckner, Morel, Soules, Gilgallon); BER 8 (Beckhorn 4, Champ 3, Goddard).

MMI Prep 63, Hanover Area 54

HANOVER AREA (54) — Luis Rivera 1 1-2 3, Abaad Hamlet 1 0-0 2, Tyler Diggs 4 2-4 10, Mike Piscotty 5 3-4 14, Devin Senk 0 0-0 0, Evan Materna 3 0-0 7, Desmond McCance 7 2-2 18, Manny Adams 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 8-12 54.

MMI PREP (63) — George Palermo 0 0-0 0, Nick Young 0 2-2 2, Philip Byriel 13 2-5 31, Zach Young 1 0-0 2, Kisan Patel 1 1-2 3, Matt Marchetti 4 4-4 13, Marcus Kassick 1 1-2 3, Kyle Williams 2 1-2 7, Lucas Smith 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 11-17 63.

Hanover Area`7`14`12`21`—`54

MMI Prep`12`6`23`22`—`63

Three-point goals — HAN 4 (McCance 2, Piscotty, Materna); MMI 6 (Byriel 3, Williams 2, Marchetti).

Wyoming Seminary 49, Lake-Lehman 20

LAKE-LEHMAN (20) — Garret Weston 2 2-2 6, Cole Spencer 3 0-0 6, Mahmoud Dabsheh 2 0-0 4, Walkker Shaw 1 0-0 2, Clovis Luz 1 0-0 2, Tyler Scharff 0 0-0 0, John Pelton 0 0-0 0, CJ Cercone 0 0-0 0, Nate Labar 0 0-0 0, Adam Motovidlak 0 0-0 0, Dakota Heinrich 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 2-2 20.

WYOMING SEMINARY (49) — Dimitri Gnall 9 1-1 20, Todd Phillips 4 0-0 8, Jeremy Callahan 1 4-4 7, Tyler Maddock 3 0-0 6, Nicholas Gunter 3 0-0 6, Samir Singh 1 0-0 2, Nicolas Bufalino 0 0-0 0, Noah Hammerman 0 0-0 0, Ryan Anderson 0 0-0 0, Alex Meuser 0 0-0 0, Johnny Kehl 0 0-0 0, Dan Paglia 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 5-5 49.

Lake-Lehman`4`6`6`4`—`20

Wyoming Seminary`11`13`16`9`—`49

Three-point goals — LL 0; WS 2 (Callahan, Gnall).

Crestwood’s Lance Blass passes the ball while being defended by Wyoming Valley West’s Amistad Hackett (22) and Aaron Austin (12) Tuesday night.
http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/web1_TTL021517HSBBCrestWVW1.jpgCrestwood’s Lance Blass passes the ball while being defended by Wyoming Valley West’s Amistad Hackett (22) and Aaron Austin (12) Tuesday night. Sean McKeag | Times Leader
Wyoming Valley West’s Noah Frace has his shot blocked by Crestwood’s Noah Jackson.
http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/web1_TTL021517HSBBCrestWVW2.jpgWyoming Valley West’s Noah Frace has his shot blocked by Crestwood’s Noah Jackson. Sean McKeag | Times Leader
Wyoming Valley West’s Sean Judge dribbles down the court as Crestwood’s Noah Jackson defends.
http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/web1_TTL021517HSBBCrestWVW3.jpgWyoming Valley West’s Sean Judge dribbles down the court as Crestwood’s Noah Jackson defends. Sean McKeag | 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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