District 2 Boys 5A Quarter-Final Recap (Pittston Area vs. Valley View)

Written by: on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022

 

 

February 22, 2022

 

Pittston Area Holds on Late to Prevent Upset

 

Pittston Area 49, Valley View 47

 

By Phil T.

YATESVILLE – The Patriots overcame some late turnovers and a relentless effort by Valley View to secure a 49-47 victory booking their place in the District 2 Boys AAAAA Semifinals.
While Valley View may have entered the night regarded as the underdog to the top-seeded Patriots, once the ball was tipped-off, all ratings and seeds went out the door.
The Cougars would get on the board first with an A.J. Kucharski mid-range jumper while the Patriots had a bit slower start in contest turning the ball over three times before Dom Januzzi’s layup got PA on the board.
Pittston Area would not take a lead in the opening stanza as a pair of putbacks from Dominic Memo would put Valley View on top after the opening quarter, 9-7.
Anthony Cencetti would tie the game early in the second period with a layup off a steal and J.J. Walsh would give Pittston Area their first lead with a pair of foul shots.  A third Memo putback would knot the game for the fifth (and final time time) as the Patriots would continue their run, starting the frame on a 10-2 run.  Two triples from LV Pegula would allow the Cougars to claw back into the game heading into halftime trailing 19-17.
Pittston Area struggled with Valley View’s aggressive defense earlier in the game, but the tables turned early in the second half as the Cougars foul tally increased sending the Patriots to the charity stripe ten times in the frame.
Valley View was able to stymy the Patriot offense as they held Walsh without a field-goal until the 6:12 mark in the third stanza.  But the senior guard found his mid-range jump shooting groove scoring ten points in the frame with two triples, including a buzzer-beater that gave PA a 37-31 advantage heading into the final frame.
Valley View’s foul troubles continued as they picked up six team fouls in the opening six minutes.  Pittston appeared poised to take control of the game at the charity stripe, but they then ended the third stanza with eight team fouls, five of them coming within the last 2:09 of the quarter. 
Walsh would (again) successfully convert his opportunities from the foul stripe to the final period while Kucharski missed an opportunity at the other end of the floor.
The Cougars, however, did not back down as Pegula would hit a triple and then make another field-goal, cutting the Patriot lead to a single possession halfway through the final stanza.
Pittston Area’s offense began to sputter a bit as they committed two turnovers on their ensuing possession giving Valley View the opportunity to tie the game.  The Cougars would come up empty handed opening the door in the closing minutes for Walsh to calmly convert his last four chances at the charity stripe.  On the night, Walsh would convert 12 of his 14 chances at the line.
As the game wound down, the Cougars maintained their defensive pressure and sending the Patriots to the foul line six more times.  Pittston would only convert two of them as Valley View had another opportunity to tie the game but came up short, falling to the Patriots, 49-47.
Pittston Area was led by J.J. Walsh with 20 points, with 16 of them coming after the halftime break.  Anthony Cencetti would add 12 points while Dom Januzzi scored ten and brought down six rebounds in the contest.
The Patriots went with their starting lineup for most of the game, their only substitution being an appearance from Jack Long in the third quarter.
With three triples in the game, LV Pegula led Valley View with 13 points to go with four rebounds and two steals.  A.J. Kucharski added 11 points.  The Cougars would convert five of their nine chances at the foul line, including two misses in the final period as their season ended by the slimmest of margins.
Pittston Area (18-4) advances to the District 2 AAAAA Semifinals where they will host fourth-seeded Abington Heights (15-7) on Friday evening.  The last time these two teams collided was in the 2019-2020 District 2 AAAAA third place game where the Patriots defeated the Comets securing their ticket to the PIAA State Tournament and ending a long run of state tournament appearances for the Comets.

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