District 2 Boys Division Races (Lackawanna League)
Written by: Jon K on Monday, February 15th, 2021
Lackawanna League Boys Division Races
Abington Heights (8-1)
Scranton Prep (5-4)
Valley View (4-4)
West Scranton (2-6)
In Division 1, Abington Heights rolled out to 8 consecutive victories before a 47-37 loss to surging Scranton last Thursday. The key in that game was limiting the Comets’ leading scorer, 6-5 senior forward Harry Johnson (16.5 ppg), to only a single point. AH rebounded on Saturday as Johnson led the way with 18 points in a 47-37 win over Valley View. The Comets have a balanced lineup with 6-4 senior forward Kyle Nealon in the frontcourt. Jacob Anderson (11.7 ppg) is a versatile 6-4 athlete all over the floor. On the perimeter, senior Michael Show and sophomore Matt Show hit a combined 11 ppg. After starting out the season with a 2-2 mark after losses to Abington Heights and North Pocono, Scranton has hit their stride with 5 consecutive victories including a pair of wins over Scranton Prep. The Knights played very well in their Saturday afternoon win over the Cavaliers controlling the middle periods (28-17) and getting another superb effort from 6-5 junior guard Jason Shields with 19 points. Kevin Lazdowsky, their 6-3 senior forward, has also been solid, hitting 11 ppg. Scranton has plenty of talent in the backcourt including senior John Rose and junior Arvel Chandler to keep them very much atop the division race. Scranton Prep, with a pair of loses to Scranton along with ones to Abington Heights and North Pocono, will still have a say in how the division race gets decided. The Cavaliers played very well in their loss to Scranton on Saturday and may end up being more of a force in the district playoffs. They are led by senior guard Gavin Bernarz (15 ppg) plus a duo of juniors in 6-4 forward Robert Rossi (11.9 ppg) and guard Andrew Ferguson (10 ppg). Senior guard Michael Skoff had a breakout game netting 17 points on Saturday. Valley View is another talented squad that has had their challenges against the Lackawanna League frontrunners, dropping a pair of games to AH along with ones to Scranton and North Pocono. The Cougars are led by 6-3 senior Zack Kovalchik and 6-5 sophomore Adam Howanitz (13 ppg). West Scranton picked up a pair of crossover division wins over Honesdale and Western Wayne. The Invaders are working through the turmoil following the February 5 suspension of career 500+ win head coach Jack Lyons due to an accusation of verbal and physical abuse by a player. Mike Fazzi has taken over the program on an interim basis. West continues to be led by senior guard Cayden Merrifield (20 ppg) who topped 1,000 career points recently. Senior playmaker Brandon Barnes has also been playing very well hitting 9 ppg. Coming up on Tuesday, Scranton hosts Valley View in a key game while Scranton Prep entertains West Scranton. Abington Heights will host Delaware Valley in an interesting crossover division matchup. On Friday, a pair of games in the Electric City may go a long way to deciding the race as AH travels to play to rival Scranton Prep while Scranton hosts Wide Side in the city battle.
