District 2 Boys 5A Quarter-final Recap (North Pocono vs. Pittston Area)

Written by: on Saturday, March 6th, 2021

 

March 5, 2021

 

Trojans Hold Off Late Patriot Surge

 

North Pocono 73, Pittston Area 65

 

By. Phil T.

MOSCOWNorth Pocono was able to stave off a late Patriot push in the final period to secure their spot in the District 2 Boys’ AAAAA semifinals.

After establishing a double-digit lead in the second stanza, the Trojans began to get sloppy, turning the ball over six times and shooting a modest 65% from the foul line in the final period as their lead shrank to six points on two occasions in the closing minutes.  But the deficit proved to be a bit too much for Pittston Area to overcome as they fell to North Pocono, 73-65.

The Trojans jumped out of the gate fast and took control scoring four of the game’s five opening baskets.

The Patriots were able to keep pace due to Jack Locker’s lethal shooting from beyond the arc.  Locker made PA’s first three shots of the game, all triples, to keep the deficit to one-point until back-to-back buckets from Anthony Cencetti gave the Pats a 13-12 advantage midway through the opening quarter.

The lead would not last, however, as Pittston Area was winding down the clock for the final shot of the period, Ryan Ruddy was able to pick Matt Johnson’s pocket for the steal and flip it ahead to Matt Kowalski running down the court for a layup with seconds remaining in the opening stanza, to tie the game at 16.

Riding the hot hand, Ryan Ruddy dished the ball to Chris Walsh on the wing for a triple, at the start of the second quarter, reclaiming the lead for the Trojans.

Later in the period, NP found a team-wide groove as four players scored en route to a 10-0 run extending their lead to double-digits, 31-20.  After the halftime break, the Trojans would go on another 10-0 run in the third quarter as they expanded their advantage even further, 48-31.

As the North Pocono’s lead grew, the Patriots offensive woes continued as shot after shot missed the mark.  Over the first five minutes of the second half, Pittston Area was only able to sink one field goal as they could only watch their opponents pull away.

Facing a potential season ending deficit of 13 points heading into the last eight minutes of the game the Patriots got aggressive on defense and although they found success, the deficit proved too much to overcome.  North Pocono was able to get into the free throw bonus less than three minutes into the final period and several minutes later they were in the double bonus.  Through the final stanza, NP converted 20 attempts from the foul line.

The Trojan’s success was distributed evenly throughout their lineup sheet as four players reached double-digits in points, led by Damarco Maglio with 18, and received ten points off the bench.  Ryan Ruddy facilitated the offense, assisting on six buckets and adding 15 points of his own to go with six rebounds and three steals on the opposite end of the court.

The Patriots were able to keep pace largely due the team’s nine triples, six by Jack Locker who finished with a game-high 24 points.

Next up on the docket for the No. 3 seed North Pocono is a trip to face No. 2 Abington Heights on Tuesday.  The Trojans lost their only meeting to the Comets earlier this season as they fell to AH on the road, 60-45.  NP will be hoping for another stellar performance from Zach Walsh who scored 29 points the game.

Pittston Area’s season ends at 9-10 as the Patriots will graduate a pair of starters in Matt Johnson and David Behm.

 

Special thanks to the North Pocono Athletic Department for allowing LLHoops to cover tonight’s game.

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