District 2 Basketball Tournament (Boys 6A Preview)

Written by: on Monday, February 17th, 2020

 

 

BOYS CLASS AAAAAA 2/4 Subregional

 

(1) Hazleton Area (13-9) bye

(2) Wilkes-Barre Area (14-10) bye

(3) Williamsport (8-14) bye

(4) Scranton (9-13) vs. (5) Delaware Valley (8-14)  

 

FAVORITE:  Wilkes-Barre Area             

KEEP AN EYE ON:  Hazleton Area, Williamsport           

DON’T COUNT OUT:  Scranton   

BEST SEMI-FINAL:  Wilkes-Barre Area vs. Williamsport         

THE NITTY-GRITTY:   

     On paper, the Boys 6A tourney may not jump out as being one of the more competitive brackets in the district this year.  But a closer look reveals a pair of teams looking to reverse late season slumps and pair of teams surging at just the right time.  And that’s going to make for a wide-open race.  Top-seed Hazleton Area, who appeared headed to another Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 championship a few weeks ago, ended their season at 1-5, losing to Williamsport, Pittston Area, Dallas, Wilkes-Barre Area, and Crestwood.  The Cougars struggled to find victories on their home floor, going 4-8 this season and being unable to close out games in which they held leads.  They dropped a pair of games to #2 seed Wilkes-Barre Area and dropped a 56-43 loss to Williamsport at the end of January.  The Cougars have several underclassmen which have developed very well throughout the season.  They are an athletic squad that can run the floor well.  Senior point guard Andrew Vayda is their floor general and hits 11.3 ppg.  Another key senior is 6-2 guard Scotty Campbell (14.8 ppg and over 50 triples).  As he goes often dictates how his team performs.  In the paint, Mike Joseph has a pair of rising junior forwards in 6-4 Angel Cruz (9 ppg) and 6-3 Dewin Concepcion (7.8 ppg).  Additional players include senior guard Kevin Gil, junior forward Chris Garcia, and 6-2 freshman guard Brett AntolickWilkes-Barre Area just missed the top spot and comes in at the #2 seed.  After starting the season at 2-5 amid a challenging slate of games, the Wolfpack began to find some cohesion and finished the season on a strong 9-2 upswing.  This is an athletic squad that has a terrific balance of both perimeter and post ability.  And, with an all junior lineup, the Pack will be looking to establish themselves a 6A district powerhouse.  Inside, they feature 6-3 Cole Walker (12.8 ppg), 6-4 Brandon Hall (11.8 ppg), and 6-4 Blake Masker (10 ppg).  Jack Gilgallon (6-5) provides some solid depth.  In the backcourt, WBA has their speedy point guard Saquan Portee (4.3 ppg, 18 triples).  He can leave defenders scratching their head with some of his lightning-quick fakes and drives to the bucket.  Head coach Pat Toole also has guard Matt Egidio who contributes 4.9 ppg.  Williamsport comes in at the #3 position.  Do not be fooled by their modest record of 8-14.  The Millionaires always play one of the toughest schedules in the entire state and this year was no different.  Hoops fans will know the reputations of programs such as Reading, York, Prep Charter, Harrisburg, Pottsville, Lancaster McCaskey, Danville, Loyalsock Township, Susquehanna Township, as wells as District 2 powers like Abington Heights, Crestwood, and Scranton Prep.  And, as the calendar turned toward February, Port began to show tremendous progress in making an extra pass, sharing the ball, and running the floor efficiently.  This is a team with steadily-improving chemistry and depth.  Senior point guard Ahmir Ellzy averages 11 ppg.  He is an unselfish player who now prides himself as being an assist leader.  Nassir Jones, a 6-2 junior forward, is another standout player.  Cole Johnson, a 6-4 senior forward, is also a key contributor.  The Cherry and White also feature junior guard James Evans-McQuay and sophomore guard Kenon Brown.  Senior guard Conner Nyman has been excellent off the bench. Scranton, who competes in Wednesday’s quarter-final game, is the #4 seed.  The Knights would love the flip their success from a season-ending 1-6 slide.  They play in the rugged Lackawanna League Division 1 and get balanced scoring from several talented underclassmen.  Kevin Lazdowsky (6-2 junior forward) leads the way with 14.3 ppg.  A pair of guards have combined for 78 triples – sophomore Jason Shields (14.7 ppg) and junior Patrick McCormack (6.7 ppg).  They also get a combined 10.1 ppg from junior guard John Rose and sophomore guard AJ Dinterman.  Scranton is a well-coached that can play mistake-free deliberate basketball.  They will take on #5 seed Delaware Valley.  They Warriors also endured a late season losing streak, but bounced back with wins over Western Wayne and Honesdale to end their season.  Jackson Shafer, their 6-4 senior forward, hits 20.2 ppg and has 39 treys.  On the perimeter, Mark Cavallaro (junior guard) hits 6.2 ppg and has 36 triples.  Del-Val also has junior forward Mike Leonardo (5.4 ppg, 16 triples) and senior Jackson Melnick (3.4 ppg).  Delaware Valley hosted Scranton in a mid-January division crossover game and prevailed for a 64-60 win.  Look for this one to once-again be decided in the closing moments.  Only the winner of the 4A sub-regional advances to the state playoffs.      

 

                     

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