North Pocono (7-2)
Delaware Valley (5-3)
Western Wayne (0-9)
North Pocono got a split of their consecutive day matchups against Delaware Valley last weekend and that has provided the Trojans with a bit of a cushion in the Division 2 race. Their 63-60 overtime loss to the Warriors on Saturday was just their second loss on the season (the other one coming against Division 1 leader Abington Heights). NP features plenty of experience and will also be one of the teams to beat in the talent-filled 5A district playoffs. The Trojans are led by a trio of players in senior guard Zach Walsh (14 ppg), junior guard Ryan Ruddy (10 ppg), and senior forward Damarco Maglio (10 ppg). Ruddy netted 22 points in their OT loss to Del-Val on Saturday. Add in the recent contributions from junior forward Billy Pabst (12 points Friday night’s 61-52 win over Del-Val) and it’s easy to why there is such excitement in Moscow this season. Although Delaware Valley may not have garnered the same pre-season attention, the Warriors are certainly a team to watch, both in the division race and the 6A district playoffs. Besides their loss to division frontrunner NP on Friday, they dropped close losses to Division 1 contenders Scranton Prep (44-41) and Valley View (46-40). Del-Val gets terrific balance on their scoresheet, led by 6-6 senior guard Mike Leonardo (13 ppg). Added efforts come several seniors, including forwards Aiden Oliver (6 ppg) and Lukas Shultz (6.5 ppg) plus guard Mark Cavallaro (6 ppg). Wallenpaupack picked up their second win in a row after defeating both Honesdale and Western Wayne. Junior guard Jack Smith (13 ppg) hit a combined 25 points in those victories. The Buckhorns also get about 10 ppg from senior forward AJ Keller. Honesdale has a division win over Western Wayne. The Hornets are paced by 6-6 senior forward Jimmy Rodda (13 ppg). They have also been getting good contributions from a trio of sophomores in Karter Kromko, Trent Gombita, and Nathan Hugaboom who are hitting a combined 22.5 ppg. Western Wayne is still looking for their first win on the season. The Wildcats are led by 6-2 senior Matt Henneforth (7 ppg) and junior guard Mark Christina (7 ppg). On Tuesday, Delaware Valley travels to play a crossover game at Division 1 leader Abington Heights while North Pocono heads to play at Wallenpaupack. On Friday, North Pocono hosts Honesdale while Del-Val entertains Western Wayne.
Holy Cross (6-1)
Mid Valley (5-2)
Old Forge (3-5)
In Division 3, Holy Cross suffered their first loss on the season after Riverside rallied from a 19-point deficit for a 71-69 buzzer-beating victory over the Crusaders last Tuesday. It marked the second year in a row that the Vikings shocked Holy Cross on their home court in Taylor. In the loss, the Crusaders placed four players in double digits, 6-2 senior forward Patrick Bennie (16 ppg) had 20 points, 6-2 senior guard Tyler Mendicino had 18, sophomore guard Hayden Hosie (10 ppg) had 14, and sophomore Kaeden Carr had 15. HC rebounded to defeat Old Forge 54-47 as Hosie and Bennie combined to score 36 points. The Crusaders are also getting strong efforts from senior guard Doug Walsh and sophomore Gabe Gonzales. Riverside kept their momentum going with a crossover win over Division 4 leader Elk Lake, 70-58 on Thursday and then rallied in the final period getting a triple at the buzzer by Frankie Antoniacci to defeat top rival Old Forge, 49-47, on Saturday. The Vikes placed 5 players in double digits in the win over the Warriors. Riverside is led by their sensational combo of senior guards, Brandon Reed (19.6 ppg) and Michael Rickert (14.3 ppg including 36 triples). Sophomore guard Antoniacci (10.6 ppg) is another sharp-shooter from long range. The ultimate scrappy team, they also get contributions from senior forward Todd Monahan and senior guard Josh Godlewski who add a combined 12 ppg. Dunmore is currently wrapping up a Covid-related pause that began on February 5. The Bucks have been a bit of surprise in the race this season and are led by junior playmaker Kevin Walsh (12.5 ppg), 6-2 senior forward Dom Temperino (11 ppg), and senior guard Frankie Ruggiero (9 ppg). Mid Valley dropped a pair of losses to the division frontrunners, 52-50 back on January 28 to Holy Cross and 43-41 to Riverside on February 5. So, there is plenty of optimism on the Spartans bench, especially after winning three games in a row. Mid Valley is led by 6-2 senior playmaker Tyler O’Connor (11 ppg) and a quartet of talented underclassmen including junior guard Cameron Riccardo (5 ppg) and sophomore guard Danny Nemitz (10 ppg). New on the scene and creating an immediate impact are a pair of freshmen in guard Gabe Tanner (11.5 ppg) and 6-2 forward Ricky Vinansky (8.6 ppg). This is a team that will definitely be a factor in determine the division champion. Old Forge had won three in a row and then dropped narrow losses to Holy Cross (54-47) and at the buzzer to Riverside (49-47). Dante Lucarelli, their 6-2 senior forward, has been playing very well averaging 15 ppg. Their backcourt is anchored by junior Mario Samony (11.5 ppg), senior Michael DiGregorio (11 ppg), and senior Sean Donovan (7.7 ppg). Donovan netted 15 points as Riverside rallied for the win on Saturday. Lakeland has a division win over Carbondale and is led by senior guard Caleb Vigil (19 ppg). They also get about 6 ppg from senior guard Timothy McGrane, sophomore guard Antonio Hazelton, and 6-2 sophomore forward Lacota Dippre. Carbondale is still looking for their first division win. The Chargers are paced by senior forward Ray Ofner (15 ppg) and 6-3 senior center Jaheim Brooker (7 ppg). They also have a talented pair of sophomore guards in Jay Allen and Vinny DePalma. Coming up this week, on Tuesday, Holy Cross hosts Mid Valley in a key game while Riverside visits Lakeland. On Wednesday, the Chiefs will travel to play the Vikings. Friday features Riverside entertaining Dunmore, Old Forge playing at Mid Valley, and Holy Cross traveling to take on Lakeland.
