District 2 Playoffs (Boys 6A Semi-Final Game Recaps)

Written by: on Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

 

 

February 22, 2020

 

Wolfpack and Knights Advance to Boys’ 6A Championship

 

Boys’ 6A Semi-Finals

4-Scranton 51, 1-Hazleton Area 50

2-Wilkes-Barre Area 60, 3-Williamsport 58

 

BERWICK – On a day when a free throw here or turnover there may have seemed insignificant at the moment, a pair of teams were able to barely outlast their opponents to advance to the Boys’ 6A Championship Game to be played on February 29 at Mohegan Sun Arena.  For Wilkes-Barre Area, in their first year of Wolfpack hoops, they held off a relentless Williamsport rally to prevail, 60-58.  And for Scranton, the #4 seeded Knights out-scored top-seeded Hazleton Area 14-5 to erase an eight-point deficit and defeat the Cougars, 51-50.  Two emotionally-charged victories and a pair of heart-breaking defeats kept hoops fans on the edge of their seat Saturday afternoon at the Berwick Middle School.

In the opening game between #2 seed Wilkes-Barre Area and #3 seed Williamsport, the Millionaires jumped out to an 8-5 advantage on scores by Nassir Jones, Ahmir Ellzy, and James Evans-McQuary.  The Wolfpack would then go on a 7-0 run with baskets by Cole Walker and Blakser Masker plus a 3-point play by Jordan Diggs to lead 12-8.  A triple by Port’s Tyler Fausnaught and layup by the Pack’s Brandon Hall made the score 14-11 heading into the second period.  Wilkes-Barre Area extended the lead to between 5 and 8 points throughout the second quarter as Walker and Masker combined for 14 of their points.  Hall also chipped in with an alley-oop slam dunk.  Williamsport got a pair of key triples from Ellzy to cut it to 27-24 before a pair of scores from Walker gave Wilkes-Barre Area a 31-24 advantage heading into the locker room.

In the third period, Cole Johnson would get hot for the Millionaires as he netted 6 points to bring his team within 35-32.  Following a Pack free throw by Saquan Portee, Port got 3 points from Jones to cut it to 36-35 approaching the middle of the quarter.  That’s when emotions began to heat up a bit as Walker scored 6 points wrapped around a pair of offensive charge calls on the Cherry and WhiteEvans-McQuary and Portee would trade baskets to send WBA into the final period with a 44-37 lead.

The 4th stanza was a bit frantic after the Wolfpack grabbed a 48-40 lead on a Masker bank shot.  Williamsport then connected on a pair of treys by Ellzy and Kenon Brown.  An Evans-McQuay basket then trimmed it to 51-50 with 3:30 remaining in the game.  A Walker put-back off a missed free throw was followed by another Ellzy triple which tied the game at 53 with 2:46 left.  Diggs later hit a shot to put WBA up 59-55, but Ellzy would hit yet another triple to cut it to 59-58 with 16.5 remaining.  Walker then converted 1 of 2 free throws with 8.7 left before the Millionaires would miss a last shot attempt as the Wolfpack came away with a thrilling 60-58 victory.

Wilkes-Barre was led by Cole Walker with 26 points.  Blake Masker added 16, Brandon Hall 8, and Jordan Diggs 7.

Williamsport got 22 points from Ahmir Ellzy (6 triples) plus 10 points each from Nassir Jones and James Evans-McQuary.   

 

In the afternoon’s second game between top-seeded Hazleton Area and #4 seed Scranton, the first period featured 3 ties while the Cougars had 3 leads and the Knights had 2 leads.  While triples by Scotty Campbell and Josian Guerra plus a traditional 3-point play by Chris Garcia gave Hazleton Area a scoring burst, AJ Dinterman netted 6 points for Scranton as they pulled to within 13-10 after the first period.  In the second quarter, Andrew Vayda gave HA a 15-10 lead before a 9-2 Knights run would give them a 19-17 lead (Jason Shields 4, John Rose triple, and Kevin Lazdowsky basket).  Following a Hazleton Area slam dunk by Angel Cruz, Scranton took a 22-19 lead before another score by Cruz cut it to 22-21 heading into the locker room.    

The third quarter was as close as possible.  Scranton went up 29-25 following a Shields 3-point play, but the Cougars then took the lead (30-29) on a Campbell triple and pair of Cruz free throws.  Two more lead changes and a tie at 32 were followed by the Cougars going out to a lead which they held going into the final eight minutes, 38-35.  In the final period a Dewin Concepcion triple gave Hazleton Area a 45-37 advantage.  The Knights began to chip away at that lead behind the scoring of Lazdowsky, cutting it to 45-43 following a pair of free throws with 2:57 remaining.  A Vayda layup would give the Cougars a 48-45 lead before a pair of scores by Lazdwosky put Scranton up 49-48.  Cruz converted a pair of free throws with 1:16 left to put the Cougars ahead, 50-49.  Hazleton Area would regain possession but would then miss a double bonus pair from the charity stripe with 27 ticks left.  On their final possession, Scranton got fouled (non-shooting, double-bonus) and Lazdowsky calmly sank both for a 51-50 lead with 12 seconds on the clock.  The final shot attempts by Hazleton Area were off target, sending Scranton into a celebration that will carry them all the way to Mohegan Sun Arena next Saturday night.

Scranton was led by Kevin Lazdowsky with 19 points, Jason Shields added 14, and AJ Dinterman 10.

Hazleton Area was led by Angel Cruz with 12 points and Scotty Campbell with 10.  

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