District 2 Boys 4A Championship Recap (1-Dallas vs. 2-Mid Valley)

Written by: on Sunday, March 6th, 2022

 

 

March 5, 2022

 

Mountaineers Hold Off Spartan’s 2nd Half Run

 

Dallas 61, Mid Valley 53

 

By Phil T.

WILKES-BARRE – Late in the third quarter, a Gabe Tanner triple not only erased a ten-point halftime deficit but also gave Mid Valley their first lead since the opening stanza.  But, as they proved earlier, Dallas would quickly recover.  And with an acrobatic Nick Nocito putback at the buzzer, the Mountaineers were able to retake the lead, maintain momentum, and secure a 61-53 PIAA District 2 Boys 4A championship victory.
Michael Bufalino got the game going with a mid-range jumper for the Mounts, but Spartan buckets from Richard Vinansky and Danny Nemtiz set the stage for an exciting opening eight minutes as both teams traded the lead six times.  A late Nemtiz triple, his second of the quarter, seemed to set Mid Valley up for an early lead, but late jumpers from Austin Finarelli and Michael Cumbo would secure a one-point Dallas lead after the opening frame, 13-12.
As the clock resumed, the Dallas offense kept running with another Cumbo bucket and a Jackson Wydra putback as the Mountaineers went on an 8-0 run over to establish an early 17-12 lead.
Nemitz would put an end to the run with a bucket in the paint, but that would be the last Spartan field-goal until he would sink another shot with less than a minute to play in the half.  Over that span, the Mountaineers would strike again as Bufalino would bookend the Mountaineers 9-0 with buckets in the paint.  That run would give Dallas a 14-point, but a Nemitz bucket and a Jovani Crisafulli trip to the foul line would cut the Dallas lead to ten points (29-19) as both teams headed for the locker rooms.
The Spartans would come out of the break with a resurgence in energy with two buckets including Nemitz’s third triple of the game, cutting the deficit to four.  Dallas would maintain their advantage until Mid Valley ran off seven straight points, capitalized by a Tanner layup and successful “and 1” free throw that tied the game at 36.
Bufalino would put Dallas back on top, but on the ensuing Spartan possession, Tanner would sink a triple to give Mid Valley a 39-38 lead sending their fans into a frenzy.
Over the final two and half minutes of the third period, both teams would match each other shot-for-shot.  In the closing seconds Dallas would fire off a deep three, but a lucky bounce found Nocito in time to grab the rebound and flip it back into the hoop before the buzzer for a 46-44 lead.
Nocito’s buzzer beater sparked an 8-0 run as Dallas regained their previous advantage and took a 52-44 lead early in the final quarter.
Tanner would hit another triple to cut the Mid Valley deficit to five points but that would be the final field-goal of the game for the Spartans.  After shooting an incredible 73% from the field in the first three frames, Nemtiz’s hot hand went cold and failed to make any of his five shots in the fourth quarter.
With the Spartan offense sputtering, the Mountaineers were able to secure their 61-53 victory and win the District 2 4A Boys’ Championship.
Michael Cumbo led his team to victory with 18 points to go with five rebounds in the contest.  With a wrapped, injured right hand, Austin Finarelli would still find a way to score 14 points for his team.  Michael Bufalino controlled the paint for Dallas bring down seven rebounds, three being of the offensive variety in addition to his 13 points. Nick Nocito made his presence felt throughout the game scoring nine points, grabbing five boards and dishing out four assists.
Danny Nemitz led all scorers with 24 points in the loss for Mid Valley Gabe Tanner added 13 points, all of which came after halftime.
Regardless of the result both teams had already secured their spots in the upcoming PIAA 4A State Tournament
Dallas will host the third-place team from District 4, Shamokin Area, on Tuesday.  Mid Valley will take on the second-place team from District 4, Athens, at Lackawanna College, also on Tuesday.

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