Nanticoke Area advances to states semifinals


Nanticoke tops West Philadelphia

Nanticoke Area’s Trahjan Krupinski scores two of his eight points against West Philadelphia.


Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Nanticoke’s Rich Wiaterowski dribbles past a West Philadelphia defender during Sunday’s PIAA Class 4A boys basketball quarterfinal game at Bethlehem Freedom High School.


Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Nanticoke Area’s Nate Kreitzer scores on a layup in the first half against West Philadelphia.


Tony Callaio | For Times Leader


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    BETHLEHEM — As that big lead was whittled to two points, the Nanticoke Area Trojans went back to what gave them the advantage Sunday afternoon.

    Cody Piestrak opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and closed out a 10-3 run with another as Nanticoke Area defeated West Philadelphia 78-62 in a PIAA Class 4A boys basketball quarterfinal game at Bethlehem Freedom High School.

    Piestrak scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as Nanticoke Area outscored West Philly 30-17 in the final period. He had 12 points in the fourth quarter in an opening-round win against Bethlehem Catholic, also at Freedom.

    “I guess it’s just the gym. I don’t know,” Piestrak said.

    Sophomore guard Nate Kreitzer also scored 20 f0r Nanticoke Area.

    District 2 third seed Nanticoke Area (21-7) will play D12 champion Imhotep Charter (29-2) on Tuesday in the semifinals at a site and time to be determined. Imhotep defeated D12 third seed Audenried 70-51 Sunday. The 3A state championship game is 2 p.m. Saturday at the Giant Center in Hershey. D12 fourth seed West Philly ended its campaign at 15-10.

    Nanticoke Area led before the game clock even started. West Philly was hit with a technical foul for a dunk in pregame warmups. Nate Kreitzer hit the first of two free throws to give the Trojans a 1-0 lead.

    Then came the barrage of 3-pointers from Nanticoke Area. Luke Butczynski hit his first five attempts from behind the arc. Piestrak added another — Nanticoke Area’s fifth 3-pointer in a row — for a 16-3 lead midway through the first quarter.

    “I hit my first one, then the next one came,” said Butczynski, who scored 15 of his 18 points in the first quarter. “I knew I was going to be hot for this game, so I waited for my guys to get me the ball.”

    Kreitzer finished off the first eight minutes with a 3-pointer for a 26-12 Nanticoke Area lead. The Trojans shot 9 of 14 fom the field in the period.

    “It gave everybody confidence right off the bat,” Nanticoke Area coach John Beggs said. “Luke Butczynski took the bull by the horns and it showed we weren’t going to back down.”

    The Trojans cooled off in the second quarter and didn’t hit a shot until Kreitzer’s drive at 4:25. West Philly used the lull to make progress on the double-digit deficit. The Speedboys, though, continued to struggle from the field. After shooting 5 of 16 in the first quarter, they followed with a 4 of 16 performance in the second.

    West Philly chipped away, cutting the deficit to 47-45 on a 3-pointer by Aaron Harrison to end the third quarter. Piestrak, though, got Nanticoke Area out of its funk with a 3-pointers to start the fourth quarter. The Trojans pulled away with some easy baskets down the stretch.

    NOTES: Nanticoke Area advanced to the Class 3A state quarterfinals three times in the 1990s — 1992, 1995 and 1996. … The program advanced to a state championship game once in the post-merger (mid-1960s) era when it lost to Erie Strong Vincent in the 3A title game 70-53 in 1985. … Prior to this season, Nanticoke Area’s last appearance in the state playoffs was in 2003. … Imhotep has won four state championships. The Panthers won the 2A title three times (2009, 2011, 2012) and the 3A crown once (2013). Since Philadelphia (District 12) joined the PIAA in the 2005-06 school year, it has won 21 of 44 boys basketball state championships.

    PIAA Class 4A Quarterfinals

    Nanticoke 78, West Philadelphia 62

    NANTICOKE (78) — Nate Kreitzer 8 3-4 20, Rich Wiaterowski 0 0-0 0, Cody Piestrak 7 2-2 20, Luke Butczynski 6 1-2 18, Justin Casey 2 3-4 7, Trahjan Krupinski 4 0-3 8, Zack Cardone 1 0-0 3, Alec Divers 1 0-0 2, Matt Piontkowski 0 0-0 0, Tyler Thomas 0 0-0 0, Dyan Syzchowski 0 0-0 0, Terrel Telesford 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 9-15 78.

    WEST PHILA. (62) — Maxwell Brown 3 0-2 9, Cyrie Coates 3 3-7 10, Malik Lorenzano 6 2-6 14, Aaron Harrison 1 0-0 3, Latrell Carroll 4 1-2 9, Dymeir Shackelford 5 0-0 15, Ashante Williamson 1 0-0 2, Leon Wells 0 0-0 0, Addison Hart 0 0-0 0, Robert Mason 0 0-0 0, Zach Payton 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 6-21 62.

    Nanticoke`24`11`10`30`—`78

    West Phila.`12`13`20`17`—`62

    Three-point goals — NAN 11 (Kreitzer, Butczynski 5, Piestrak 4, Cardone 1). WP 10 (Brown 3, Coates, Shackelford 5, Harrison).

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    Nanticoke Area’s Trahjan Krupinski scores two of his eight points against West Philadelphia.
    http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_Nanticoke-WPhilly-1.jpgNanticoke Area’s Trahjan Krupinski scores two of his eight points against West Philadelphia. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
    Nanticoke’s Rich Wiaterowski dribbles past a West Philadelphia defender during Sunday’s PIAA Class 4A boys basketball quarterfinal game at Bethlehem Freedom High School.
    http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_Nanticoke-WPhilly-3.jpgNanticoke’s Rich Wiaterowski dribbles past a West Philadelphia defender during Sunday’s PIAA Class 4A boys basketball quarterfinal game at Bethlehem Freedom High School. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
    Nanticoke Area’s Nate Kreitzer scores on a layup in the first half against West Philadelphia.
    http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_Nanticoke-WPhilly-2.jpgNanticoke Area’s Nate Kreitzer scores on a layup in the first half against West Philadelphia. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
    Nanticoke tops West Philadelphia

    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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