District 2 Boys Division Races (Wyoming Valley Conference)
Written by: Jon K on Sunday, February 14th, 2021
Wyoming Valley Conference Boys Division Races
Hazleton Area (6-2)
Wilkes-Barre Area (6-3)
Pittston Area (2-4)
Wyoming Valley West (2-4)
In Division 1, Crestwood continues to do what the Comets do best, they play very opportunistic basketball and wait for the other teams to play to their preferred tempo. After coming off a Covid-related pause in their program, they are on a 9-game winning streak following an opening weekend loss to Dallas. After outscoring rival Hazleton Area 25-12 in the second half for a 55-38 win, they rallied for a win over Wyoming Valley West. Senior guard Ryan Petrosky then netted his career 1,000th point in a win over Berwick before the Comets blanked Tunkhannock in the final period and gained a hard-fought 44-40 overtime victory over the Tigers Friday night. Admittedly, Crestwood does not have an inside force, but they feature plenty of talented guards all over the floor, whether it’s scoring leader Petrosky (13.8 ppg), Jacob Zaleski, Paul Feisel, Michael Zaleski, Nick Ruggeri, or Marcus Vieney. Trailing the Comets are Hazleton Area and Wilkes-Barre Area. Both teams have plenty of talent in their lineup, but both have also had their share of frustrations on the court so far. The Cougars, who had a delayed start to their season due to Covid, have a pair of key wins over Tunkhannock on their resume, but they also have lopsided losses to Crestwood and Wilkes-Barre Area. First year head coach Tim Barletta has been getting good contributions from 6-5 senior center Angel Cruz (12 ppg) and 6-3 sophomore forward Brett Antolick (7 ppg). Wilkes-Barre Area returned a majority of their lineup this season from last year’s district championship squad. The Wolfpack is still looking for more consistency after dropping division games to Crestwood (56-34), Tunkhannock (47-45), and Pittston Area (64-50). As expected, their scoring ace is four-year starter Cole Walker, a 6-4 senior forward who nets 17 ppg. Pat Toole has also got to be loving the contributions from 6-4 junior forward Naquan Hollman (8.3 ppg). Pittston Area is a team that sees great things happen when the Patriots can get balanced scoring, as seen from their win over Wilkes-Barre Area on Friday night. The Pats have a terrific senior combo in 6-5 forward David Behm and guard Matt Johnson who tally a combined 22 ppg. But, it’s their bevy of juniors led by guard JJ Walsh (18 ppg) that have them positioned for future success. Great coaching and gritty play make PA a tough out. Wyoming Valley West might be one of the better teams in the Wyoming Valley Conference that isn’t getting much attention at all. While the Spartans have struggled to find wins this year, this is a very competitive squad that gets balanced scoring. WVW is led by a terrific senior guard who scores about 17 ppg. Mason Mendygral has been a terrific addition into their lineup this season. Another team that is going to be a force in the district playoffs is Tunkhannock. The Tigers made the move up to Division 1 this year and they are definitely proving that they are up to the challenge. Their recent 47-45 win over Wilkes-Barre Area turned many heads and their near-win over Crestwood (44-40 loss in OT) was a clear signal that they are playing much better than their record indicates. They are led by a pair of 6-4 playmakers in senior Ryan Harder (18.5 ppg) and sophomore Ben Chilson (16.3 ppg) who netted 50 points in a recent 88-70 win over Athens (including a school record 12 triples). Tunk is also now benefitting from the return of 6-5 senior Jack Chilson, a standout football player who is now back in their lineup. The challenge ahead for head coach Spencer Lunger might be how to most effectively use their clear height advantage going forward. The Tigers have the potential to present matchup problems for many teams. Berwick is still looking for their first division win on the season. The Bulldogs are led by a trio of guards in senior Isaac Tripp, junior Miles Doll, and sophomore Sean Murphy. As expected, the upcoming schedule has been highly impacted by both weather and Covid-related postponements. This week features several key matchups. On Tuesday, Pittston Area hosts Tunkhannock while Wilkes-Barre Area travels to Wyoming Valley West. On Wednesday, Crestwood entertains Pittston Area. Friday is highlighted by Hazleton Area hosting Pittston Area while Crestwood heads to Valley West. Saturday will bring rivals back together once again as Hazleton Area will host Crestwood.
Wyoming Seminary (3-0)
Holy Redeemer (3-3)
Nanticoke Area (1-1)
Hanover Area (1-4)
Wyoming Area (0-5)
In Division 2, there have been multiple school programs that have dealt with Covid-related pauses in their programs. Wyoming Seminary, off between January 23 through February 12, picked up right where they left off with a resounding win. Jake Koretz netted 36 points while Ethan Meuser added 21 points in a 75-50 win over Lake-Lehman. The Blue Knights might not feature the depth that they enjoyed in previous seasons, but they have been filling in the missing pieces with great contributions from senior forward Gavin Flanley and sophomore forward Isaiah Stull hitting a combined 18 ppg. Sem will remain the team to beat as they continue to play several make-up games. Lake-Lehman, despite their loss on Saturday, does have wins over Dallas and Holy Redeemer on their resume. The Black Knights are paced by a pair of seniors in Max Paczewski (16.2 ppg) and Josh Kane (12.9 ppg). Paczewski scored his 1,000th career point in the loss to Wyoming Seminary. Lake-Lehman has a veteran lineup and features decent height, so they will definitely be challenging opponent in the division race. Dallas dropped down to Division 2 this season. The Mountaineers are very well-coached and have plenty of talent on their roster. While some of their frontcourt punch graduated, they maintain one of the more talented backcourts in the conference in juniors Nick Nocito (20.4 ppg) and Austin Finarelli (20.4 ppg). The key to the Mounts’ success will be in getting some other players into their offensive scoring mix. Holy Redeemer, playing what may be toughest non-league schedule in the district (against Loyalsock, Williamsport, Wilkes-Barre Area, and Allentown Central Catholic), is a team that should not be overlooked despite their 4-8 overall mark. The Royals are led by junior forward Matthew Prociak (15.5 ppg) and junior point guard Justice Shoats (13.5 ppg). Greater Nanticoke Area, on pause since January 27, will looks to hit the court this week. The Trojans also dropped down to Division 2 this season and are led by 6-2 forward Jake Krupinski, a for-year starter. Senior Sincere Shiloh adds 11.8 ppg. Hanover Area, back in action after a pause from January 22 to February 10, is looking to get back into the win column. The Hawks are led by senior guard Todd Kolbicka (9.6 ppg). Wyoming Area, looking for their first division win, is also getting back into action following a pause. The Warriors feature a versatile senior guard in Jake Greenfield (9 ppg). On Tuesday, Dallas plays at rival Lake-Lehman in a key game. On Thursday, Nanticoke Area hosts the Black Knights. On Friday the Trojans entertain Wyoming Seminary. Saturday features a terrific matchup as Wyoming Seminary hosts Dallas.
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