Elk Lake (6-0)
Blue Ridge (5-2)
Forest City (2-6)
Mountain View (2-6)
Lackawanna Trail (2-6)
In Division 4, Elk Lake is leading the way. The Warriors have two losses on the season with both coming via crossover division losses to powerhouse Riverside. Elk Lake, with no seniors on their roster, is led by 6-0 junior forward Matt Mowry (16.8 ppg) and junior guard Trevor Graham (13 ppg). Wyatt Casselbury, a 6-3 sophomore forward adds 9 ppg while junior guard Jake Gustin contributes 8 ppg. Junior forward Caden Ramey (7 ppg) netted 19 points in their 70-58 loss to Riverside. Susquehanna Community has won four games in a row following a 57-36 loss to Elk Lake. The Sabers are led by 6-3 senior forward Gavin Baker (10 ppg), senior guard Garrett Decker (9 ppg), and junior guard Spencer Beamer (10 ppg). Blue Ridge has won three of four games. Their two losses have been to Elk Lake and Susquehanna Community. The Raiders are paced by senior Calvin Schneider (10 ppg). Freshman Connor Cranage has been adding 13 ppg. Montrose broke a three-game losing streak with a 64-56 victory over Lackawanna Trail on Saturday as Trent Leonard and Connor Watkins teamed up to score 38 points. The Meteors are led by Watkins (a junior) and sophomore Sam Stashko who both average 13 ppg. Leonard (a senior) along with junior Justin Holgash add a combined 17.6 ppg. Forest City has dropped three games in a row, but the Foresters have been very competitive in all three. They are led by junior guard Cade Hartman with 10 ppg while 6-3 sophomore center Dylan Bezek hits 11 ppg. FC also features 6-0 freshman Brad Bartholomay who contributes 6.8 ppg. Mountain View picked up back-to-back wins last week over Montrose (53-50) and Lackawanna Trail (70-64) as 6-3 junior guard Ryan Henke (18 ppg) had a spectacular 2-game total of 59 points. The Eagles are also led by a trio of sophomores in guards Carter Bain (10 ppg) and Tanner Stout (4.5 ppg) plus 6-4 forward Ryan Drake (9.6 ppg). Lackawanna Trail has dropped 6 games in a row. The Lions are led by junior Brycen Decker (10.5 ppg), senior Will Filan (11 ppg), and senior JP Gilroy (8 ppg) in the backcourt. Inside, they have 6-5 senior Bill Edwards and 6-3 junior Owen Lisk who combine for 12.5 ppg. Coming up on Monday, Elk Lake hosts Montrose. On Tuesday, Elk Lake travels to Forest City, Lackawanna Trail hosts Susquehanna, and Montrose travels to Blue Ridge. On Friday, Elk Lake hosts Blue Ridge, Forest City entertains Lackawanna Trail, and Mountain View heads to play Susquehanna.
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